Central to our ability to cooperate is our ability of speech and language. What if we could communicate directly with others regardless of the overlap of languages those “communicators” have mastered?
Where some ponder about the moment of singularity I have always wondered when the moment would come that I could pick up a phone (or use app with same functionality) and speak in my mother-tongue (Dutch in my case), that what i would have to say would be instantly translated into Mandarin Chinese while emulating my own voice and vice versa!
Microsoft demoed a Skype call that – more or less instantly – would decently translate a conversation form German to English and back. It was a rehearsed conversation and especially the German was not flawless but these people managed to pull of a decent conversation exchanging pleasantries in real time. This functionality is said to be opened up for Skype-users at the end of the year.