Artificial students

Artificial intelligence is development of machines that think, learn and create like humans or even better than humans.

This is a rapidly developing field. Speech recognition, spam detection, robotics and machine translation are among its recent applications.

With artificial intelligence it is already possible to make robotic vacuum cleaners that will perfectly clean your house.

Artificial chess players perform better than world champions.

Soon robots will drive our cars. DARPA periodically organises competitions for driverless cars (1st, 2nd, 3rd).

Most artificial intelligence problems involve learning algorithms. For example, it is impossible to write a static program that would filter spam. Because spammers design new methods all the time, a spam catching program has to use a learning algorithm to learn how to identify a spam message. Many machine learning techniques have been developed during recent decades.

There are human beings that are supposed to learn something — students. So, an idea came to my mind. It would be great to utilise machine learning for a new application of artificial intelligence — artificial students.

Imagine, you are a lecturer. You come to your class one morning and instead of human students there are robots.

Artificial students can be made to learn everything fast. They will not cheat and will complete all assignments before the deadlines. They will get only A+ on exams.

They can be programmed to dress as you like. I would make half of the robots girls and dress each of them in a colourful shalwar qameez. I would also put jasmine flowers in their hair.

A robotic girl with jasmine flowers … wow that’s cute!

However, electronic things often break. There are bugs and viruses. I already know which annoyances can human students cause but what kind of bugs to expect from artificial students?

Will they hang, freeze or crush? Will they become violent if they catch some computer virus? Will I be able to fix them by restarting them?

Restarting a student almost sounds like a lecturer’s dream…

But technology is moving forward and I am sure that all those minor problems will be eventually solved. Then it will be cool.

Say, a software company identified that they need a number of interns next year. They require knowledge of PHP and Java.

They could buy raw, unprogrammed artificial students and send them to our university. We would teach them, and then ship them back to the company.

It is possible to go even further. In addition to students, let’s build artificial lecturers. Then the whole university will become automated.

In this way we can speed up the learning process. An artificial lecturer can be loaded with all sorts of books, and artificial students can learn all that much faster then humans. Say, the whole four year curriculum within a few seconds.

Imagine, how fast the civilisation will progress after that!

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