Artificial Intelligence or AI is a multidisciplinary field of computer science dedicated to creating machines and systems capable of performing tasks which, until recently, required human input, such as voice recognition, natural language processing, automatic translation and writing, among others. 💻
AI has a great potential to improve communication, as well as language learning (and teaching)—both when it comes to learning our native language, and learning a foreign language, or a “second language.” 🌍
Communication and language are fundamental skills for humans, as they allow us to express our ideas, feelings, opinions and needs, and enable us to interact with others.
We know communication isn’t always easy, especially when it involves different contexts such as different cultures and dialects. The same happens with language teaching and learning.
AI can help overcome these barriers, offering innovative solutions, such as:
- Voice recognition: AI is capable of recognizing what a person is saying and transcribing their speech into text or audio, facilitating comprehension and making discourse more accessible. For example, AI can be utilized to create automatic captions for videos, podcasts or presentations, or to convert voice into text in personal messages or notes.
- Machine translation: AI can translate text and audio, allowing people to communicate without having to learn a second language. It can be utilized in conversations, documents or websites, or in captions for audiovisual content. Keep in mind that no matter how much AI allows us to overcome linguistic barriers and promote global communication through instant translation, it’s still not 100% reliable and cannot replace a human professional when the content must be reliable and/or of high quality.
- Natural language processing: AI analyzes and understands the meaning and intention behind a text or audio, and it generates adequate and relevant responses. For example, it allows the creation of virtual assistants capable of answering questions, performing tasks or making suggestions; and the creation of chatbots capable of having conversations with users about various topics. As a “bonus,” check out the infographic at the end of the article about a real, casual conversation we had with Bing. At the very least, it was interesting!
- Writing: AI can produce original and coherent texts on any topic, using whatever data or keywords you wish to provide it. For example, it’s capable of creating informative or creative content for blogs, social media or websites, or even generating summaries, slogans and paraphrasing. However, citing the author comes first! You can use this content as long as you don’t pretend it’s yours. And don’t forget, there are already methods to determine if a text was written by AI!
Teaching is another area where AI can have a positive impact, especially when it comes to teaching languages.
Learning a new language can be a challenge for many people, as it requires time, motivation and resources. AI can make the learning process more efficient, fun and tailored to your needs, offering solutions such as:
- Automatic evaluation: AI can evaluate the students’ levels of linguistic proficiency and provide immediate constructive feedback about their oral and written competencies. For example, AI can be used to create adaptive tests which adjust to the level and rhythm of students, or to provide corrections and suggestions to improve grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation.
- Intelligent mentoring: AI can guide students throughout their learning process and provide them with adequate materials and activities for their individual goals, preferences and learning styles. For example, it can be used to create customized courses based on the interests and needs of students, or to provide interactive tasks involving games, videos or augmented reality..
- Collaborative learning: AI can facilitate the interaction and cooperation between teachers and students. For example, it can be used to create online learning platforms which allow its contents and services to be accessed at any time and place, or to create virtual communities where students can share their experiences and learn from each other.
As we’ve seen, artificial intelligence has very positive and promising aspects that promise to transform and improve the way in which we learn languages, and it can without a doubt become a valuable ally of linguistics and teaching.
AI was not created with the intention of making humans obsolete—at least not yet—but to help us evolve and improve.
Our article Human and machine translators: allies or rivals? is a deeper dive into this topic.
Within the domain of communication and teaching, this technology can provide the right tools and resources to help us express our ideas, feelings, opinions and needs, and improve the way we interact with others. It offers challenges that stimulate us to not only learn and/or improve our linguistic competencies, but to pop our own “bubble” and discover new languages, cultures and contexts.
See how AI can improve your learning, offering personalized courses, interactive tutorials and instant feedback to help with learning a new language or practicing mathematics, in our article How AI can help humanity (not destroy it).
And if you still don’t believe in AI’s capacity to work with humans, in the context of learning or otherwise, enjoy this infographic from our conversation with Bing:
And you, dear reader, what are your thoughts on this topic? Are you worried that technology will surpass you, or are you excited and curious about these new resources at our disposal?
🚀 Tell us all about it in our blog’s comment section!
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