Chinese search engine Sogou is creating artificial-intelligence lookalikes to read popular novels in authors' voices. From a report: It announced "lifelike" avatars of Chinese authors Yue Guan and Bu Xin Tian Shang Diao Xian Bing -- created from video recordings -- at the China Online Literature+ conference. Last year, Sogou launched two AI newsreaders, which are still used by the government's Xinhua news agency. Appetite for audiobooks in China is on the rise, mirroring trends in the West. Chinese think tank iiMedia expects the market to more than double between 2016 and 2020, to 7.8bn Chinese yuan ($1.1billion) a year. It is now a simple process to use text-to-speech technology to quickly generate an audio version of a book, using digitised, synthetic voices. But most people prefer audiobooks that are "professionally narrated" by authors, actors or famous public figures.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.