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AI Robots to Help the Students of Japan in Enhancing English Speaking Skills

According to data from the most recent EF English Proficiency Index in 2017, Japan is ranked 37th out of a total of 80 countries

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English teaching robots
AI robots to boost spoken English skills of Japanese students. Pixabay

The government of Japan is planning to introduce English-speaking Artificial Intelligence (AI) robots in classrooms to help children improve their English speaking skills, considered one of the worst in the world.

The Japanese education ministry would be launching a pilot programme to test the effectiveness of the initiative in April 2019, reports Efe news.

The initiative will be initially rolled out in 500 schools throughout the country with the aim of fully implementing it in two years, public broadcaster NHK reported Saturday.

The programme also includes study apps and online conversation sessions with native English speakers.

robots
An iPal couple social robots help teach children at a kindergarten in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China, July 4, 2018. Designed to offer education, care and companionship to children and the elderly, the 3.5-feet tall humanoid robots come in two genders and can tell stories, take photos and deliver educational or promotional content. VOA

Japan has proposed improving English skills ahead of the surge in tourists expected during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

According to data from the most recent EF English Proficiency Index in 2017, Japan is ranked 37th out of a total of 80 countries.

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The latest test and score data of TOEFL, the most popular English language proficiency test, showed that Japanese test-takers have among the worst scores as compared to their Asian counterparts, and are especially poor in speaking, along with Burkina Faso and Congo. (IANS)

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Google Adding AI Dictation Feature on its Gboard Keyboard

For now, the on-device Gboard speech recogniser has been made available in American English language on all Pixel devices

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Google, smart compose
The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

Google adding an Artificially Intelligent (AI) offline dictation feature on its Gboard keyboard for Pixel phones that would allow users to speak out emails and texts even without an Internet connection.

“We’re happy to announce the rollout of an end-to-end, all-neural, on-device speech recognizer to power speech input in Gboard which is always available, even when you are offline,” Johan Schalkwyk, Speech Team, Google wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

Google has designed the feature to work at the character level.

Google on an Android device. Pixabay

“As you speak, it outputs words character-by-character, just as if someone was typing out what you say in real-time. It is exactly as you’d expect from a keyboard dictation system,” Schalkwyk said.

To increase use-parameters of the speech recognition feature, Google said it has hosted the new model on device in order to avoid the latency and inherent unreliability of communication networks.

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For now, the on-device Gboard speech recogniser has been made available in American English language on all Pixel devices.

“We are hopeful that the techniques presented here can soon be adopted in more languages and across broader domains of application,” Schalkwyk added. (IANS)