Meta is building an AI-powered universal language translator - MrLiambi's blog


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Thursday 24 February 2022

Meta is building an AI-powered universal language translator

During a streamed event, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked more about the Metaverse his company has been investing in - including that Meta's research division is developing a universal speech translation system. This system would ideally allow users from around the globe to seamlessly interact with each other inside Meta's digital universe.   

"This is going to be especially important when people begin teleporting across virtual worlds and experiencing things with people from different backgrounds", said Zuckerberg during an event called Inside the Lab: Building for the metaverse with AI. "Now, we have the chance to improve the internet and set a new standard where we can all communicate with one another, no matter what language we speak, or where we come from. And if we get this right, this is just one example of how AI can help bring people together on a global scale." 

Meta has a two-part plan to make this happen. You can read it in detail on the company's blog, where it also announced its plan on Wednesday.

First, Meta is developing No Language Left Behind, a translation system that can learn every language, "even if there isn't a lot of text available to learn from", according to Zuckerberg. The Meta chief executive claimed it can translate "hundreds of languages with state-of-the-art results and most of the language pairs - everything from Austrian to Uganda to Urdu".

After that, Meta wants to create an artificial intelligence (AI), with the goal to offer "instantaneous speech-to-speech translation across all languages, even those that are mostly spoken; the ability to communicate with anyone in any language", Zuckerberg said. "That's a superpower that people dreamed of forever and AI is going to deliver that within our lifetimes".

Keep in mind Meta has long been interested in artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and built a supercomputer for machine learning research.

Still, Zuckerberg made a lot of lofty claims during the event, and not once did he or Meta's researchers offer a timeline, roadmap, or anything concrete about its ambitious projects. In fact, Meta really just spent the entire event pitching the potential of a universal language translation, especially in the Metaverse.

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