December 2, 2020

«The machines are stealing words from us»

Santiago Muñoz Machado said that "we (academics) also want to have artificial intelligence" and admitted that "technological means have invaded us" in the Academy. During the closing of the Congress of the Asale revealed that «DRAE is consulted by 800 million people every year and that through the networks we solve the doubts of all Spanish speakers immediately ». But this landscape plot did not prevent him from showing reality: «AI is a challenge, but it is being developed mostly in English. We have to take a place there and conquer a space for Spanish ».

To illustrate how technologies are impacting Spanish every day, he gave an example: «Words from our lexicon are disappearing. They are being stolen by the text programs used to write and that underline terms as incorrect when they are not. But when you mark them, users stop using them ». And he also made another warning: «The translations made by the machines are inadmissible ». But apart from this obvious deterioration, he wanted to point out another urgent question: “Every day there is a greater number of talking machines. We have calculated the problem that supposes that they speak. The Spanish speakers are 540 million, while the machines are already around 700 million. And they speak as the manufacturer tells them. We have an objective: that the machines do not break the unity of the language, that heritage that we humans have taken care of for 300 years ».

Santiago Muñoz Machado emphasized that «We cannot allow machines to corrupt the best we have in our countries. It is something ethical and a challenge for equality of those who speak Spanish. If technology speaks only English, it will always favor English elites. In his speech he pointed out that, in addition, technology "can fragment the language if it starts speaking differently" in each of the nations. Therefore, the LEIA program is aimed at the main technology companies and also all the companies in the sector that want to join. But what does it consist of? Especially in taking advantage of the knowledge that has been accumulating the SAR over centuries. Academies can offer global regulatory ideas, set standards for humans and machines, but not in an imperative, but cooperative manner. We are willing to participate in that challenge. We do not know the dimensions that it implies, but we want to be there so that the bull does not catch us and we have in our favor everything we have done: the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, spelling, grammar, other dictionaries and millions of inquiries of users, dozens of millions of texts and the entire range of questions and answers, ”said the director.

A cultural background that could nurture the artificial intelligence assistants that companies such as Telefónica, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and Microsoft already provide. These corporations committed to a firm to nurture their programs with all this to encourage the proper use of the Spanish language. In this way, These programs may answer grammar and spelling questions and to any other question related to our language. “Corporations must teach that doctrine to machines, and that is done by adding to the machines the doctrines established by the RAE so that they can handle a clear Spanish and that the unity of the language be maintained. Just as humans today believe in the authority of the SAR, the machines that have to talk to us must also do so. You have to convince companies to develop the process we are preparing, ”said Santiago Muñoz Machado.

. (tagsToTranslate) javier ors

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