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This quarter, Google launched Fabricius: a translator for ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Built in collaboration with several universities around the world, Fabricius uses machine learning to let users type in English or Arabic messages (consisting of words and/or emojis) to see their closest translation in hieroglyphics. The tool within Google’s Arts & Culture app also contains a Workbench feature designed for Egyptologists. Workbench lets users upload photos of hieroglyphics on ancient artefacts as well as enhance, retouch, annotate and decipher them. As people continue to use the tool, Google believes Fabricius’ AI and database will improve in response.
Hieroglyphics may be ancient history, but the implications behind this hieroglyphic translator are relevant right now!
Let’s start with one of the most basic yet powerful human desires: status. Which is not, by the way, all about money and beauty. Consumers also derive status from knowledge – particularly, having access to knowledge many others don’t, or being the first to obtain an interesting skill or factoid. Hence the reason consumers have long appreciated ‘behind the scenes’ experiences, or why having a backstage pass carries cachet. Remaining mostly indoors has also increased consumers’ desire to acquire new skills, making ‘knowledge as status’ especially prominent at this moment.
So here, Fabricius is granting users an expert-to-consumer view into the field of Egyptology. It serves as a bridge between the academics – with their heads in their books or at the lab or in the archaeology dig – and the average consumer at large. Not only that, Google is letting consumers interact and play with hieroglyphics, using the same tool Egyptologists are, and even (in doing so) helping to boost Fabricius’ AI.
For your next innovation, how could you help your customers acquire an interesting new skill or a body of knowledge? What advancing developments are your consumers fascinated by? Could you tap your brand’s internal experts or, perhaps, university researchers to share their insights?
The TrendWatching content team
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