Meet your new language tutors: the Duolingo Bots
I’m really excited to announce the future of Duolingo and of language-learning in general: Bots!
Being able to have fluent conversations in a new language is an important learning goal. For some people, it is the goal. And yet, it’s really hard to practice this. Most of us hate sounding stupid in front of others so we avoid speaking in a new language. When I visit Brazil, I always feel shy and awkward when trying to speak Portuguese (even though I think my vocabulary is pretty good!).
And I’m one of the lucky ones. Besides producing anxiety, language conversation is a luxury most people don’t have access to. Even in the language classrooms of good schools, students usually sit silently while their teachers lecture. Speaking practice ends up being limited to those who are rich enough to travel abroad or hire personal tutors.
The Duolingo Bots are here to change that. Powered by artificial intelligence, Bots will help extroverts and introverts, rich and poor, prepare for real-world, meaningful conversations.
Thanks to your support, we’ve grown tremendously in just a few short years. But, even now, we’re just as committed to innovation as when we were a 3-person team just starting out in a cramped, Carnegie Mellon University lab.
As you guys know, our team has used machine learning to make lessons personalized since the very beginning, but I believe that these Bots will take conversational practice to another level. Unlike most chatbots so far, Duolingo Bots understand and react to thousands of unique responses. The more you interact with them, the smarter they become.
I’m excited because I believe Duolingo Bots are the most advanced way to learn a language.
Bots are available in the latest version of the Duolingo iPhone app for users learning French, Spanish, and German. Other languages are coming soon, and so are other platforms.
I hope they are coming to web soon! If so, it'd be worth the wait. When I head the chats announced, I had assumed they were coming to web, and was kinda disappointed when I found out it was IOS only. . . Oh well, I guess I'll just wait for chatbots to come to web along with TinyCards, and the characters: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/10334502 (Its been a year since they announced that. . . I hope we don't have to wait that long for chatbots or tinycards!).
Yes, I know! I literally stayed up past midnight waiting for it to update. It never did, so I went to bed, thinking it would be on in the morning (LOL I actually had dreams about using the chatbot last night). I got up REALLY early (Keep in mind I was already up late), only to find that it wasn't for web. Now, I've been like a zombie all day, and have been barely able think or function (All thanks to me getting overexcited about a duolingo feature that I don't even have access to!).
In your last post you talk about keeping things free and open to as many people as possible yet every new feature is added exclusively to the most expensive platform. Maybe you should spend time developing a Mission for your company and finding ways you can actually achieve it.
I agree. In fact I thought they might bury the bad news with the release of the chatbot, but it is still here. However, this user was making a specific claim, I think without a source.
Perhaps they need to see out their CNN contract?
Or perhaps they are keeping their options open?
I don't know. But neither does this user.
Bots are amazing! Just gave it a short half-a-chat go for German and it seems great! However, as an intermediate learner of German going back to the basic chat, I find it frustrating that there are some words that aren't accepted, like when it came up with the sentence "Was isst Robert?" I went and replied "Robert isst Pizza" but wanted to add another sentence - "Mag Robert seine Pizza?" but the word "mag" was not accepted. Maybe it'd just be too hard to accept all possible responses, but it feels just a bit too structured and doesn't let us practice a wide range of sentence structures/vocab/grammar ideas etc.
Sorry if I sound like I'm ranting! I do love the feature on the whole :)
Well, after a first try, bots are not that amazing. They are certainly a great idea. Maybe too good to be true. My experience is quite the same as yours: I missed a way to skip forward. The chats may be good for absolute beginners. But at an intermediate level everything is far too limited. In a French chat I tried to add "n'est-ce pas" (isn't it) and it was refused. That is a common figure of speech! Trying around with other possibilities felt like everything except the expected straight answers to the simple questions is not understood. I agree that the possible answers are far too restricted. Let's hope for improvements, but with the promises given at the introduction of the bots, I am quite disappointed. Sorry!
Tiny cards for iPhone, Bots for iPhone... Poor people around the world don't have iPhones! Android phones are much more available for poor people. So why don't you make Android versions of your software for everyone around the World, but only for the rich northern american iPhone users? That's very strange issue...
Looking forward to being able to use this, but is it really coming soon for other platforms/languages or "coming soon" like the character illustrations the iOS app got over a year ago and were promised to be coming soon for the web app and Android and for more languages and which we are still waiting for?
This is the second new app to not have an android launch beside it. The last app, the tinecards, at least it's website says an andoid app is coming. However, this one didn't even say that. I understand sometimes that developers are better with one ecosystem than another, but other app developers release both side-by-side or within a week of each other.
But he hasn't provided "us" with the wonderful free chatbots, he has only provided them to those who are rich enough to own an iPhone, the same people who are most likely to be able to afford to travel or to pay for teaching services which include speaking practice.
What happened to making language learning accessible to all, particularly those who have the least money and the greatest need?
There's a certain gap that's difficult to mend, especially when your main audience must have internet access. For example, some people who are finding it difficult to make ends meet could still use Duolingo by, say, going to a public library. But if you're talking about people living in slum-like areas, I think those people have higher priorities to deal with.
Granted, there are ways they could attempt to bridge those gaps in ways that don't involve internet, but actual classes. However, Duolingo would likely have to become a for-profit organization in order to make them happen and maintain them. Or they could finally add that dadgum Donate button.
I saw both your replies at the same time, so yes, I was referring to their practice of always rolling out the useful innovations on iPhone months if not years before the more widespread and cheaper options of pc (accessible, as you say, via public libraries) and android.
I do however, agree with you wholeheartedly that the very poorest people in the world remain disadvantaged whatever the platform and that they themselves have far greater problems to contend with than the availability or otherwise of chatbots.
It would seem that we are in agreement on all points. :-))
I can only agree with your sentiments. Although, at one point they used to bring things to the website first - and they still only release Beta languages to the website first.
However, I suspect they (still) don't have a huge development team and either need to develop for platforms sequentially, or (as I've mentioned elsewhere) it is simply that iOS is more straightforward to develop for and thus quicker. They probably wish to see how new features pan-out and so don't wait until all versions/devices are ready before releasing. A benefit is that the Android version might be better than the iOS version once it is released, since they can learn from things they need to improve. In the case of the chat Bots, being supposedly AI-based, the delay should mean the conversations and permitted responses should improve. I know that isn't much comfort for anyone keen to use a new feature.
It also means that something goes badly wrong or is widely disliked for some reason, they only upset (for the most part) one group of users and not everyone. Also rolling out in stages means that they can be sure the servers can handle the load. Don't forget the devices are only part of new features, many things will require back-end changes as well.
I'm purely speculating, of course. What could be improved is that they could be a little more forthcoming about plans and timescales (they were happy to brief the Guardian (UK newspaper) after all, and the accuracy of their announcements.
One other factor to bear in mind about the cheaper Android phones is that they are often (very) more limited as regards memory; both RAM and app data storage. Sometimes these restrictions are artificial in order not reduce demand for more expensive models in a range. They want to encourage you to buy or upgrade to the more expensive models. Some models restrict, or won't allow moving of app data to SD cards, meaning some apps won't even install. This can make designing apps to work optimally across different Android phones across different ranges from different manufacturers very difficult, or even mean an app won't run on the more basic models. It isn't practical to test an app with every possible combination.
iOS devices don't provide SD card storage, but do generally come with larger storage memory. They generally use better components such as more reliable and responsive glass capacitance touch-screens, whereas the cheaper Android phones use plastic and/or resistance based touch-screens.
All these factors add to the costs and generally make iOS devices more expensive, but there is no denying there is a 'brand' mark-up as well. Mind you, not all Android phones are cheap. A Samsung Galaxy Note 7 may literally 'burn a hole in your pocket‘. ;-)
With my fifth chat in French, I encountered a very officious but sadly ignorant passport/customs official who insisted I needed a visa! No matter how hard I tried to explain that as a citizen of The European Union I didn't need one, he wouldn't accept it! ;-) When I told him I didn't have one, he said it was very serious and simply kept insisting I looked until I found it.
I suspect he was actually American and thus had no idea of geography. When I tried to say I came from Le Royume-Uni, he insisted I meant Lesoto! When I tried Le Grande-Bretagne, he still insisted on Lesoto! I tried Royume-Uni and was told I meant Romanie. Tried l'Angleterre, nothing doing. Tried Angleterre but was told he only knew of Angola. Finally he accepted Grande-Bretagne, but still insisted upon a visa. Brexit hasn't happened, yet!
Anyone have the number of Le Cour de justice de l'Union européenne?
He also refused polite forms of address, not allowing me to add monsieur to the end of sentences.
I also did that one and it came up with all sorts of countries, like Laos, until it finally accepted 'Allemagne'. When I declined to have my picture taken, a mean looking 'agent' with sunglasses appeared to take me away. Lesson learned: Don't mess with French customs officers.
The bots are a fantastic idea, but I'm going to have to put in a massive complaint about how you've actually implemented it in the iOS app.
Firstly, it hasn't been tested properly with non-stock keyboards. For example, if you're using SwiftKey the input field gets hidden behind the keyboard, which makes it unusable until you switch keyboard.
Secondly, the way the input method has been overridden makes it impossible to correct errors introduced by the input method because it's not a real text field, just something that's pretending to be one. For example, I wanted to type "¿Qué haces?" earlier, and the input mechanism kept changing it to "¿que haces?" which is incorrect. It also inserts spaces before punctuation, which is really annoying, especially if you're trying to always type things correctly including all the accents, etc.
Lastly, the "Not an accepted word" error needs to die. Just remove it. For example, your second bot on the Spanish course asked me "¿Me puedes ayudar, por favor?" to which I wanted to reply "Vale, ¿cómo puedo ayudarte?", except it won't even let me type "cómo". I can't think of a single response which isn't just "Sí" or "Vale" which doesn't include either "cómo" or "qué", so I'm very surprised that it's not accepted.
All in all, it's a good start, but it needs some serious work to make it usable. Perhaps a "Report error" button in a similar style to that which exists on the standard practice screens, allowing you to suggest valid responses?
I think the issue is that if they're coding this, they can't actually accommodate all possible answers that somebody could give and verify that those answers are correct. I was wondering how they were going to handle that, but it seems "not an accepted word" is the route they took. Basically, if the answer you're about to give isn't in their (albeit very large) list of responses, you're not even allowed to type it.
Not accepting certain answers has put me off this quite quickly, otherwise it would be great. But i try several perfectly good answers and it won't accept them ... I give up and use the "help me answer" function because i've no idea what they are looking for, despite my answers being perfectly fine! Frustrating.
This morning the Duolingo app updated to version 5.0.0 on both my iPhone 6 iPad Pro 9.7. I read the update description about the new Bots feature, which sounded intriguing. Previously, I had completed the German tree, and I keep it "golden" by performing repeated 'Practice' sessions daily. Since Bots was stated to be available for German, I wanted to try it out. First on the iPad (which I use most often for my Duolingo lessons) -- nothing -- the app currently functions the same as before. Then on the iPhone -- ahh, a change! -- a new icon is displayed at the bottom of the screen along with the other three old timers... I tried out the new feature and do like it a lot. I hope it will be enabled on the iPad ASAP and also on the website (which would be useful for people not having access to iOS devices)...
Are you planning to make an online [web] version? We currently don't have any Apple products [iPhone, iPad, ect;] and I'd love to try this out [I don't get much practice with friends :( ]
87% of people in the world (and about 65% of people in America, where Duolingo is based) own Android phones. By limiting this to Apple, you are limiting this fantastic free tool to a small percentage of people. And probably the people who need it least, as Apple only makes expensive phones for rich people (who can afford paid language learning), whereas there are much cheaper Android phones.
I am extremely disappointed in this move by Duolingo. The company's mission is supposed to be to make language learning free and accessible to a huge group of people. Instead, this is focusing on the small percentage of people in the world who can afford (or even want to use) the world's most expensive mobile platform.
Also, a web version would be much better for conversations, as typing is much more natural on a computer. Not only that, but it would be available then to people who can't afford a mobile device, but might be able to go to a library to use a computer.
Everything about your approach to the dissemination of these bots is antithetical to your company mission. I am very disappointed in this, and hope that you rectify it very quickly.
Just before I gave you a Lingot on that I got the dialog box asking me "are you sure you love this comment so much that you want to give away a Lingot"? Let me put it this way; I don't think I have read any comment, in any group, that I feel more entirely in agreement with than this one. Every nail, hit squarely on the head.
I spent 2 lingots but you deserved yours back, as you started the energy exchange.
You know the communication of the entities is more important than the entities themselves. Think how relevant are the strings the body of a guitar without the vibrations/exchange that can create a beautiful music/message.
Now - to accelerate the vibrations. If Esperanto is the easiest to create according to Google Translate, why not create Esperanto chatbot that can aid the most energetic Egalitarian learners (that focus on the main purpose of an effective communication language)?http://googletranslate.blogspot.com/2012/02/tutmonda-helplingvo-por-ciuj-homoj.html
Native languages usually have their concentrated areas. I expect that Esperanto would be native to ChatBots as the most effective communication language. Trying to teach them more difficult languages reduces their Self Esteem - we want stronger companions.
Are the Duolingo Bots gonna be a feature to Duolingo?? Or will they be part of the language trees?
Can't wait for the Android version!
Thx for the official announcement!
Could this sticky message be (translated and) posted(*) in all other "main" forums (=of all languages)? And not only on the English forum.
I imagine the entire community would like to have such important news. ;) And even in the case that it's only available to English speakers (at the moment?): non English speaker users would be happy to be informed too.
Thx by advance!
(*) in a sticky way on each general forum.
At this point it is very clear that non i-phone users really want the Bots on other mobil devices and everyone seems to want them on laptops. So, could we start a new discussion thread on how to use the Bots and issues that we find when using the Bots. That should help Duo improve them faster and make versions for other devices even better when they are rolled out.
Why Duolingo do not priorize Android users?
I live in Brazil, an emergent country, and in my country only 3% of the users use iPhones because it's very expensive and we don't have much brazilian apps to the iOS plataform. Only rich country populations (like USA and Japan) use Iphone, the rest of the world uses Android!
Duolingo, please, don't forget the Latin America, the Africa, the East Europe and the Asia users! We don't have much money to buy an iPhone!
I tried the feature and it's very good but when I heard that it was an A.I. I expected something like Siri or Google Assistant which you can talk to freely. This is somewhat restricted and it doesn't allow you to write something other than the already defined phrases. Actually this is better in terms of learning since it guides you very well during the chat so you don't waste time by writing something irrelevant. It also says the A.I. gets smarter as you talk to it more, so I wonder how it is possible since it doesn't allow you to write something different than what you are given. Sometimes it asks what my favourite color is or if I have a pet. Is it the only way the A.I. gets improved? And will there be any change about how the A.I. works in the future?
Edit: I just found this article and it gives answers to all my questions above https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/06/duolingo-chatbots-learning-language
I have an I-phone and immediately started trying the Bot. Here are some initial reactions, in no particular order order of importance: 1) Great concept. There is a lot more that can be done with Bots over time. 2) The present Bots give you initial conversations. Sort of ice breakers so that you might feel a bit more comfortable early in the conversation. 3) If you are well into the Duo Tree, you can rack up XPs a lot faster with Bots than with lessons or the regular practice session. You get no XPs for a minimal response (like responding with Hola to Hola from the little Bot person), 1XP for a good answer and 2XPs for a great answer. 4) Unfortunately, you don't get to see what the Bot would consider great answers, unless you ask for help with your response. To work around this, you can run through a Bot conversation doing the best you can without asking for help, and then repeat it, clicking on "help" to see what Duo has as acceptable responses. It is pretty clear which responses are better. You wont get any XPs when you ask for help but you might expand the variety in your speaking (and understanding). 5) The Bot speaks to you and gives you text. Unfortunately it only takes typed responses from you. Hopefully a voice recognition capability will become available soon. It is one thing to intellectually know what to say and another to actually get it out of your mouth. 5) There are a limited number of Bots. I completed all that I could find in the first two days. 6) Like other aspects of Duo, the Bots want you to stay fairly close to the prompts from the little people you are communicating with. If you get a little too elaborate in your response, you get a "word not accepted" message. On the other hand if you have typed in a response that the Bot will accept, the "Send" button will be highlighted (In that case you will see whether you got zero, one or two XPs for your response. 7) The present Bot conversations are pretty basic but much better than what you see in phrase books because the Bots put things in context. 8) It would great if Duo could adapt the Bot conversations to your level, or your fluency or how far you have progressed on the tree. For now, you are not going to get much practice with things like verb tenses, or compound sentences (pero or y rarely work). Bots do use and accept pronouns connected to verbs. 8) The Bots are somewhat addictive. Expect to spend a fair amount of time when you start on them.
Overall, this approach has huge potential in building confidence so that we are more comfortable starting conversations with native speakers. I agree with all the comments on getting the Bots on laptops and other systems as soon as possible.
This has come at a good time for me - I only started learning french through a podcast 5 days ago, and this is only my third day on Duolingo (and first discovery there is a website!) but the bot's are amazing!
I think maybe it's on app first because of how it works. At first I was a little frustrated that it wouldn't let me expand my question too much, or, answer then ask a question in reply, like a normal conversation; it has a finite list of acceptable answers for each bot question in the conversation.
Having used it for a couple of days though, it's very good for noobs like me because whilst it doesn't let you reply whatever you want, it does force you to get out of your comfort zone a bit. One thing you can do is see the words it knows if you get stuck or if you want to expand your answer, that's been great for my early days vocab!
Thanks Duolingo - excellent feature!
Not that I'm defending it, but apps are sort of the cutting edge thing. It's the new frontier. You can access websites from mobile devices but apps are almost uniquely mobile. My guess would be that they're going suuuuuper hard in the paint to appeal to the casual mobile user. Maybe an effective business model on paper but it doesn't seem very logical or efficient in practice. I get the feeling that web versions of things like this will soon become obsolete and just not done, unfortunately. Even Windows 10 allows you to use apps on a PC.
But I agree that a web version first would have made more sense. I, not having a mobile device, certainly would have appreciated it.
Mobile Apps are not cutting edge, they are a retread of an old concept before computers were networked or barely networked. A web browser represented a major step forward in that a user only needed one application installed on their computer (the browser) and it could access all of the internet's resources.
iOS and Android apps represent a step BACKWARDS because now you are tied to a specific piece of software to access a particular internet resource. Mobile apps represent a walled-garden, a limitation that a company will place on how their resource is accessed. "You do it our way, or you don't get it."
No, mobile apps are about as cutting edge as someone that still runs DOS and WordPerfect.
Agreed. It's even worse that this was first made as an IOS app, something that seems to be driven (and not just at DL) by the thought process of "oh it's Apple, it must be cool". But the reality is that Apple has about a 17% market share in mobiles, Android has about an 80% share. So for every 1 DL user who can access this, 4 can't, and that's not even counting those who don't have Smart Phones in the first place. Had it been made a "Web First" development then 100% of DL users would have access to it from the start. There are reasons for developing apps (you have more control over what they can do) but they should always be as an "extra bells and whistles" option built onto a web offering.
Because if you looked at the stats you would know that the majority of users either learn languages on their handheld devices (iOS/Android) or prefer to rather than on the web. It mostly has to do with convenience in that people can open the app anytime on their phone whenever they get 5-10 mins of free time in the day such as while commuting.
I know about the stats, but everyone can access the web version, even people on mobile (mobile web version), whereas now Android users as well as desktop web users are left out.
But I also understand that they might want to limit the amount of people that have access to it while they still are fine tuning it, since it's a new feature. It's just frustrating to always feel left out because we didn't want to buy one specific brand of device.
@1Milano: Swift is currently an Apple-only programming language. Both Swift and Objective-C were created by and proprietry to Apple. Java was created a couple of decades ago and simply adopted by Google. Although, there are rumours that since it has now been made Open Source, Google is considering supporting Swift (V3) for use for Android. This would in theory make it easier for developers to develop for both platforms. But only up to a point, since the APIs and whole way the interfaces work are very different in both concept and implementation. So only non-interface logic could maintain a common code-base. So in cases where most of an app revolves around the interface, visual and audible, it doesn't necessarily gain very much.
So your comment is correct only in the sense that they would code for iOS in Swift. Given that (I think) the Duolingo App existed prior to Swift, much/most of Duolingo would have been written in Objective-C and probably still is. Unless they decided to rewrite everything in Swift - which would have been a major effort and require an overwhelming reason for doing so. However, the earlier versions of Swift were buggy/problematic, and each version has changed syntax and implementation, so I doubt they would have committed to Swift before version 2.2.
Another factor is that there is no common IDE (Integrated Development Environment), the editor used to code and build applications, that can easily be used to develop for both. Even though one can bend, for example Xcode to also be used to write and build Java all aspects that revolve around the interface are only geared to the concept used by iOS/OS X. Additionally, Xcode only runs on OS X (without considerable persuasion and effort on an emulator). Cross-compliers can be used, but that still leaves the interface difficulties. Even if one pulls all this off, there will always be bizarre little anomalies where things don't work as they should. Plus Apple is very strict about what code and APIs are used in apps sibmitted to the App Store. So it is very much safer to use the most appropriate tool for the targetted platform.
Earlier versions of Xcode used to support Java (Cocoa-Java/Swing) but that wouldn't really help with the Android GUI.
Even if Google were to adopt/support Swift, it would be unlikely before Swift V3 has been finalised/standardised, and even then it would sit alongside Java much as Swift can sit alongside and be inter-operable (to some extent) with Objective-C).
Even with Swift V3 if it were adopted/supported by Google the difference in interface concept with still make things very difficult to maintain a common code-base. It isn't simply a case of calling different APIs, the whole concept is fundamentally different. Cars and ships both have a steering system, but they work rather differently.
Every app and update has to start somewhere, so they might choose to begin with iOS since that is by far the simplest and most consistent interface and OS with fewer devices with different characteristics to be concerned with. Plus, because Android is open, manufacturers can modify the OS in any way they wish which makes things even more complicated. So it makes perfect sense for them to get things working as they wish first on iOS, learn from mistakes or things they might do better, and only once things are settled and established begin the mammoth task of creating or updating an Android version based upon the now finalised design.
Even the concepts of Java and Swift/Objective-C are different. Loosely-speaking, Java runs in a bubble isolated from the OS, whereas Objective-C/Swift are more conventional and interact (more) directly with their OS. The reality is a lot more complex than that, but that is the concept. One of the main design concepts of Java was to make it a universal language that (due to its abstraction) could run on any operating system, that possessed the Java Virtual Machine environment. C was also intended to be machine-independent but in a different way and more direct way at the source code level, by use of different libraries on different OSs. Objective-C is an extenstion/superset of C. Whereas, Swift is, in essence, a separate language in its own right.
Finally, OS X is unix-based, or arguably perhaps more correctly, unix-like. iOS is not (really). OS X is the direct descendent of NeXTSTEP, which like WindowsNT was greatly inspired and influenced by DEC's Vax/VMS OS - very un-unix like (at least at the time) - and was the first time both became anything like a true operating system. OS X does use a unix command shell, but that reveals nothing of the underlying OS. Nevertheless, the kernel is unix-based and POSIX-compliant.
That is both the strength and weakness of the phones brands. Iphones have a much smaller number of variants compared with android. This tends to make it easier, when rolling out features to target a smaller number of devices initially, to trouble shoot the issue that will invariably come up in the course of use by the masses.
While 'android' is a nice unifying term, and my preferred platform personally, the devices themselves, and by extension their specifications, are as varied as the consumer's reasons for purchasing them.
This is much reminiscent of the PC/Console games market, where it is easy to develop for consoles, (one set of hardware specs, guaranteed standard of performance etc) vs the trouble of developing for PC (varied hardware, OS, drivers etc.)
Is that indeed true? I don't well understand this preference for the app. I don't much like it because you don't just get a keyboard to type on (I don't mean a physical keyboard, just a proper keyboard as you get it also on a smartphone with all keys on it), and instead just a number of letters, most if not all of which are necessary for whatever word or phrase you are typing. That's probably just me, though.
I am going to take a guess that it may be more difficult to develop a web version. What I have seen playing around with the chat bots on iOS is that the bots take take advantage a lot of auto-completion and predictive typing. And, I imagine that a lot of that predictive capability is already baked into the operating system.
Interesting, indeed. I don't have any system that uses iOS, so let me just ask you: how do the bots take advantages of auto-completion and predictive typing? Is the conversation not in turns, with the bots speaking only after the user sent some text? That's what I would have expected.
Basically, you start typing a word, and the system tries to figure out what the word is before you finish typing the word. So, for example, the bot may say "What toppings do you want on your pizza?" I start typing, "I want m-u-s-h...", and the bot anticipates that you are trying to type "mushrooms" and auto-completes it for you. It's not going to let you type "mushroms" or "mushroooms."
The result is that it is difficult to make routine typos and to miss accent marks and so forth when you are chatting with a bot. I imagine that not having to worry about typos cuts down on the number of alternatives that the bot has to consider.
Yes, you still have to send text back to the bot, but the bot places restrictions on what you are allowed to send. Sometimes, it can be overly restrictive --- at least at the moment. I have read, though, that the bots remember the answers that they don't accept, and they can learn to accept a wider range of answers over time.
I see. Well, perhaps (hopefully) they can simply forego that feature for an eventual web version, but then again, if they included it to begin with, they probably have a reason, such as—like you said—to limit the options the bot has to consider. Another reason might be that if the bot indeed learns from user input, as we were told, then it wouldn't be good if it learned all sorts of typos from careless users. Thanks for your reply.
The duolingo people try things out on the IOS version, but shouldn't they do it online where they have more users? Or do they really have more IOS users. Maybe they release it for IOS because if something then goes wrong it effects less players. Well, I don't care if I get my data wiped, I JUST CAN'T WAIT FOR BOTS!!!!! P.S. Please?
87% of smart phones in the world are Android phones (largely because they make cheap options). By limiting this to Apple, Duolingo has made it clear they're only interested in providing this feature to the world's richest people, who can afford the most expensive phones (and could probably afford paid language learning). This seems contrary to Duolingo's entire mission statement, and is extremely disappointing.
cf all those internet money systems that rely on massive university and corporate computers to generate the currency…
However, in this case I think it's more that Duolingo is largely done by volunteers, and it just happens that iOS coders are more likely to be learning languages themselves. If you know any Android coders, drag 'em in, and with any luck they'll drag in their friends.
I have no idea if iOS coders are more likely to be language learners than Android coders but I do know a tiny bit about developing apps (just a layperson though).
As I understand things it's generally easier to code something for an iOS app than for an Android app. The huge range of devices using Android actually works against us here - because it's significantly harder for app developers to ensure their app works across the range (compared to developing for iOS). I agree it's annoying though - I would love some of the iOS apps that are not available for Android but I'm not willing to switch to Apple.
Honestly, many companies and organizations develop apps first for iOS, and sometimes never for Android. I think this is usually because of:
1) A cursory, false assumption that the majority of people have iPhones (statistically completely incorrect... but believe me, rich people who run these things all have warped views on this. Hint: if everyone you know owns only Apple products, you are very rich)
2) Because iPhone users by definition are richer, and may have more disposable income. Maybe Duolingo chose iPhone users to get all these app items first because they think they're more likely to spend the money to get the premium version and get rid of adds.
Whatever the reasoning, I stand by my statement: this is completely contrary to Duolingo's mission statement of providing language learning to ALL. I have friends all over the world, and only rich people in rich countries have iPhones. In other words, not the main group Duolingo claims to want to serve at all.
If I find some, I definitely will. With the popularity of Duolingo, I'm sure there is some coder out there that would be happy to help out. I would love to see some kind of source that backs up the idea that iOS coders are more likely to be language learners if you have one? Not trying to pick a fight. I am honestly interested.
At least we are still getting languages on non-apple servers and the web, even if we are being left "in the dust" on all of the other features.
Do you ever think it will be possible to have more freely developing conversations. Like lets say the bot says "What's your favorite season?" and you want to say "Fall because I love the leaves," but Duolingo only allow you to say "fall" and no more. Will it be possible for the bot to respond to thought provoking conversation, maybe like Cleverbot.
Also, could it be possible in the future to maybe have the Duolingo conversations, yet with other humans and you can have conversations with each other. You could earn XP from every 5 words you use in a desired target language, and people from the same level will be matched together. Also to keep things appropriate, people can report things such as people giving away personal information or using inappropriate language. I think this would provide the most candid practice for any language.
I've completed all of the currently available conversations with the Spanish bots and I have to say, Luis, that I'm extremely disappointed with the final conversation with the corrupt airport security officer. We're left just standing there while he admits he's confiscating items because it's his wife's birthday and so on! With no opportunity to at least tell him he's a jerk.
Maybe it was intended to be funny, but it just makes me angry.
There's also an error early on in the conversation. My first time going through the conversation, I repeatedly said I didn't want to help him with checking passengers until he finally told me, "It's your job." Um, what? I thought I was a tourist...
Other than that, I think the bots feature is a great, fun addition and can't wait to see how it improves.
I call it "Caro Diario" (that is Italian for Dear Diary). I use a word document and turn on track changes function. I write a few of my day's activities. such has "Today is Thursday and it is raining. I went for a 1.5 miles walk with my dog". My italian vocab is little since I am new, so my journal (or Dear Diary) entries are simplistic, but I figured it is a good practice lesson. I will send my journal (or "Dear Diary) to my Italian teacher and have her correct my grammar. But it would be great if I could send my diary to the Duolingo bot (when they have the Italian bot available), and have the bot correct my grammar.
This is not just about extroverts and introverts, rich and poor... Bots will be an extremely important learning means to those interested in more - so to say - exotic or less universal languages. Lots of English, German and Spanish people around to speak and train your language skills with with, but what about Turkish, Romanian, Esperanto and similar?
That sounds really good, I hope the Android version is comming soon :)
OH MY GOSH! This is totally what I've been needing! I don't have many chances to use my German anyway, and when/if I do, I'm so nervous! This seems like it will be AMAZING! I don't have any apple devices though, so I'll keep waiting for the Android &/or PC version (along with TinyCards) :P -JCal
As for Esperanto, are you aware of the Telegram community? It's quite large, with the biggest group having currently 1025 members, and very active as well. Link
There's also several other groups, such as a Voĉmesaĝejo—where you can speak by sending voice messages, so it's not just chatting—and many others.
Okay; so after the annoying scripting craze of a few months ago, it would now appear that the same, or similarly-minded, people are now running scripts to repeatedly down-vote posts within the discussions!
It would appear that they 'cut their teeth' by first running scripts to create new discussions with nonsense text or variations of 'hi', 'hello', 'hola' etc. You're not impressing anyone guys!
Some people have different learning stratagies, and some learn differnly. Some may be visual, some may be hearing, and some may have to do the work to actually learn something. So it is nice for all three learning styles to be able to get this app and talk to a bot. Yes, it has its disadvantages, but it has its advantages to! Embrace those instead of the others.
It would be really nice to know what you mean by "soon". Tiny cards for iOS has been around for long. I used the bots on my iPad. They are awesome! addictive! and have a lot more teaching value!! We have to have them for the Andriod. Not having them for Android means you are being completely unfair to the 2/3 of your users. You could argue that Andriod platform is fragmented (I dont think so, but the argument could be valid), what about the web-version. That should not be a problem. Not having bots for any other platform is just wrong!!
I agree with you on the iOS version is easy to deploy. But I do not agree on "free to buy or borrow" point. This is free program. That is true. It is upto them to treat all users as equal. I maintain that if you are going to make something free for everyone, then there should be no "walled garden" that restricts you from doing something because you cannot afford some expensive piece of technology. I am pretty sure it is not more difficult to deploy for web than to deploy for iOS.
So I think this is a really great idea, and I really appreciate all the features Duolingo offers for us users for free. But still, I am kinda disappointed that iPhone version of Duolingo seems so privileged. They have got the bots and tinycards, while Android and the web version do not have both features. And I just wonder why? Cos only the minority of users, do use Apple? But the web version, for example, is accessible to everyone. So why not publish it first for the web version? I just don't get it, but this comment is not meant to disregard all the great features Duolingo offers for free.
I am very happy that I have used the new "bots". They are quite interesting and beneficial. Where else can I get personalized German language practice like this? Nowhere else. -- I used the bots on my iPod. (The iPod is an iPhone without telephone service.) However, I carry an Android phone with me everywhere, so I do hope that Duolingo introduces bots for Android soon.
sounds fantastic! and web and android versions... and web and android versions of tiny cards. i can't believe i have stuck with this daily for almost six months. sometimes i do get bored and don't want to practice, though. new formats of learning sound very exciting.
The "New Chat" option seems to have disappeared for me. Did I run out of Bots to chat with?
Also, a Chat Bot sent me a picture of himself in the shower and I did not feel that the pre-programmed answers were sufficient to communicate my surprise. If you're going to throw us a Nude Bot, at least throw us a little mon dieu to react appropriately!
I have now learned Spanish with the bots for a week and it is so much fun! Great job! But a few wishes: - please let me copy the whole dialogue (at the end)! I don't need the pictures, just the text. It would help so much, if I could just copy it to e.g. an email or something to read again later!
And of course: - please make this available for the web version! - please make this available from other (teaching) languages!
I have been using the Bots extensively. It is certainly the most advanced mode of learning, but with one caveat. It is necessary to have a better than the rudimentary understanding of the language.
Initially, I was very hesitant to try working with the Bots. However, as my vocabulary improved, so did my performance. Consequently, success can be immediate and reinforce positive learning behavior.
Now, I wait patiently for the next Bot adventures. Only had problems with one, but that appeared to be a software error because it was rectified the following day.
As an educator with 36 years of classroom experience, I HIGHLY recommend using the Bots. However, if language skills are not advanced enough, expect some frustration.
Thus, if the user becomes frustrated, then stick to the lessons and make some advancement. THEN, try the Bots again. Also, once a Bot is completed, the user can work with it again, attempting to improve scores.
Whoever is writing the Bots is brilliant and I want to see many more in the future.
Believe it or not, I get the fact that iPhone is a very popular platform, but come on. Android is in use on far more phones and those of us that don't want (or can't afford) the Apple platform are really being cheated by these new innovations that you're only putting out for that platform. Please Please PLEASE consider releasing first on Android then on iPhone.
It seems most of you have phones that do a little bit of everything. Since my phone has none of those features and since I couldn't read them if they did, I want these apps for my nice big screen computer where I can read and hear better. I don't even have messaging on my phone and don't intend to get it.
The conversation 'Getting Around' is a little frustrating. It currently rejects many of the most correct words and phrases in answers.
More generally, I'm not sure how the 'AI'/Neural Network can learn if (words within) phrases cannot be typed because preceding words needed to construct the sentence are rejected and so the later words cannot be entered, so that makes conversations a bit artificial. Also, many of the answers seem to reject pronouns and instead require explicit repetition of parts of the question. Yet in other questions if strongly resists repeating from the question.
Another annoyance, is when it appears to reject everything sensible, so one has no option but to tap 'Help me reply' to see exactly where it wants to head, it suggests an answer, which if you choose it, then states, 'A better answer would be...‘!
In common with the other conversations, it won't accept 'autobus' for a bus.
It really does still require a 'report a problem' feature.
Oh I would love this. I am living in Mexico and it is sooooooo difficult to get people to talk to you in Spanish because the whole world wants a native English speaker to speak English with, even if they only know one word or even no words of English!!! I have resorted to telling people (in Spanish ) that I am German and do not speak English. Fortunately I am far enough along and have gathered some confidence in speaking Spanish that I can pull this off. I do have an Android though that works on wifi down here in Mexico so I too am eagerly awaiting the Duolingo Android App for the Duolingo Bots!!!!! Please be soon!!! Great idea!!! Especially for native English speakers who I feel are under tremendous pressure from almost the entire world that wants to learn English. I am no expert but I don't know if there is anywhere a native English person can go to learn another language without being ACCOSTED by someone who is a non- native English speaker who wants to learn English. This happened to us in China learning Mandarin and now here in Mexico. End of rant.
I just found this today for the French learning on my iPhone. Love it!!!! So very pleased with what I have tried so far.
And I realized in the first conversation, I fully understood what they were saying quickly and what the program was asking for my response.
Admittedly French is very easy to learn, of all the languages I have been studying through Duolingo.
Can't wait! I know it will be far down the line, for the Irish, Welsh and Hebrew. Especially the Irish. But so happy with Duolingo program.
Bravo Zulu all at the Duolingo team
Well it didn't last really long. I used the bots since they appeared and by now there are no new conversations appearing. It was not completely an "open word" of answers but it was a fun twist to a daily activity that I've been doing for a long time. The 20 conversations to learn German from English were fairly simple but it certainly feels restricted in some of them. The one about clothing and the painting were the ones where you could experiment the most.
I could expect more conversations in the future but for now it doesn't seem possible.
Thanks Duolingo, it is great to practice with you.
To fellow iPad owners/users who, like me, have been awaiting the arrival of Bots on their favoured device; an update is now in the App Store which finally includes this functionality. Yippee!!! :-)
Apologies to Android owners/users. I'm sure all iOS device owners hope Bots arrive for your favoured devices soon.
That sounds wonderful! Thank you!!!!!
A question for you...
Is there any chance that Latin will be added as a language to be learned in your collection of languages? I understand that so many European languages are based upon Latin. I have always wanted to learn it.
if it is not currently in the plans to add Latin as a language, could you please consider it?
i would hope that there are m any people out here who would be interested in learning it and who also would benefit from the experience!!!!
Thank you SSSSSsoOOOOOOoooo much for inventing this app. It has been a material positive 'good' in my life and in the lives of so many people around the world.
In this day and age, when negative, polarizing forces seem to be on the uptick around the world, I am hearten to know that people like you, and your many many many colleagues, followers and admirers are laboring quietly to make this a better world.
Many, many thanks!
I tried this out, and I seriously was very impressed with it. Though I have only done the first conversation for German, but I know this is going to be a fun way to pass some time. Can't wait for it to be on the Android system. But thanks a million for making a fun, and new way for me to work on bettering my language skills
I think I found a bug. I just started using the bots in Spanish, and when I got to the second conversation about the animals in the zoo, I wasn't able to respond to the first question concerning the turtle. Hope you guys can work the bug out soon, as I think this is an excellent addition to Duolingo!
if you are talking about the fluency that is because the % is actually not about how fluent you are in the language it is how much work you do in a short amount of time if you did twenty lessons in a week you would have like 40% fluency if you did twenty lessons over ten weeks you would have like 11% fluency Hope I helped, mariofinatic
I'm enjoying the bots a lot. They are challenging me to compose a sentence versus recalling a sentence. and its nice to have some help if needed. I assume there are a limited number of them so far, at least in German. The Bots have helped to revitalize my desire to return each day. Well done.
This is fantastic news, I'm looking forward to the Android and the Web-versions. I'm interested in both the AI aspect of it, as that is one of my interests, and to see how advanced it'll be, and, obviously, the language learning paradigm that it will offer! I'm super excited.
Also, just a word of advice to the developers - the need to be online to access lessons (and, presumably, to access the bots?) can be very limiting. I'm sure that I'm not alone who has an issue with using Duolingo on the subway. I can't access a new lesson when I'm underground and where there is sporadic connection the wait from one question to another question takes minutes, because it keeps trying to reconnect to the web. If I could just download the lessons to my mobile device, that would be worth PAYING for the app. I understand that you need to take the ad serving loss in this scenario into your business forecasting - I would be willing to pay $20 per language for a downloadable version. There are probably hundreds of thousands of potential paying-customers like myself out there in large cities where subways are still not equipped with internet connection. I'm from New York.
I am stuck in trying to answer one of the questions in the Spanish series about Halloween. I have no idea what I'm supposed to answer to describe the man at the door. Nothing I've tried works. And the program doesn't give you any way to figure out what you're supposed to say. I've been successful with the other conversations, but I'm stumped with this second guy.
The program has a "help me reply" button if you're stuck. I've also used other dictionary/translation apps to help me come up with words I don't know yet, like "el vampiro". The sentence structure you need to describe the person at the door is: "He/she has a costume of ___"
Hope this helps.
The bots have been such a fantastic addition to the app! I have used Duolingo for years, but have had a new surge to talk about it with friends now that this new feature is available. It's actually what got me on the web version to see if there are other features, and their are! I really like the web version too. Loving the progress, Duolingo, Thank you!!
When do you think Korean will be launched? I would really enjoy learning Korean! I can't find any other sites to learn it, so I'm most likely to rely on Duolingo. It says that it isn't close to being launched (34%) I believe, it also says that it will be 'hatched' on 12/31/99. I think that this was a while ago. Anyway I think that bringing bots onto Duolingo is a great idea!
I have been using the bots on my phone and really like the feature. However, it is just as much an exercise in typing on the (small) iphone keypad as it is a language practice tool. Would love to have this feature available in the browser version so I can focus on the language.
My co-teacher and I think this is a great feature and we have been playing around with ways to have our kids use this feature. Will duolingo be adding this to the assignments section? IE: will teachers be able to assign a certain number of bot chats that students have to complete in a set time period? If not, I think it would be a great addition!
wow! good now we won't have those not - smart robots that correct our words because i have reported the same problem a thousand times ! and still nobody has returned my report or worked on the problem . the only problems on duolingo are the glitches, and the words, the robots that watch over and correct our word!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOMEBODY NEED'S TO LOOK OVER MY COMMENT AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT INSTEAD OF JUST SITTING THERE AND DOING NOTHING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
''Duolingo Bots understand and react to thousands of unique responses. The more you interact with them, the smarter they become.''
I'd love to see / read some more detailed information on this. On a quick test on a friends phone (as I don't use the iOS) I discovered that you couldn't hit send for some messages, which gave me the impression there is quite a finite number of replies you can give a bot. I understand that the bots are in early stages though.
I just got on Duolingo for the first time since September. I have a request. I don't know if anyone will answer it, but oh well. Can someone please make Creole one of the languages able to learn? I have adopted cousins coming from Haiti soon and it would be nice to talk to them in something other than French which I'm not very fluent in anyway.
I love the bots. However, I would enjoy them more if they allowed you the chance to speak. What I find is when people attempt to speak a language they are more fearful of making a mistake in pronunciation. I don't really have anyone near me who speaks French and I can't check with them. Some people I know speak Canadian-French but it isn't the same dialect. So... I don't know maybe Duolingo will be like an iPhone and slowly improve its technology with every try. Also I would love to learn Japanese. Please make this possible! (P.S. If you are wondering why have almost all the languages in my profile, it's because I sampled them over the summer because I wasn't sure what language I wanted to learn.)
I'm really enjoying the new Bots! Having completed the tree in Spanish a while ago, I find this much more interesting than just going over the exercises again! I'm also continuing to take Spanish classes and Bots will help me enormously with my conversation practice. Well done again Duolingo!
Yes, i have the android version and the computer version. On the android version, bots are available. They are really helpful and useful. They seem to help me practice talking in french. Which is really cool :D Also you get lots of XP if you respond correctly, all in all bots are really useful and amazing. Nice job Duo Lingo ;)
Any word on when Android is coming? I'm getting jealous of my husband whose got an iPhone and has been chatting with the bots. It looks great. I like how you can stay in French for a conversation instead of switching back and forth to English like most of the lessons. Once it's added to Android that will definitely be part of my daily French practice!
I really like the Bots. Being able to have a conversation is nice. I wish that they accepted a larger variety of answers. Most of the time, I am told that my answer is not one of the accepted words or some such thing.
Also, if you are going to "grade" our answers, I would appreciate knowing why I got that grade.
I get the feeling that feedback happens here and is pulled into the next conversations, though! As for the 'grade', I've noticed that if you give a slightly more complex answer - eg "je preferiez manger une pomme" rather than just "une pomme", you get "Great answer" instead of "Good answer".
I have app version 5.1.25 for my iPhone but there is no Bot Tutor. My wife has the same version on her phone and she does have the Bot Tutor. The Bot Tutor is on my iPad, but there is no microphone option for the iPad. I would like to be able to "speak" Spanish not just "write" Spanish. Please advise.