Artificial intelligence

Launch of the first AI-hosted radio show in Poland

Poland’s first AI-powered radio show has launched – although the station’s manager has reassured his staff that the new AI presenter will not replace any human employees.

Listeners to Radio Piekary — a station broadcasting from the southern Polish town of Piekary Śląskie — were greeted on Saturday by “Basia,” an AI-generated presenter who then hosted the hour-long lunchtime slot. The station also released an image of Basia’s supposed appearance.

“You hear right, this is no joke,” Basia told listeners. “I’m just here as an intelligent artificial intelligence agent. Fascinating, isn’t it? Moreover, my debut coincides with World Brain Day, it’s symbolic.

“Did you know that our brain is really remarkable? It has endless possibilities, although I as an AI can only learn from your experiments because somehow they didn’t allocate brains to me. Maybe someone has one to give? Basia joked.

“I would like to know what you think, what is your reaction to your presenter being something of a digital entity?”

Basia is now set to continue hosting the Saturday slot at the station, which is owned by the city authorities.

“In this AI show, Basia will expand on the questions the editorial team asked her with answers prepared by artificial intelligence,” station editor-in-chief Rafał Kurowski told the Wirtualna Media news site.

“Basia’s ‘entries’ will be intertwined with the music,” he added, noting that the choice of tracks is made by a human team rather than Basia herself.

“The program is an on-air experience and summer holiday entertainment, which will run until the first Saturday in September,” Kurowski explained. “The future fate of the format will depend on listener feedback.”

Kurowski, however, stressed that if Basia were to stay, it would have no impact on the employment of other station staff.

“Even if artificial intelligence were to settle permanently in our radio, it would not affect our personnel policy. In other words: we will not fire anyone to be replaced by artificial intelligence.

Although Radio Piekary’s show is the first of its kind in Poland, it is not the first radio show presented by AI.

Last month, the first AI DJ in the United States appeared on Oregon-based radio station Live 95.5. It now airs a daily show hosted by “AI Ashley”, an AI presenter in the image of the station’s midday host, Ashley Elzinga.

In Poland’s southern neighbor, the Czech Republic, public radio Český rozhlas broadcasts daily excerpts from singer Karel Gott’s autobiography read aloud by a voice generated by the artist’s AI.

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Main image credit: Radio Piekary

Anna Hackett is associate editor at Notes from Poland. She is a recent graduate in European Studies from Trinity College Dublin and has previously had journalistic experience with the Irish Independent News & Media group.

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