Bridging the AI language gap in Africa | DW News

The video discusses the language gap in AI technology that affects internet users in Africa, as many local languages are not supported by mainstream AI tools. It highlights the efforts of startups like Lisan Ai in developing advanced machine translation systems to make the internet more accessible in African languages, particularly in education, to promote inclusivity and empower underserved communities.

The video discusses the issue faced by millions of internet users across Africa, as AI tools like chat GPT and Google Translate do not support their local languages. This lack of support is due to a language bias in AI technology, with only a handful of languages being prioritized by multinational corporations based in Silicon Valley. This disparity in language coverage limits the accessibility of the internet for people in developing countries, including those in Africa.

As part of the Global Media Forum hosted by DW in Bonn, Asash Tadu, the co-founder of a Berlin-based startup, participated in a discussion on inequality within artificial intelligence. Tadu’s startup, Lisan Ai, aims to address the language gap by developing advanced machine translation systems for Ethiopian languages like Tigrinya and Amharic. The goal is to make the web more accessible to millions of people in their native languages, bridging the gap created by the dominance of a few languages in AI technology.

Lisan Ai’s focus on making the internet accessible in local languages extends to the educational space as well. Tadu shares a personal anecdote about reaching out to Wikipedia to collaborate on integrating their machine translation system with the platform. While the collaboration did not materialize, it highlights the potential of AI tools like translation and automatic speech recognition to support content creators in education. By leveraging AI technologies, educational content can be made more accessible and inclusive for diverse linguistic communities.

Tadu emphasizes the significance of AI in education and its potential to empower learners by providing access to information and resources in their native languages. The development of machine translation systems like those offered by Lisan Ai opens up new possibilities for enhancing the educational experience and facilitating knowledge sharing across linguistic barriers. Through initiatives like these, the aim is to democratize access to education and information on a global scale, particularly for underserved communities in developing countries.

Overall, the video sheds light on the importance of addressing the language gap in AI technology to promote inclusivity and accessibility in digital spaces. By developing solutions that cater to a diverse range of languages, startups like Lisan Ai are playing a crucial role in bridging the AI language gap and empowering communities to fully participate in the digital world. The discussion also underscores the potential of AI tools in education and the broader impact they can have in supporting learners, educators, and content creators in creating a more inclusive and equitable learning environment.