A recent article by David Arbesú on theconversation.com debates the potential disappearance of global language barriers in under a decade. With the advent of "live-translation" apps, technology experts predict that computers will soon replace the need for traditional language learning, despite the many other advantages of learning a second language, such as improved cognitive development. According to Alec Ross, small earpieces with inbuilt microphones will translate conversations, eliminating the potential for communication difficulties.

Arbesú, however, claims that computers may never be able to substitute human translation due to the complex and nuanced nature of the existing 7,000 languages worldwide. Jokes, sarcasm and situation-specific forms of address are just some of the factors that could be lost in excessive reliance upon computer-based translation. Despite continual improvements in computer translation in recent years, one question remains: how much should we trust machines to communicate effectively with humans?

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