Do you think technology will one day render language learning obsolete?

Japanese telecom company NTT Docomo is working on a Google Glass competitor that will read text written in foreign languages and automatically overlay translations.
The device, which was unveiled at the Ceatec electronics trade show in Tokyo today, is still in the prototype stage, but Docomo says it’ll be more than ready by 2020, when Tokyo is expected to host the Olympics. The device has already been used to translate Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and English.
“Character recognition technology enables instant language translation for users travelling abroad and reading restaurant menus and other documents,” Docomo said in a statement.

Read more at Docomo's answer to Google Glass will translate foreign languages in real-time | VentureBeat


If you are a learner who just wants to understand a menu or find the johns, this could help.

If you are a serious learner you don’t want to get translations - you want to experience the real thing!

(Also, it wouldn’t help with unscripted languages - as any self-respecting boiled egg knows…)

“(Also, it wouldn’t help with unscripted languages - as any self-respecting boiled egg knows…)”

But those are the most important ones!

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I think Google Glasses will make language learning easier, not obsolete. I’m waiting patiently for the Lingq Google Glasses app.

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Simple answer - yes. Some day we’ll have (maybe not our generation, or the next, or the next) the ability to download data into our brains or extend our brain with electronics. Or all humans will be genetically engineered to be much much smarter… in which case you could learn a language in a day maybe. So yes. It may sound like science fiction but it’ll be here soon enough

…or we may run out of resources before we can develop such technology.

…or the world could be destroyed by zombies. World War Z anyone?

So, in 6 years there´ll be an app for Google Glasses that translates writing. Big deal. This might be enough to find the way to the train station or reading the menu in a restaurant. I think that speaking Japanese would still be a useful skill for people who want to visit Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics.

Even if in 20 years or so there´s some kind of technology that instantly translates what
you´re saying into another language, learning a language would still be a fun and useful thing to do. Drummers didn´t suddenly disappear after the invention of drum-machines :wink:

Playing the drums is more honest, more “human”, more spontaneous than using a drum sample and I guess the same thing is true for human interaction.

Yes but if you could insert a processor into your brain that lets you automatically know how to play the drums AND control a remote drum set and/or drum-machine… who’s going to waste time learning to play the drums?


You´re right. ^^
I don´t think that this will be possible (and affordable) before I die, though.

Well, I’d like to believe that there will always be a human desire to learn things. If language learning becomes obsolete, there will be still be something that humans will want to put effort into with those languages, or that technology, to expand on the prior acheivement.

Music has become much easier to learn over the past twenty or so years. I think this is why we see so many great musicians, and so many going in such amazing directions. The ability to learn easily has facilitated the Bela Flecks and the John Zorns to bring their music to the next level.

It’s not that we’ll “stop learning” – our learning process is going to change drastically. Learning will just become “upload into brain”

I think humans are driven to create – not to learn. I don’t know about the rest of you… but I (generally) don’t learn just to learn. There’s no point. I learn things so I can make money… have fun… do something new, etc. There are some gray areas. I like reading history. But I don’t read history to just learn history. I read history because it entertains me

Our brains are designed to learn. We learn all the time. I derive great pleasure from learning all kinds of things, even the most trivial things.

Learning is an evolutionary advantage. If we wouldn´t have learned how to make fire, domesticate animals, make tools and weapons (etc.) humanity would have died out. Well, maybe not…but there wouldn´t be 7 billion of us.
I think we´re hard-wired to learn, just like we´re hard-wired to want food, have sex or hang out with other people.

I find it extremely to imagine that these natural desires will ever be replaced by artificial stuff and it might even be harmful.

Disclaimer(^^) - I have no idea what I´m talking about. This is just my opinion.

From what I see it , technology is there for making our lives easier and I believe we shouldn’t let it make us lazy but only more efficient and help us to save more time .

Even if this gizmo will come to be I don’t think that it will make language learning obsolete because we were designed as humans to always learn (like Steve was saying ) and any accomplishment without any work is meaningless .

@Spatterson : Your assumption on how people will learn in the future sounds funny to say the least , but in my opinion we will never be able to truly understand our brains’ design which God bestowed unto us to its fullest .

Well since I don’t believe in this god nonsense, I’ll stick with my funny ideas. Once we decode the mind it’s only a matter of time until we have the necessary facilities to upload and download information to our brains. Along with cloning of our physical bodies… this essentially means mortality.

People also thought the world was flat. They look silly now

…and suddenly your soulless blank keyboard seems extremely appropriate.

God nonsense ? Do you really believe that the hole universe appeared from thin air ? You seem to not understand the fact that one of the most important laws of physics says that matter cannot be created so there must be a Supreme Being that must have created everything in perfect order.

If you believe in the fact that we will be able to download and upload in our brains then I also believe in the tooth fairy ,Santa Claus and that aliens had assassinated Kennedy :))))


I agree with you about uploading brains. I really don’t fancy being killed just so that someone in a lab coat can create a cloned copy of me!! :wink:

But I have to correct you on one little thing: it wasn’t aliens who who took out JFK. On no, I can exclusively reveal here today that it was ELVIS! Of course that is why he was, in turn, assassinated by the CIA.

(However, it was aliens who were behind 9/11…I know that for a fact because Alex Jones told me…)

Hmm, I’m not sure whether the last post is making sense? (It’s late, and I’ve got more sheets to the wind than the Flying Dutchman…or something like that…)