Google on Wednesday said it wanted to develop artificial intelligence using the world’s one thousand most spoken languages as tech giants compete to dominate the internet’s next battleground.
“Imagine a new internet user in Africa speaking Wolof… using their phone to ask where is the nearest pharmacy,” said Johan Schalkwyk, a researcher at Google.
Such situations “we take for granted,” Schalkwyk told reporters, adding that languages were “not available to everyone in the world.”
According to Schalkwyk, there are more than 7,000 languages globally. However, Google only offers its translations for a little more than 130 of them.
The search engine giant is aiming to widen this substantially and wants to mine data in new languages not only from texts available on the internet, but also from videos, images, and speech.
The group is also looking to collect audio clips for languages for which there may not be much-written material.