Google Search could use conversational AI to help you learn a new language
Google is reportedly working on a conversational AI that can take on the likes of Duolingo to help you learn a new language through Google Search, according to a report from The Information. The technology appears to build upon Google’s Language Model for Dialog Applications, or LaMDA, that was unveiled at this year’s Google I/O. LaMDA was demonstrated as a model that can facilitate conversation for open-ended but purposeful dialogue and was acknowledged to still be in its infancy. Google’s new language learning service is reportedly code-named “Tivoli” internally and is rumored to roll out later this year.
The original report from The Information (via Android Authority) outlined how the conversational AI will initially work purely over text, though Google is working to try and integrate it with the Google Assistant and YouTube. An example was given for how YouTube could generate language quizzes that the user can answer after watching a video, and the AI then provides the user an assessment of how they performed. “Tivoli” started with Meena two years ago and has since evolved to using LaMDA. According to the report, Google renamed “Meena” partially to prevent any gender associations with the name, as it sounds like it could be the name of a person.
One source told the publication that “teaching foreign languages allows Google to move more fluid, conversational AI beyond silly exchanges to a practical-use but low-stakes case”. If a mistake is made in the tense of a word or in a phrase, it’s unlikely to result in serious negative consequences in the user’s learning. Current and former employees at Google also said that they hoped that creating a more fluid conversation exchange through AI would make it easier for a person to learn a new language. If it launches, “Tivoli” may end up being the first public project based on LaMDA.