artificial intelligence

Emotions and Teaching

AutoTutor is a program developed by Sidney D'Mello, a University of Notre Dame Assistant Professor of Psychology, Art Graesser from the University of Memphis, and a colleague from MIT. The program instructs a student in a subject using natural-language. At the same time it monitors the face and body of the student to determine her emotional state. It then changes the pacing and content of the instruction accordingly.

What's compelling is that the program was built to understand how a student's psychological state affects her cognitive state.

The researchers have found that in tests of over 1,000 students use of the AutoTutor resulted in students gaining approximately one letter grade.

Mind Versus Machine

Every year there is a competition that pits the best in artificial intelligence (AI) against humanity. It's called The Turing Test. Humans and computers are asked several questions and the questioners must figure out if it's a human that's answering or a computer. A prize is awarded to the AI team that does the best job creating a computer that can seem the most human-like. But there is also an award given to the human who can seem the most human-like.

Interestingly, this competition has yielded several discoveries about what makes us so human. One such finding was that an argument was easy to fake by a computer because it basically consisted of responding to the last thing said. In such a light, it's easy to see how arguments are sustained by knee-jerk reactions as opposed to statements that contemplate the entire context.

It seems the science of making machines more human, can make us more so, too.

A great article on the competition can be found here.