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New MIT algorithm automatically deciphers lost languages

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A new AI system can automatically decipher a lost language that’s no longer understood — without knowing its relationship to other languages.

Researchers at MIT CSAIL developed the algorithm in response to the rapid disappearance of human languages. Most of the languages that have existed are no longer spoken, and at least half of those remaining are predicted to vanish in the next 100 years.

The new system could help recover them. More importantly, it could preserve our understanding of the cultures and wisdom of their speakers.

[Read: What audience intelligence data tells us about the 2020 US presidential election]

The algorithm works by harnessing key principles from historical linguistics, such as the predictable ways in which languages use sound substitutions. The researchers give the example of a word with a “p” in a parent language possibly changing to a “b” in its descendent, but probably not to a “k” due to the difference in pronunciation.

These kinds of patterns are then turned into computational constraints. This allows the model to segment words from an ancient language and map them to a related language.

The algorithm can also identify different language families. For example, their method suggested that Iberian is not related to Basque, supporting recent scholarship.

The project was led by MIT Professor Regina Barzilay, who last month won a $1 million award from the world’s largest AI society for her pioneering work on drug development and breast cancer detection.

She now wants to expand the work to identifying the semantic meaning of words — even if we don’t know how to read them.

“For instance, we may identify all the references to people or locations in the document which can then be further investigated in light of the known historical evidence,” Barzilay said in a statement.

“These methods of ‘entity recognition’ are commonly used in various text processing applications today and are highly accurate, but the key research question is whether the task is feasible without any training data in the ancient language.”

You can read the full research study here.

Published October 22, 2020 — 14:12 UTC

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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