AI revolution in language, learning and psychology imminent

Of all the areas outside of autonomous driving where I see AI making a huge difference in the lives of ordinary people , it’s the fields of translation and psychology that excite me the most.

Google translate is making huge strides in the field of AI translation and the logical end result of this is that every book published, including scientific papers, will be available in every language in the world. This will inevitably speed up the transmission of ideas enormously in real life. In 2016 the nebula award for science fiction went to a Chinese novel written years ago but inaccessible to English readers until recently. With google able to offer a translated version of any written work in any language, one of the biggest barriers to the spread of ideas is removed.

In my country we have 11 official languages and I long for the day when I can meet a fellow countrymen and ‘phone them’ so I can speak in my language and she can speak to me in her language. So many of the barriers to understanding in the world relate to language and Google are busy dismantling that barrier.

Baidu has set itself the goal of achieving 99% accuracy with Deep Speech 2 surpassing human ability. With accurate speech recognition comes the same advances in the social sciences that image recognition has brought to the hard sciences. Just like AI can now diagnose cancer better than doctors, AI will be able to diagnose mental illness far better than psychologists. Along with the work Martin Seligman and co are doing in the field of positive psychology this has profound implications for the fabric of human society going forwards.

Imagine that everyone of us has a personal psychologist / life coach available to us free of charge on our phone. Fewer teen suicides, fewer divorces, more exceptional leaders, better friendships and less loneliness are all coming soon to a cell phone near you. The fact that Meyers-Briggs managed to distill humanity down to 16 personality types and The Big 5 down to 25 types shows that we’re not as unique as we might believe. Leveraging AI to apply personality type theory and neuro linguistic principals in the form of a constant dialogue with an individual to help them understand how their interactions are producing their outcomes might well be possible within the next 10 years. For most people establishing a bio-feedback loop around their behavior will be transformative.

Exciting times indeed…