Skype translator, self-driving car

Wow! 2 amazing innovations in one day! Let’s start what Microsoft did with Skype Translator. Google Translate has been around for quite a long time. It is great to get the sense of any written text in almost any language. But it isn’t really effective. I mean it translates, but it’s not always understandable.

Google Translate has some great features. It automagically recognises the language of the text, the machine can read out the words, etc. But it’s only working for written text. Understanding and translating written text is easier than the spoken one. I speak German and English (and of course Hungarian), so understanding languages as Swedish or Dutch when it’s written is not very difficult. It takes time, but it’s manageable. At the very moment someone starts to talk, I’m lost.

What Microsoft did with Skype Translator, sounds awesome.

Of course, because I speak German and English, too. I could understand both ends of the demo conversation in the video above.

And still the teacher and parent in me is asking questions like: Is Skype translator going to ruin foreign language courses? No need any more to learn a foreign language? Are we on the way to a new world where computers are going to translate everything for us?

Computers changed our world entirely. For example handwriting isn’t part of the curriculum in some states in the United States. The gap between our generation and our children is getting bigger and bigger.

As I saw the Skype Translator video above, I started to look for a link to get my hands on an early beta version asap. Every change has a downside, too. Ever since we have cars and great public transport, we sit and don’t walk as much as our body would need. Skype Translator, GPS, etc. great tools, but you have to be in control. Ever since we have great navigation tools around us, there is no need to know where you are heading. Just follow what’s on the screen.
You can do so, or you can look at the screen and compare it to the reality and use it as an advise. Skype Translator is the same. It is great to be able to have a tool, which helps me to speak a foreign language. But I’d like to be in control. I’d like to see/hear what it says to the other party in the call. If there is any misunderstanding, it won’t be Skype Translator’s fault. It’s mine.

Skype Translator is a great new innovation, but you still need to be in control.

Having the control. The other amazing news is Google’s self-driving car.

No steering wheel, no way to interact or control the car manually. I’m very much interested how this project is going to change the way we go from one place to the other. And I don’t mind my kids won’t learn how to drive a car, just pop up Google Maps and type in the address they are going to.

What do you think about the future? Scared or amazed?