Facebook, now rebranded as Meta, is steeped in the world of Artificial Intelligence. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently gave a demo of an AI-powered Universal Speech Translator. At the demo, the bot seems to hold more than a few key features that you must know.
Meta is a company led by Mark Zuckerberg. He owns the social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. The AI-powered Universal Speech translator was launched as part of an event focusing on the broad range of benefits Meta believes AI can offer the company’s metaverse plans.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an online presentation said, “The ability to communicate with anyone in any language — that’s a superpower people have dreamed of forever, and AI is going to deliver that within our lifetimes.”
Meta researchers did not offer a timeframe for completing these projects or even a roadmap for significant milestones in reaching their goals. Instead, the company stressed the ideal possibilities of universal language translation.
When it comes to the Metaverse, we've all heard of it, whether it was during the Facebook makeover or in the Spiderman movie. Even though we may have explored some aspects of the Metaverse, the idea remains relatively new to us. So let's first take a look at the formal definition of ‘Metaverse’.
According to reports, the Metaverse is defined as “a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain, along with concepts from social media, to create spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world.”
Matthew Ball, who is a venture capitalist and essayist, wrote that the metaverse will become “the gateway to most digital experiences, a key component of all physical ones, and the next great labor platform.”
In layman's language, it's a world in itself but without the reality of the matter. It is free from the laws of physics, chemistry, or biology, run and carried by supercomputers and servers similar to the internet. There are more such breakthrough technologies that are based on ever-evolving technology.
The extent of evolution in the Metaverse depends on the creativity of an individual. Hence, the sky is the limit for the possibilities of what the Metaverse can be in the future. In addition, no single organization or corporation is building the Metaverse. A diverse team of experts will work on this technology, focusing on numerous virtual worlds. Eventually, these worlds will be interoperable - forming the Metaverse. If we ask how safe is the Metaverse, then the answer is that it is one of the technologies that combat fraud as it would be based on the concept of Web 3.0.
This is also demonstrated in the film "Ready Player One." The movie was set in the future- revolving around the concept of the Metaverse and the possibilities around it. Mathew Ball also believes it will be the driving force in creating a new generation of companies, similar to what happened with the popularization of the internet.
People of various cultures and ethnicities may find it difficult to communicate in the Metaverse. That's where the Universal Speech Translator would come in handy for users to interact barrier-free.
AI translators are tools available digitally which use advanced artificial intelligence. It helps not only translate words that may be written or spoken but, also translates the meaning and sentiments of the message. This facilitates more accuracy and less confusion, rather than the conventional type of machine translation.
Instead of asking others the meaning or translation of a certain word or phrase these days you can easily find an app that automatically translates a foreign language to your mother tongue.
The Metaverse would also become a shopping arena for various digital assets like these. The only difference is that a nation’s currency or hard cash won't be accepted here. Instead, individuals would have to deal in digital tokens like Cryptocurrency to buy or sell assets.
Though Metaverse is not just a place for consumers and gamers, but also for earning money. It is self-evident that if someone buys something, someone will sell it for a profit. This also implies that the Metaverse will generate new careers for the coming generations. Playing games and earning money sounds like a dream, but it is becoming a reality.
The country of Ghana is an example of the Metaverse creating good sources of income. The company Axie Infinity which is a crypto-gaming pioneer company as mentioned before has generated higher revenue than the minimum wages for the people of Ghana just by playing games. Apart from playing games, the web-based on the blockchain or the Web 3.0 also hosts opportunities for writers, painters, graphic designers, music creators, and so many more diverse professionals. Did you know that there already exist platforms for writers on Web 3.0?
Now, consider a scenario where a group of people cannot trade due to linguistic problems. This would not only adversely affect their business, but it would also favor native speakers over non-native languages, dividing people.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana, a South African author said, “You cannot say something about something without revealing something about yourself.”
Not knowing the English language can also create massive chasms among groups. English is an inherent benefit that not having would be a big detriment, claims blogger Robert Nielsen because it is the primary language of academia and a necessity for many universities and enterprises. This creates a divide between people who are fortunate enough to be able to acquire English, whether by circumstance or via wealth and time.
Have you ever seen the people speaking the same language flock together while anyone third person in their conversation feels alien? The Metaverse is a decentralized space that is supposed to be free from barriers of community, region, religion, caste, race, and other limitations. But going against this concept would be native language speakers who would find it comfortable to connect with their groups rather than explore others.
Meta’s universal language translator plan is going to be implemented in two separate parts. The first part comprises developing a “No Language Left Behind” program, which will be a translation system capable of learning every spoken language even if there isn’t much text available to learn from.
“We are creating a single model that can translate hundreds of languages with state-of-the-art results and most of the language pairs, everything from Austrian to Uganda to Urdu,” said Zuckerberg during the live stream.
In the second component, Meta will focus on creating an AI Bebeflish, which is nothing but a universal speech translator, and its aim will be to build systems that directly translate speech in real-time from one language to another without the need for an intermediary written component.
Moreover, Meta also wrote in a blog post elaborating on the concept of universal speech translator, “Advances in Machine Technology won’t just help those people who don’t speak one of the languages that dominate the internet today; they’ll also fundamentally change the way people in the world connect and share ideas.”
The Metaverse is the future of gaming, trade, and commerce, among other things, and it is undeniably here to stay. And therefore, language translation using AI that is on the spot and quick would encourage the importance of Free Speech and help in diluting miscommunication.
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Shriya Sarang holds a degree in Political Science and Public Administration. Apart from having no political opinions, she advocates financial literacy among her friends.