Languages in the metaverse: Why AI is critical for communication in the brave new world

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By the end of 2021, the term “metavers” had generated a lot of hype. This topic was covered by almost every current media outlet. But what are metavers and what is their purpose? Simply put, it is cyberspace, a virtual world that should serve the human connection.

In metavars, a person is represented by an avatar, as in a video game. People should enter metavers using virtual reality headsets and be able to communicate with others, even if they are physically. It is the nirvana of a technofile that enables anyone to travel through a variety of 3D environments without leaving their bed. Something that scientific writers have long dreamed of.

Bill Gates predicts that in two to three years, all virtual meetings will move from 2D to 3D worlds in Metawors. Microsoft, Meta, Amazon, Tiktok, Apple and other tech giants are planning to invest money and effort to create their own metavars. Fashion and beauty brands also seem to be interested in the opportunity. JPMorgan has an estimated annual revenue of ાવ 1 trillion.

Minecraft is probably one of the closest experiences to what Metavers should be. Since the epidemic began, this video game has been used many times as a social gathering place. For example, South Korean University recently held an entrance ceremony into the game’s virtual space. In the spring of 2020, Minecraft had a music festival with pop star Charlie XCX as its headliner. In the spring of 2021, Brown University also tried its hand at organizing concerts in Minecraft.

As you can see, metavars means social experience. The beauty of Metavers is that you can communicate, work, play or create art with people who are not in the same physical space as you. You do not have to be in the same room, city or country. It conjures up an idea of ​​metavers sound that can unite the whole world by removing the constraints of geographical and political boundaries. But it also seems a complete utopian because even in real life we ​​do not have the superpower of universal understanding. But what if it is really possible to achieve this in cyberspace?

Although Metavers is a virtual space, we are going to approach language and communication there according to the same principles as the physical world. Speaking languages, expressing feelings, listening, being polite, respectful and empathetic. In general, communication inside and outside the digital reality will be similar in many ways. That’s a good thing, because we don’t have to learn from the beginning, but the difficulties are the same.

If we are talking about global cyberspace which is supposed to unite humanity, we have to solve the problem with language barrier. Meta, Mark Zuckerberg’s company that owns Facebook and Instagram, is planning to develop its own metavers. Currently, Meta gathers users from different countries on its social media platform and they mainly stay in their language group without reaching people who speak different languages. By 2019, 41 languages ​​were officially endorsed by Facebook. That’s not much, because there are hundreds of languages ​​and dialects, but it’s still a lot.

This does not seem to be unified, as, apparently, users are only able to communicate and build connections within a limited group of people in these circumstances. It narrows their views and possibilities. At the same time, it would be a tragedy to lose the diversity of languages ​​by choosing only one of them as the universal language. That’s why Metavers needs AI translation.

AI translation in metavers

In the last decade, machine learning and artificial intelligence have been improving by leaps and bounds. In the last few years, there have been significant advances in machine translation, as well as voice recognition and other language technology. Now, social networks are taking advantage of these successes through instant translation of scripting texts. You may have noticed this in Facebook posts and comments, or in video subtitles automatically generated by YouTube and Tiktok. But in Metawars, we need to move on with AI and language. There, people will use their voices to speak like the physical world. The language barrier problem should be solved as seamlessly as possible to make the conversation easier and more inclusive.

It seems that Mark Zuckerberg also understands the importance. In February 2022 the Meta CEO announced that the company was working on creating an AI-powered Universal Speech Translator for languages ​​in its metavers that would work for everyone in the digital world. It will use AI to provide instant translation of widely spoken languages. “The ability to communicate with anyone in any language – it’s a superpower that people have always dreamed of and AI is going to deliver it in our lifetime,” Zuckerberg said.

Meta’s universal speech translator is said to be able to translate speech directly into speech without first transcribing it. This will make the translation process unobtrusive, which will help the conversation to feel natural. If the project is successful, people will not even remember that they are talking to someone who does not understand their language. It will be like an original-to-original conversation. This level of translation cannot be achieved uniformly in the physical world.

AI translation also helps preserve language diversity, as it motivates people to retain their mother tongues as it can no longer be a barrier to international communication. In the future, there will be no need to learn a foreign language to be part of the international community.

Of course, it takes a lot of work before we get there. Meta’s universal speech translator must learn hundreds of languages ​​and acquire the ability to translate from one to another in real time. Engineers behind the project need to find training data, which is not easy to obtain for many languages ​​that are not popular on the Internet. It is a complex and highly ambitious project, but it has the potential to bring a lot of good to the world.

Petr Malukov is a serial IT entrepreneur and your CEO / co-founder,


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