An anonymous reader shares a report: Google CEO Sundar Pichai last month previewed an artificial intelligence model that he said would enable people to have open-ended conversations with technology. But current and former employees who have worked with the language model say enabling coherent, free-flowing and accurate dialogue between humans and technology remains a tall order. As a result, Google is taking a more incremental step in conversational AI by preparing to teach foreign languages through Google Search [Editor’s note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source], according to people involved in the work. The project, referred to internally as Tivoli, grew out of its Google Research unit and is likely to be rolled out later this year. It will initially work over text, and the exact look and feel of the instruction couldn’t be learned.
Googlers are also discussing ways to eventually add the functionality to its voice assistant and YouTube product lines. In YouTube, for example, it could generate language quizzes where viewers record themselves after watching a video and the AI provides an assessment of how they performed. A Google spokesperson did not have a comment. Teaching foreign languages allows Google to move more fluid, conversational AI beyond silly exchanges to a practical-use but low-stakes case, the people said. Using the wrong tense or phrase would be unlikely to cause serious harm to users. AI researchers have for decades worked to foster dialogue between computers and humans that feels real, picks up the nuance of how people communicate and simplifies tasks. Such aspirational technology has been featured in movies like “Her” in which a man communicates with — and falls in love with — a virtual assistant.