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Human-machine conversation possible in 5 yrs: Google

All News 15:30 December 05, 2017

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- Mastering the human language remains a challenge for computers, but artificial intelligence (AI) technology is forecast to make it possible for people to converse with machines in five years, Google Inc. said Tuesday.

"We are applying Natural Language Processing technology to allow machines to have conversations with humans," Hadar Shemtov, an engineer at Google's search quality team, told reporters in Seoul through a video conference.

NLP is a field of computer science, AI and computational linguistics concerned with the interactions between computers and humans.

Noticeably, researchers at Google focus on applying NLP algorithms to various services, including Google Assistant and Google Translation.

The expert further forecast humans will be able to have decent conversations with machines in five years, yet the quality will not be as precise as people talking to each other.

"Interaction is much more conversational through mobile devices," he said, noting that the team is working hard to apply text-to-speech synthesis to improve the quality of the conversation.

The experienced search relevance specialist at Google has 15 patents related to search algorithms and other technologies.

Choi Hyun-jeong, a linguist expert who recently joined the team, is working on 35 languages to improve the human-machine interaction.

"Korean is difficult for corpus building," she said, noting that spoken Korean language and written Korean language are very different.

She said Korean is difficult to master as Koreans do not use subjects in sentences during conversation.

"Korean is very unique," Choi said. "It is virtually impossible for machines to completely understand Korean at present."

Hadar Shemtov, an engineer at Google Inc.'s search quality team, talks to reporters in Seoul through a video conference on Dec. 5, 2017. (Yonhap)


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