'Babelfish' could exist within 25 years

  • 17/03/2014

The extraterrestrial 'Babelfish' featured in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, which instantly translates different languages and allows the characters to understand each other, could be a reality within 25 years.

Professor Nigel Shadbolt, who is a close associate of the Internet's inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, claims the concept of automatic machine translation is achievable before the web reaches its 50th anniversary.

Shadbolt also predicts development in the web will mean users will be constantly connected to medical diagnostic systems, but warned search engines like Google may be challenged as the web shifts from desktop to hand held environments.

Shadbolt believes there are huge opportunities for artificial intelligence systems by connecting computers around the world with so-called cloud computing.

He told Britain's The Guardian, "I think we'll have a sort of Web 3.0 and smarter systems. With more cloud computing you can imagine that there will be more machine translation.

A 'Babelfish' system will be closing in on reality because of the large-scale resources that will be available to do entire voice translation on the fly.

I would be surprised if in 25 years we haven't get enhanced Bluetooth-based translators that you can just put in your ear."

Google and Microsoft already feature automatic text translations, but Shadbolt believes the growing connectivity between machines will see voice translation become a reality before long.


source: newshub archive

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