Michael Running Wolf wants AI to help reclaim Native languages.
Provided by Michael Running Wolf
Imagine putting on a virtual reality headset and entering a world where you can explore communities, like Missoula, except your character, and everyone you interact with, speaks Salish, Cheyenne or Blackfoot.
Imagine having a device like Amazon’s Alexa that understands and speaks exclusively in Indigenous languages.
Or imagine a digital language playground in Facebook’s Metaverse, where programmers create interactive games to enhance Indigenous language learning.
Michael Running Wolf, a Northern Cheyenne man who is earning his Ph.D. in computer science, wants to make these dreams a reality.
Running Wolf grew up in Birney, a town with a population of 150 just south of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. He spent most of his childhood living without electricity.
Running Wolf can speak some Cheyenne, but he wants Indigenous language learning to be more accessible, immersive and engaging.
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And he believes artificial intelligence is the solution.
Running Wolf is one of a handful of researchers worldwide who are studying Indigenous