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Preparing AI robot for university entrance exams

At Japan’s National Institute of Information (NII), a research team launched the ‘Todai Robot Project’ to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) robot smart enough to pass the University of Tokyo admission test by 2021. The project began in 2011.

The University of Tokyo, known locally as Todai, has a legendarily difficult entrance exam. Ranked 39th in the world by Times Higher Education, the institute is commonly listed as one of Asia’s top universities and it boasts 15 of Japan’s prime ministers and eleven Nobel Prize and Fields Medal winners among its alumni.

The Todai Robot has taken a practice test every year both to measure the success of the past year’s work and to identify technical issues that remain.

Todai robot had steadily improved its academic performances, but the team found a limit in its ability to understand various exam questions. AI is not good at answering a type of question that requires the ability to grasp meaning in a broad spectrum. Surprisingly, the Todai Robot turned out to be a star student in world history. The robot digested reams of information from textbooks and websites before producing rounded answers to tough questions.

Todai Robot recently took a version of the unified admission test for national universities but failed to achieve the scores needed to gain admission to the University of Tokyo. It only managed to achieve an average score of 57.1 (percent), a long way off the lofty score of 80 required by University of Tokyo.

The project team said it will discontinue the project, citing limits to improving the robot’s abilities using available technology. From now on, the robot will grow its abilities in the fields it’s doing well in and aim to improve them to levels that can be applied in industry. (Floro Mercene)

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