Wednesday, July 6

The RAE agrees with the technology companies so that artificial intelligence “speaks Spanish and speaks it well”

Although the process is “slow and long”, the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) has proposed that Artificial Intelligence “speak Spanish and speak it well” and, for that, when it is achieved, it “aspires” to give “certificates of quality “to the technological ones when the machines use our language as a” human “does. This was stated by its director of the RAE, Santiago Muñoz Machado, during the meeting on Spanish Language and Artificial Intelligence held this morning and which was attended by representatives of Telefónica, Microsoft, Amazon and Google.

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“When the RAE is sure that the machines use our language like a human who handles Spanish, with solvency, it aspires to give certificates of the good use of Spanish and to prove that the linguistic criteria of this house are met”, Muñoz pointed out. Machado today at the headquarters of the Academy. “We want the AI ​​to speak Spanish and to speak it well, that the parliamentary machines conform to the canons that the RAE has established 300 years ago. It is more difficult for us to impose it on machines, but we want to convince companies to use the same. RAE tools to train machines and make them speak according to the RAE canon to which more than 600 million people in the world abide “, he added.

A process in which “much progress has been made” but which is also “slow and long”, has added while acknowledging that, as it is a “huge field”, it cannot be reserved only to the scope of the RAE , but must be extended to all “domains”. In this sense, David Carmona, general director of AI at Microsoft Corporation, explained that the moment of Spanish in artificial intelligence “could not be more perfect”, since currently it is living “a moment of digital transformation”.

A reflection shared by the rest of the participants in this conference, as explained by Chema Alonso, director of Telefónica’s global unit for Digital Consumption and technical director of the Spanish Language and Artificial Intelligence (LEIA) project. “It must be said that there has been an openness of the RAE in terms of all the resources that it has given so that it could be trained and validated that the learning of the AI ​​is adequate,” he clarified.

It is more difficult for us to impose it on machines, but we want to convince companies to use the tools of the RAE

In this sense, Marie Mulot, general manager of Amazon Alexa in Spain, has told how with her voice assistant Alexa they have tried to “go a step further” so that “he can speak correct and natural Spanish”. “Alexa can give definitions from the RAE dictionary, synonyms and spell words, and we believe that with the LEIA project we can reach millions of people,” he pointed out. Likewise, Ester Marinas, responsible for the brand and reputation of Google Spain and Portugal, has also described as “natural” the way her voice assistant expresses himself, who also speaks the different dialects of Spanish and is capable of giving definitions, sayings or recite poetry.

Regarding the “most important” changes facing the AI ​​regarding the use of Spanish, Carmona stressed that at the “heart” of these changes is the fact that the AI ​​”reasons” about language in a “similar” way to which a human does. “Our commitment is to guarantee that Spanish is the first language and on an equal footing with other languages,” said the CEO of IA at Microsoft Corporation.

Regarding the grammatical challenges so that the Spanish spoken by the machines is increasingly perfect, these experts have stressed that the main ones are the “biases” of gender and age so that this language of the machines is also “inclusive”. “AI has to reflect the advances of our time and limit the age and gender bias because today we are solving it mechanically. Alexa, for example, is not going to say” I hope you are happy today “but” I hope that you’re in a good mood. “We have to propose things that are more natural,” explained the general manager of Amazon Alexa in Spain.

Thus, from Microsoft, its representative on this day has argued that to save these situations it is not possible to put “the blame on the data”; “We have to create an AI that not only uses data, but human knowledge (…) natural language is going to become the centerpiece of training.”

This colloquium has been closed by the Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence, Carmen Artigas, who also agreed with the participants that we are at a “decisive moment” in our country for the future development of AI as a “great element integrator “of the Spanish economy. “AI is going to play a very important role in the reconstruction of this country. 30% of the aid from the State budgets is aimed at digital transformation,” he concluded.