The Week in Review: May 26, 2023

We might have a month left of spring, but for those of us in the northern hemisphere, summer is in the air. In the US, Memorial Day — which takes place on Monday — means barbecues and heat waves, while some countries celebrated a bank holiday earlier this week.

Whether you’ve got a long weekend or just want to take it easy this weekend, catch up on the latest news on all things language-related: This week, we’ve got stories on Google’s strides in generative AI (yes, again), natural language processing, and more.

Read up on all that below — and don’t miss press releases and blogs from Welocalize, Eurotrad, RWS, and more in this week’s recap.

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Google starts opening up access to its new generative AI capabilities in Search (via TechCrunch)

For a long time now, Google has touted its status as an AI-first company. But users haven’t always seen that firsthand — until now.

On Thursday, the company began beta-testing generative AI functions in its signature Search feature. The new search functionalities will be open to people who signed up for Google’s Search Labs — the new capabilities include things like synthesizing resources from the internet to create an AI-generated “snapshot” and helping users finetune their search with AI.

The Landscape of AI in African Languages and Linguistics (via Hackernoon)

Most of the languages spoken across the African continent are classified as “low-resource” languages, making it a challenge to develop high-quality AI-powered tools like speech recognition, machine translation, and more.

For Hackernoon, M. Abimbola Mosobalaje interviewed Nigerian phonologist and computational linguist Olanrewaju Samuel about the status of African languages in AI.

“If anything will happen to AI, it will happen to high-resource languages,” Samuel told Mosobalaje. “Even if it were to happen to African languages, we don’t have the systems to power them. Hence, we are lagging behind because we do not have enough to work with, and the issue has been an almost-lifelong problem of our lack of documentation.”

Sam Altman Says OpenAI Will Leave the EU if There’s Any Real AI Regulation (via Gizmodo)

And speaking of things happening to AI — the EU’s AI Act might have a pretty big impact on OpenAI’s work in the union.

The company’s CEO, Sam Altman, is apparently a bit frustrated with the act’s definition of “high-risk” AI tools — read more on Gizmodo.

Will The Oxford Dictionary Of African American English Help Address Language Appropriation? (via Huffington Post)

A while back, the publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary announced that they were working on a new project: the Oxford Dictionary of African American English (AAVE). 

With a release slated for 2025, it’s set to be the first systematic and methodically created dictionary of AAVE. Huffington Post contributor Sage Howard hopes that the dictionary’s publication will help people educate themselves on AAVE and stop using it inappropriately.

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Andrew Warner
Andrew Warner is a writer from Sacramento. He received his B.A. in linguistics and English from UCLA and is currently working toward an M.A. in applied linguistics at Columbia University. His writing has been published in Language Magazine, Sactown Magazine, and The Takeout.

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