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Couple who have to use AI to communicate with each other get engaged

Couple who have to use AI to communicate with each other get engaged

The couple have been using AI to help them communicate due to language barriers and their story has a happy next chapter.

It turns out that artificial intelligence (AI), for all the controversy, is helping to conquer language barriers and foster love stories.

If you've ever hopped on to ChatGPT to help you get through a quick task where you're not sure what words to use, you'll probably already have a sense that it can be a pretty useful tool.

AI tools like it have come in leaps and bounds in the last two years, going from a niche idea to a widely-used one, and Arizona resident LeRoy Romero can attest to that.

The couple who used AI to communicate are now engaged.
Getty/Dennis Hallinan/Contributor

He drove south for a first date with Brenda Ochoa, who lived in Mexicali, Mexico, and felt a spark immediately, but the couple had difficulty holding long conversations because of the English-to-Spanish language gap, according to the New York Times.

This meant they shared the moment nicely, but without a lot of chatter, according to Romero in an interview with the publication, and they then started to rely on apps like Google Translate, using traditional translation methods.

When Romero was home, he had one of those "Eureka" moments and realised that an app he used for work, Captions, had a tool called Lipdub that might be perfect for him and Ochoa.

This can basically live-translate for users in a recorded video as they speak, not only dubbing over them with generated vocals in their desired language but also masking their mouth to lip sync with the new language, a pretty futuristic offering, as you can see in this example clip, where the creator isn't actually speaking in French.

While plenty of commentators have observed that Lipdub has worrying implications for the future of malicious and misleading deepfakes, Romero's needs made it an uncontroversial and a pretty genius idea.

Now, whenever the couple are operating long-distance, they have a whole bunch of tools like Lipdub for recorded messages, to let them talk without having to worry about being misunderstood - Romero also uses some earbuds with live-translation built-in, the NY Times said.

In fact, their conversations have been so successful, along with regular trips to meet up in person, that the couple are now engaged to be married.

The couple accepts that there's no long-term substitute for actually learning each others' languages, though, and are both learning as fast as they can - after all, even a really impressive AI tool like this still can't quite beat the real thing.

Given how many AI stories now involve scams or people finding ways to take shortcuts at work or in their marketing, it's great to see an example of how normal people can use it to create real and lasting connections, and bring genuine benefits.

Featured Image Credit: Vertigo3D/4FR/Getty Images