When I was four, going on five, a TV show called Knight Rider premiered in the UK. I loved it and remained a fan for most of my childhood (OK, I admit it; I’m still a fan). There was The Hoff, of course – all leather jackets, open shirt buttons and swagger – but the real star of the show was K.I.T.T – Knight Industries Two Thousand – the ‘advanced, artificially intelligent, self-aware and nearly indestructible car’. Over thirty years later Apple and Google are in a head-to-head race to bring K.I.T.T’s spiritual successor – the driverless car – to market. And, as a little-known and hard-to-spot side effect, the ramifications for the teaching of languages, especially English, could be huge.
I’d go out on a limb here and suggest that the SR element of the Duolingo approach is more gimmick than gristle.
Dr Shaunie Shammass, VP Linguistic Innovation at SpeakingPal, talks to us about her work in bringing speech recognition tech up to speed with the needs of English language learners.