Beacon Transcript – Duolingo, one of the world’s most used language practice tools is coming up with a new learning method as it introduces a whole new set of AI Teachers.
The application, popular for the easy to learn, step by step plans and an extensive variety of languages will be offering its users a chance not many language students expect to receive, the chance to actually talk and hold conversations and to put to actual use all their acquired knowledge. The new feature, available at the moment only for the iOS app, will involve the introduction of three language tutors. The AI-powered chatbots will have their own personality and are as follows: Renee the Driver, Officer Ada, and Chef Roberto. The three will offer the app fans the chance to improve their French, German and Spanish. New characters are set to be introduced and new languages added to the AI teachers system in accordance with their demand.
As a number of talking bots already exists, although not with very satisfactory results, the Duolingo teachers will be AI based which means that not only will they be able to give a wide range of answers, they will actually be able to learn and as Duolingo has stated, sometimes in the future they may even be capaable of holding a freely-spoken conversation. For the moment, the chatbots will be following a program and guiding the conversation towards pre-set topics, but the more the speaker will interact with them, the smarter the bots will be getting and the better the service. Their AI-based technology will also ensure a fewer mistakes rate, as Translation is a well-defined domain and there is a great need for accuracy.
Duolingo is not the first application or company to try to tackle the talking bots domain. As Internet big players like Microsoft and Facebook are trying to tap into the idea’s potential, they have started rolling out platforms that would make it easy for developers to come up with a new and better technology for building the chatbots.
So far, the two initiatives have failed to reach their target and have actually instigated quite a backlash as the Messenger chatbots have been pegged as bland conversationalist who often fall back on predetermined answers, that is if they don’t fall into interminable periods of pause. Talk about awkward conversation. An even worse result was generated by Microsoft’s “Tay” chatbot who in just 24 hours transformed from a level-headed, normal type of human-loving bot to a tweeting racist menace.
With a not so fortunate history of tries, we have yet to see how Duolingo’s innovation will turn out. Will the reader try conversing with the app’s AI teachers?
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