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Artificial intelligence to help preserve 7000 languages

Tuesday, 05 11 2021, Category: Technology, Country: World
One of the most vibrant elements of culture is the use of native languages and the time-honored tradition of storytelling. Anthropologists and linguists have been vocal on the role that language plays in the preservation of culture and how it contributes to the appreciation of heritage.

Unfortunately, of the more than 7,000 languages that are spoken around the globe, nearly 3,000 are at risk of disappearing. In fact, it’s estimated that on average a language becomes extinct every fourteen days. Google Arts & Culture realized that with some creative technology and partnering with language organisations, we could help create an interactive and educational tool to help promote them.

Enter Woolaroo, an open-source photo-translation platform powered by machine learning and image recognition. The application was built on Google Cloud to encourage users to explore endangered languages around the world. Users are able to take a picture of an object in real-time, and the application returns the word in its native language, along with its pronunciation.

Woolaroo was created with the philosophy that learning languages is greatly enhanced through engagement and context. By seeing an object in its environment, it’s easier to retain the information and then use it more naturally in conversation.

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