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Tech Wednesday, September 12th 2012 at 1:40 pm

“Todai Robot” Artificial Intelligence Trying To Enter Tokyo University

As if getting into a good school, paying off your student loans, and learning proper hygiene procedures weren’t enough troubles, college students are about to have another concern on their hands in the form of competition from robots. Japanese researchers at Fujitsu are working on an artificial intelligence program that is smart enough to get into the prestigious University of Tokyo. The hardest part, oddly enough, is getting the AI, affectionately known as Todai Robot, to pass the math portion of the entrance exam. While computers are generally very good at math, that’s only half the battle here. The calculations come easily to Todai Robot, understanding the questions is another matter.

Fujitsu’s engineers are struggling with the same obstacles encountered by designers of IBM’s Watson AI. While computers are very good at searching, processing, and recalling information, parsing abstract phrases like Jeopardy clues and word problems on a math test are very difficult for them. Doing a velocity calculation, in other words, is simple — understanding that’s what it has to do to determine when two trains will pass is really hard.

No one is exactly rushing Todai Robot along into academia, though, which must make some Japanese high school students pretty jealous. The hope is that the AI can pass the general national exam in 2016, and be clever enough to clear the much more challenging University of Tokyo entrance exam in 2024. At that rate, the AI will finish its undergrad courses in the next forty or fifty years, and ideally wrap up its PhD thesis sometime just before the sun burns out.

(via IEEE)

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