The idea of the internet of things has stepped into our life for a while, and it will definitely keep progressing. Twenty years ago, we only had our computer connected to the internet, while in the past ten years, we have our smartphones, apple watches, and echo devices all connected to the internet. It is still a limited number but has already completely changed our life. What about in the future? When automobiles, refrigerators, drones, and everything else are all connected to the internet, this may bring us lots of convenience and problems, but the first thing we need to consider about is probably language translation.
Just as a post on YBD website (2019) said, “…an innumerable amount of tasks will be done much faster than before. But for this, the more than 30,000 million new interconnected elements need to speak the same language, but at the same time, that users can understand them in their own language.” That is to say, to make barrier-free access through devices, according to the post on CAPIT website (2014), ” language and translations solutions will need to be incorporated in all IoT devices.”
A new era is about to start. In this increasing global digital market, the internet is not the only factor that connects people, language translation probably should come first in this case. In the future, it would be inevitable that technology companies would work with language translation companies to make global IoT possible and viable. (YBD,2019)
Translators in the Internet of Things Era
The Internet of Things: Unlocking the language potential
Cyberbullying seems to be a new-era problem emerging from the flourish of social media, however, the consequences it caused is still very profound and consequential.
A cybercrime murder happened on March 16, 2018, Tokyo Japan. The victim, Kenichiro Okamoto, was also known as a blogger named “Hagex”. Okamoto was stabbed multiple times, according to the news written by Jason Lemon, “on Sunday in a public restroom after delivering a talk on how to manage online disputes “. The suspect Hidemitsu Matsumoto turned himself in and claimed he was a “hater” of the blogger. He had commented abusive words on Okamoto’s for a long time and had been blocked multiple times. Matsumoto’s resentment aggregated through the whole online communication and he finally killed Okamoto.
Besides this serious case, there are countless abusive talks happened on social media every minute every day. According to the statistics by Brandon Ackroyd(2019) ,70% of bullied children felt cyberbullying affected their social lives, 23% of bullied children turned to self-harming behaviors such as cutting, 24% of bullied children have suicidal thoughts,10% of bullied children have attempted to take their own lives.
Social media makes the expression of ideas too easy that people are very easily influenced or even hurt by other people’s words, and our life will become even more stressful by complete exposure to other peer’s seemingly perfect life. However, is this kind of pain really necessary? Or, is the pain that social media bring us really necessary? I would say no because 20 years ago when we lived without social media, we also lived happily without such pain.
The market of language learning has always been large and demanding. However, with the emergence of AI technology, the job opportunity for linguists and human translators is avoidlessly shrinking.
The reason why this is happening is primarily because of AI’s efficiency over human beings. For example, when deciphering an unknown ancient language, AI can do a quick and accurate job of matching words from unknown languages to related words, or cognates, in languages that share the same root through the divised algorithm.
Whereas, AI also has limitations when handling this kind of work. If you cannot feed the algorithm with enough data, which most lost languages usually do not have, AIs may have a problem learning the pattern and they might fail the work. What’s more, due to the subjectivity and of human language and a huge amount of implicatures in human languages, the semantics of human languages is still very hard for AIs to precisely grasp just as all those everyday easy misunderstandings between human beings and Siris and Google home.
Therefore, I hold a point that in the future, AI translators will not engulf linguists and human translators’ jobs because AIs will always need them to perfect their understanding of human languages, while linguists and human translators, as Amy He holds(2019), would need AIs to improve the efficiency of work. Both sides would work together in the end.