Has Google made the first step toward general AI?

June 7th, 2017 by Artificial Intelligence (AI) has long been a theme of Sci-fi blockbusters, but as technology develops in 2017, the stuff of fiction is fast becoming a reality. As technology has made leaps and bounds in our lives, the presence of AI is something we are adapting to and incorporating in our everyday existence. A brief history of the different types of AI helps us to understand how we got where we are today, and more importantly, where we are headed. A Brief History of AI Narrow AI – Since the 1950’s, specific technologies have been used to carry out rule-based tasks as well as, or better than, people. A good example of this is the Manchester Electronic Computer for playing chess or the automated voice you speak with when you call your bank. Machine Learning – Algorithms which use large amounts of data to ‘train’ machines to properly identify and separate appropriate data into subsets that can be used to make predictions has been in use since the 1990s. The large amounts of data are basically allowing programming machines to learn rather than follow defined rules. Apple’s digital assistant, Siri, is one example of this. Machine translations for processes like web page translation is aso a common tool Read more: The London Economic

This Is How Google Wants To Make The Internet Speak Everyone’s Language

January 2nd, 2017 by JAKARTA, Indonesia — When Nurhaida Sirait-Go curses, she curses in her mother tongue. The 60-year-old grandmother does everything emphatically, and Bahasa, the official language of Indonesia, just doesn’t allow for the same fury of swearing as Batak, the language that Sirait-Go grew up speaking on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. “On Facebook, on Whatsapp, they speak only Bahasa. So I can’t speak the way I want,” said Sirait-Go, who giggles uncontrollably and covers her mouth with both hands when asked to repeat one of her favorite curse words in Bakat. “I can’t, I can’t! People don’t use these words anymore. … They aren’t on the internet so they don’t exist.” Batak is one of over 700 languages spoken in Indonesia. But only one language, Bahasa, is currently taught by public schools and widely-used online. For language preservationists, it’s just one more example of how the internet’s growing global influence is leaving some languages in the dust. Linguists warn that 90% of the world’s approximately 7,000 languages will become extinct in the next 100 years. Or, as one prominent group of linguists ominously put it, every 14 days another language goes extinct. Read more: BuzzFeed News

Google Translate AI invents its own language to translate with

December 1st, 2016 by Google Translate is getting brainier. The online translation tool recently started using a neural network to translate between some of its most popular languages – and the system is now so clever it can do this for language pairs on which it has not been explicitly trained. To do this, it seems to have created its own artificial language. Traditional machine-translation systems break sentences into words and phrases, and translate each individually. In September, Google Translate unveiled a new system that uses a neural network to work on entire sentences at once, giving it more context to figure out the best translation. This system is now in action for eight of the most common language pairs on which Google Translate works. Although neural machine-translation systems are fast becoming popular, most only work on a single pair of languages, so different systems are needed to translate between others. With a little tinkering, however, Google has extended its system so that it can handle multiple pairs – and it can translate between two languages when it hasn’t been directly trained to do so. For example, if the neural network has been taught to translate between English and Japanese, and English and Korean, it can also translate between Japanese and Korean without first going through English. This capability may enable Google to quickly scale the system to translate between a large number of languages. “This is a big advance,” says Kyunghyun Cho at New York University. His team and another group at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany have independently published similar studies working towards neural translation systems that can handle multiple language combinations. Read more: New Scientist

Why Google is investing in global translation

February 19th, 2016 by The term “language barrier” may soon be outdated as new, powerful translation tools, from apps to widgets to websites, hit the market. On Wednesday, Google announced its latest translation innovation in a blog post. Google Translate has introduced 13 new languages to its portfolio. The translation system can now translate 103 languages and covers 99 percent of the online population, according to the tech giant’s own estimates. The news of Google’s language expansion came a little over a month after Skype, owned by rival tech company Microsoft, rolled out real-time text translation over video chat and text conversations with Skype Translator. With the race to be the preeminent translation tool growing more competitive, what’s at stake and why are tech companies so interested? Read more: Christian Science Monitor‎

Google says G’day to Australian twang, slang

January 29th, 2016 by Internet search giant Google has added Australian slang and language recognition to its applications, addressing complaints that its software had difficulty in understanding thick local accents and complex place names. Long accustomed to having their distinctive slang misunderstood, Australians can now substitute "footy" for football, "arvo" for afternoon and find directions to Mullumbimby or Goondiwindi, a spokesman told Reuters on Friday. The extended vocabulary came after Google, which is now part of holding company Alphabet Inc, added an Australian accented voice to its Google Maps and search applications last week. Read more: Reuters‎