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AI Tutors For Every Child - Thanks, DARPA!
Soon, according to futurists, our children will enjoy the careful attention of artificial intelligence-based tutors - right in our own homes.
This technology is funded by our friends at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency):
In 2009, a team funded by DARPA created a digital tutor for the U.S. Navy that far outperformed the world’s best human tutors.
We've built upon the DARPA research and added modern AI tools to create a magical experience for kids.
In his wonderful 1950's classic Cities in Flight, James Blish describes how artificial intelligence computers (the City Fathers) are the best teachers:
The accelerated schooling to which the City Fathers had remanded Chris did not at first seem physically strenuous at all...
The "schoolroom" was a large, gray, featureless chamber devoid of blackboard or desk; its only furniture consisted of a number of couches scattered about the floor. Nor were there any teachers; the only adults present were called monitors, and their duties appearaed to be partly those of an usher, and partly those of a nurse, but none pertinent to teaching in any sense of the term Chris had ever encountered. They conducted you to your couch and helped you to fit over your head a bright metal helmet which had inside it what seemed to be hundreds of tiny, extremely sharp points which bit into your scalp just enought to make you nervous, but without enough pressure to break the skin. Once this gadget, which was called a toposcope, was adjusted to their satisfaction, the monitors left, and the room began to fill with the gray gas.
This gas was like a fog, except that it was dry and faintly aromatic... it made it impossible to see the rest of the room until the session was over, when it was sucked out with a subdued roar of blowers...
...the torrent of facts that came from the memory cells of the City Fathers into the prickly helmet was overwhelming and merciless.
(Read more about accelerated schooling)
This kind of "learning" tended to provide rote memorization by force-feeding. Isaac Asimov's mechanical teacher might be closer to an AI tutor:
Margie went into the classroom. It was right next to her bedroom, and the mechanical teacher was on and waiting for her. It was always on at the same time every day except Saturday and Sunday, because her mother said little girls learned better if they learned at regular hours.
The screen was lit up, and it said: "Today's arithmetic lesson is on the addition of proper fractions. Please insert yesterday's homework in the proper slot."
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