Polyglot? SwiftKey now employs neural network tech to keep up with you

Andrea De Martin/123RF
Following what appears to be a successful beta test released last month, SwiftKey has rolled out a large upgrade to its app by launching a number of new features that allow the predictive keyboard to speak in multiple languages. So now, whether you’re texting in French, German, Spanish, or English, you can rely on SwiftKey to finish your sentences.

It’s all thanks to SwiftKey’s use of neural networks, which attempt to replicate the workings of  a human brain … in a machine. “Rather than using a digital model of ones and zeros, neural networks create connections and are effective for predicting events in a large database,” explained parent company Microsoft.

The application of neural networks was first touted back in September when SwiftKey launched its beta. Back on September 15, the popular texting app wrote in a blog post, “We’ve rebuilt SwiftKey’s language engine from the ground up using the power of neural network technology — the first instance of neural networks being used locally on a smartphone. This gives you more accurate and useful next-word predictions, saving you time and (hopefully) adding a little fun to your typing.”

Moreover, the latest update now also allows users to engage in multilingual typing in up to five languages on SwiftKey for Android. Now, polyglots can “switch seamlessly between Swedish, Serbian, French, English and Azerbaijani,” if they’re so inclined.

“We envision that this powerful technology will fundamentally change the way we type on smartphones over the next five years,” a SwiftKey spokesman said. “Rather than solely predicting your next word, we’re working hard on building a framework for the keyboard of tomorrow. It’s just possible that using this approach the keyboard of the future could know you so well, it’d accurately predict your entire messages for you, in your tone of voice, reflecting the events that go on in your daily life.”

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