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ILAD, Technology, and Forgotten Languages

Region: Eurasia
Competency: Human Language Technology

Tucked among the Caucasus Mountains is a village of around 15,000 Kist speakers. Kist is an oral language that is rapidly dying as the younger generations speak and are educated in the majority language of the area. 

It has been said that when a language dies, it is like dropping a bomb on the Louvre. Stories, history, culture, knowledge all disappear, and the world is poorer - and thousands of languages are dying.

ILAD, together with the Roddy Scott Foundation and Woolaroo, a Google Arts and Culture app, is helping preserve the Kist language through Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. 

The process involves creating an alphabet, writing the language for the first time, and coding it into a computer. Then Kist speakers, using an app that has been adapted just for them, take a picture of items on their phones, record themselves saying the word, and type in what it is. The app can then translate from one language to another and back again. 

Learn more here