November 29, 2016


Google's AI translation tool seems to have invented its own secret internal language (Devin Coldewey, 11/22/16, Tech Crunch)

 If the computer is able to make connections between concepts and words that have not been formally linked... does that mean that the computer has formed a concept of shared meaning for those words, meaning at a deeper level than simply that one word or phrase is the equivalent of another?

In other words, has the computer developed its own internal language to represent the concepts it uses to translate between other languages? Based on how various sentences are related to one another in the memory space of the neural network, Google's language and AI boffins think that it has.

This "interlingua" seems to exist as a deeper level of representation that sees similarities between a sentence or word in all three languages. Beyond that, it's hard to say, since the inner processes of complex neural networks are infamously difficult to describe.

It could be something sophisticated, or it could be something simple. But the fact that it exists at all -- an original creation of the system's own to aid in its understanding of concepts it has not been trained to understand -- is, philosophically speaking, pretty powerful stuff.

Posted by at November 29, 2016 4:35 PM