A Google exec thinks your headphones could translate any language for you in 10 years

Apps that help you translate different languages can be extraordinary helpful, but sometimes you want to understand a foreign language immediately.

In a decade, that could very well be a reality thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, Greg Corrado, the co-founder of Google’s deep learning project dubbed Google Brain, said in a roundtable discussion with journalists Thursday.

In 10 years, it will be possible to have a meeting where everyone speaks a different language, but can understand one another by wearing special earbuds, he said.

“That is totally science fiction today, but it’s the kind of thing I’d take the 10-year bet on,” he said.

To make that technology a reality, there will need to be advancements in a type of artificial intelligence called machine learning, or training computers to learn on their own. You would have to combine different machine learning systems, like ones that can recognise speech and translate text, to make the earbuds work.

“Things are there in the early stages — it’s far from a practical reality, but it’s the kind of thing I’m really hopeful for,” Corrado said.

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