Meet 'Fedha': AI-generated newsreader debuts in Kuwait

Fedha was generated using artificial intelligence Credit: Twitter/@KuwaitNews

A media outlet in Kuwait has generated a virtual newsreader using artificial intelligence.

Over the weekend, Kuwait News introduced the world to 'Fedha', "the first broadcaster in Kuwait that works with artificial intelligence".

A video posted to Twitter revealed a blonde woman wearing a black blazer and a white T-shirt.

"I'm Fedha, the first presenter in Kuwait who works with artificial intelligence at Kuwait News. What kind of news do you prefer? Let's hear your opinions," she said in Arabic.

Kuwait Times, an English-language paper affiliated with Kuwait News, reported that Fedha will likely read bulletins via the outlet's Twitter account.

Abdullah Boftain, deputy editor-in-chief for both platforms, said Fedha is a test of AI’s potential to offer “new and innovative content”.

Fedha's introduction sparked a huge reaction on social media, including from journalists.

"It's happening," Maria Ramos, a newsreader for Turkish broadcaster TRT tweeted.

Brazilian journalist Daniel Sousa went a step further, writing: "Stop the world I want to get off!"

Many Twitter users questioned why Fedha was designed to appear like a "white European", given that Kuwait is a middle Eastern country.

One person wrote: "As cool as AI is, the bigger question is why are her features westernised? What is the unspoken statement here?"

Kuwait News' deputy editor-in-chief addressed Fedha's features, saying the presenter’s blonde hair and light-coloured eyes reflect the oil-rich country’s diverse population of Kuwaitis and expatriates.

“Fedha represents everyone,” he said.

AI has been giving journalists more power, "but with that comes editorial and ethical responsibilities", said JournalismAI, an initiative run by the London School of Economics.

Artificial intelligence also has the potential to wield "wide-ranging and profound influence on how journalism is made and consumed", it added, while acknowledging that some journalists fear losing their jobs or changing their work habits because of AI.

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