ChatGPT, AI & Language Learning with @LucaLampariello (1)
Steve: Hi Luca.
Today I have a special guest, my good friend Luca Lampariello
and we're gonna talk about new stuff, ChatGPT, AI, artificial Intelligence,
all the different ways that technology is going to affect language learning. Luca, good morning,
good afternoon, good evening. Luca: Nice to see you, Steve,
as always. Um, thanks for the invitation. Steve: Now you being the globe trotter
that you are, where do we find you? Luca: It's just my place in Rome, you know,
it's just a, my simple place in Rome here. Okay. I'm gonna be here for a little bit and then I've
gotta be traveling, uh, quite a lot this summer. Steve: Ah-huh . Um, so we hear these
buzzwords ChatGPT, AI, I don't know, web 3.0. Steve: And, and then on the other hand, you hear
these people saying, well, technology is gonna make it unnecessary to learn languages. Where do
you stand on all this stuff? Have you used any of it? Or are you using aspects of artificial
intelligence in your language learning? Luca: So, um, I'm using as, as you are
using like the internet in general. Luca: Um, and more specifically if you ask
me specifically about artificial intelligence tools, I think at the end of the day, we use,
we've been using them for a long time. Let me give you an example of that,
Google Translate or Deep L uh, or all these systems that where you can, for example,
LingQ, uh, LingQ does that as well. Luca: You just click on a word, behind that,
there's algorithms that process the information and transforms that information from one language
to the other. So we've been using that. Apart from ChatGPT, which is the new thing. But we've
been using technology and artificial intelligence for a long time. Um, now let me tell you this,
as you yourself say in a lot of videos, um, this is the golden era uh, of language learning.
Nothing... like, never, never in, in, in, uh, modern history have his language learning become
so easy to actually do, right. So, uh, absolutely. So I believe that technology is facilitating the
acquisition of any language. Nowadays we have a wealth of possibilities, but we also have to take
into account that we still learn with our brain. Luca: Whatever happens when it comes to language
running happens here in our head. So I think one thing we have to take into account is, uh, you
know, I think we have to educate ourselves and also educate the next generation to use the tools
that we have for our benefit because, uh, the internet and also the artificial intelligence
has pros and cons, like everything. Luca: So it's up to us to understand how
to use it, um, you know, to, to learn languages better and in general to have a better life.
Steve: Absolutely. And, uh, and we'll get into ChatGPT. I mean, text to speech, uh,
obviously is an application of, uh, uh, artificial intelligence.
Um, you know, and I'm on LingQ. If I click on a word, I can hear it.
Steve: Artificial voice. I wouldn't use that for, uh, any long period of text.
But if I come across a word in Arabic and I can't figure out how to pronounce it,
I'll just click on it and I hear it. So text to speech dictation. Uh, we can use dictation
now on our various. Uh, also just to find stuff on the internet, you know, find content also,
like I'll find, I get podcasts in the language I'm learning, and I'll put it on an automatic
transcription website to get a transcript. Steve: It's 90%, it's not ideal, but it's
better than nothing otherwise. There's just too many words there that I don't know. Uh, so yeah,
there's all kinds of... and when I, and just get getting back to what you said about this being the
golden age 50 years ago, before you were born uh, I would be scouring the bookstores to find a book,
which maybe had a glossary behind each chapter so that I could possibly read this thing in Chinese,
and every two weeks or month I'd go back to the bookstores hoping there was something new.
Steve: This was in Hong Kong, and now you don't have to do that. You just find whatever you want
on the internet. Luca: Agreed.
Luca: Um, you know, that reminds me of myself when I was trying to learn, um, English back
in the day, or French, or even Dutch. And that was like almost 30 years ago. Well,
25 years ago. And it was a different world. Luca: And I also remember 15 years ago when
I started learning Chinese, even if, um, I used LingQ, LingQ I have to thank you
for creating LingQ because it's just, I, I almost learned Chinese exclusively through
that. Now the thing is when, when I was using, uh, I first used Assimil to get a foundation,
but then I used exclusively, uh, LingQ. Luca: Now, the thing that happened back
then is that I was not using the, I should have, I was not using, you know, you can click and you
can see words. What I was doing is I was also printing, uh, the scripts and then I had this
small vocabulary and I was trying to painstakingly understand everything, which was very labor,
a very laborious process nowadays, right? Luca: You can get a, you, you, you can go
on LingQ or you can just download stuff and you can translate it and you can have an artificial,
uh, you know, voice read it if you want it in another language. It's amazing what
we can do nowadays. So... Steve: Absolutely amazing.
Luca: It, it's, it's mind, mind blowing. Uh, uh, I, I think that
a lot of people do not still know. Luca: I still believe that. And I,
I, I, I strongly believe that we as educators, we have to help people understand how to use these
tools because again, I've been, for example, uh, I was in Bergamo I was invited to Bergamo
in northern Italy and I talked to hundreds and hundreds of students and they have amazing tools.
Luca: But most of the time, unfortunately, 'cause I saw it firsthand and I talked to some of them,
most of, of the time, that the time they spend, not all of them of course, those who wanna learn,
they will learn, but a lot of them are sucked in this rabbit hole of Instagram,
of TikTok. If I were, if I could go back, if I could go back to, uh, to when I was 15,
I would learn all the time with these tools. Luca: It would be amazing. So again,
there's always a dark side to things. It's like nowadays we have a lot of tools,
a lot of possibilities, a lot of language, learning materials, for example. But people
still get stuck in the paradox of choice. What do I choose? They, they're still not sure. And when
it comes to tools, they don't know how to, uh, use them. There's this, uh, word that I recently
stumbled upon in a, in a French, uh, newspaper. It was Infobesity or something like that. There's too
much information out there, you know, so, um, yes. Um, and going back to what you were saying before,
going back to what you were saying before about using, um, you know, using technology.
Luca: I've been experimenting with this. There's so many things you can actually do with, uh, a
combination of text, audio, and translation, and also platforms that can help you, uh,
decipher the meaning of words. So, um, it's just mind blowing. It has... the, the way I'm learning
languages is speeding up because of this. Luca: And I see that the people who use
them to their own benefit, they know how to learn. They're gonna be the winners,
the winners of tomorrow, so to speak. Steve: Right now, uh, I think there's sort of
two types of learners. The, the people who aren't necessarily as keen as we
are. And I think for those people, some of the things that Duolingo has
introduced a certain level of gamification. Steve: Uh, I know now at LingQ we've got this
sentence review where we have these matching pair or you have to reassemble a sentence.
And I think that, I'm not sure because I'm not involved in the development,
but I think we stole that idea from Duolingo, although we deal with actual meaningful sentences,
but you have to get people engaged at some level. Steve: So, uh, eventually, of course we want to
be listening to 15 minute podcasts with transcript looking up words, and we're into meaty stuff. But,
but initially to get people engaged, maybe the Instagram or the Duolingo or some of
those things are good for giving people, sort of, instant sense of achievement, instant,
you know, short term gratification that gets them committed to learning languages.
Steve: would you agree? Luca: I agree and disagree at the same
time. Meaning that I honestly think to, to put it in Stephen Krashen's words i, I know we both
appreciate Stephen Krashen, um things like apps, like Duolingo... now I heard that it improved, but
I'm not just talking about Duolingo. Just think about flashcards or things that you do that maybe
create that sense of like, give you that shot of dopamine and you think, okay, I've done that.
Luca: The reality though is that these are not really, um, acquisition rich envi... like it's
not acquisition rich environment. What do I mean by that is that if you read a text, just
to give you an example and you have to ask these terrible questions about what that text means,
right? Or you have to use flashcards. Luca: You can do that if you want to,
but that is really poor in terms of acquiring a language. So, uh, again...
Steve: Fully agree. Fully agree. Luca: So, yeah. The, the problem nowadays is
that we have, everybody's got little time, right? Quote unquote. And if you have one hour a day,
right? Imagine you have a slot of 30 minutes. Luca: If you spend 25 minutes toying with
Duolingo, then you have five minutes to listen to a podcast, then your language is going downhill.
I think we should actually flip, you know, flip the perspective and on its side and say,
okay, well let's do it this way. If Duolingo, uh, can help you, for example,
get engaged a little bit, you can use it maybe in the beginning, um, for five minutes to get
into the session, your language learning session. Luca: But then again, call me old fashioned but I
believe that fundamentally language learning happens first subconsciously and then when
we right understand messages and when we engage in stuff that is interesting and content rich.
And by content rich, I mean, uh, people talking for example, um, in a podcast. That is great.
Luca: That is one of the things I recommend. It's one simple rule. Listen to people engaging
in conversations. This is how I learned Chinese. I was on LingQ and these guys
were talking about super interesting stuff. The earthquake, uh, in, that happened in, uh,
I don't remember ...super interesting stuff. Luca: So I was thinking, yeah, this is what I
want to do. It is like engaging with people talking instead of playing with flashcards
or playing, toying with Duolingo and everything else. So again, if you,
if I agree, people listening to us want to use flashcards because they got this dopamine shot,
they want to Duolingo, that's fine. Luca: But that would be, that should be ten, five
percent of the time that you spend, uh, every day on language learning. This is my take of course,