In a world where artificial intelligence (AI) continues to evolve at an astonishingly rapid pace, some may question the necessity of an idea so obsolete as learning a modern foreign language.

After all, with AI-powered translation tools becoming so increasingly sophisticated, why bother with the complexities of it?

A computer system can do just the same in a microsecond of the time. 

Contrary to popular belief, to dismiss the value of language learning in the face of technological AI advancements would be a mistake for us as humans to make.

In fact, now more than ever before, the mastery of learning languages holds profound significance in all important sectors of the world.

Not only for everyday practical purposes such as business or economics but also with the social interaction status between humans hitting a decline globally, it is crazy to think that languages are deemed essential for the preservation of socialisation including culture, empathy, and human connection.

 Which is why I propose the question: Why learn languages when AI is so improved? 

While AI may excel at deciphering the exact literal meaning of words or phrases, it more often than not  falls short when it comes to capturing the subtleties of tone, accent, context, and cultural connotation that define effective human communication and the essence of the language rooted deep in the country's roots, which means there is a lack of effective communication and the ability to express perspectives and traditions of the different cultures reduces drastically.

In essence, AI translation lacks the soul of human expression (An aspect understandable of a technological robotic internet invention) — the intangible essence that breathes life into words and imbues them with meaning beyond their mere syntax. 

 Moreover, through the study of a foreign language, individuals gain an indescribable insight into the customs, values, and worldview of its speakers, fostering an increase in cross-cultural understanding and appreciation. 

Languages open doors to a wealth of literature, art, and philosophy, transcending geographical boundaries and enriching our basic logical understanding of the human connection experience that non language learners will never fully understand. 

A-level Spanish student William Novais said: "Language learning is so important to me as I come from a bilingual background and love to communicate with people in many languages -in ways I don't feel AI can - that's something that is so special.”

Additionally, language proficiency not only distinguishes individuals in an increasingly competitive job market but also fosters improvisational skills, creativity, critical thinking, and adaptability—the very skills that are essential for success in the digital age.

  • This article was written by Millie Underwood, from Peter Symonds College, as part of Newsquest's Young Reporter Scheme.