Yet another sign that the future is catching up with us fast: the availability of interpretation devices that fit in your ear and instantly render foreign languages into your own.
A recent article in the New York Times, The Latest in Translation Devices, describes two additions to what is likely to be a booming market — the WT2 Plus Ear to Ear AI Translator Earbuds from Timekettle, and the “Ambassador” from Wavery Labs. Both rely on a pair of wireless earpieces that are synced to a single smartphone connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data.
The Times article quotes Graham Neubig, an assistant professor at the Language Technologies Institute of Carnegie Mellon University and an expert in machine learning and natural language processing, who says, “These devices ‘bring us a bit closer to being able to travel to places in the world where people speak different languages and communicate smoothly with those who are living there.'” At the same time, the Times story makes it clear that human translators and interpreters will not be replaced by this generation of devices.
Care to geek out on the technology behind this leap in the processing and rendering of speech and writing? Check out a story in the New Yorker that delves into an explanation of machine learning while attempting to answer the question, Can a machine learn to write for the New Yorker? (The answer: not quite yet.)