Michelle's blog

Can A Robot Pass A University Entrance Exam?

When I first heard about this TED talk, the first thing that popped into my how crazy it sounded that a robot even was able to take this test. I began to think about how robots could actually be smarter than human beings and what would happen if they were walking around in 20 years as if it were normal. The speaker in his TED talk was Noriko Arai, which is a doctor in Science and a society research division professor. Something I began to question once I read about this video was how they programmed this robot? What university tested this robot? Are robots smarter than humans? Who created this robot? Did the robot pass the exam? In the beginning of this video, she explains how the robot is AI’s project and its name is Todai. AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, which is a field of study that is exhibited by machines and they created this robot to see if it could possibly know the same as a human and how it would possibly work.
Todai robot took the test for the University of Tokyo, which is the top university in Japan. In order to pass, the robot has to take two exams but in order to take the second exam, you have to pass the first exam by 85% or higher. The entrance exam is a national standardized test in multiple choice and the subjects it has are Mathematics, 2 Natural Sciences, 2 Social Sciences, Japanese, and English. The second exam is the University of Tokyo written exam and the subjects it has are the same as the entrance exam except that they get to choose on either Natural Sciences or Social Sciences but for this exam, you have to write a 600-word essay. They did the university entrance exam as a branch mark to study the performance of AI in comparison to humans especially to understand the expertise that humans are only taught through education.
Many of you might be asking how does modern AI work? Well, they collect previous information like for example an old entrance exam and any type of exam and begin to try it out with a robot and decide to make it stronger and smarter to withhold that information. For example, something that usually happens in test or an example that Arai made was Jeopardy, the TV show with contests that are given questions and whoever answers the most gets money which they both have factoid questions and they use that on the robots to decide which one could handle the information. There are 3 modern AI’s that have been made which are Watson. Siri, and Todai robot which all are very good at searching and optimizing. Watson is very good finding answers by googling part of the question and finding the answer with keywords. Todai robot works smarter with yes and no questions and also looks for the answer by googling half of the question/phrase. The AI’s get Wikipedia and textbooks to write essays like for example the second part of the entrance exam for the University of Tokyo and end up writing better essays than the students. Todai robot was amongst the top 20% and was capable to pass more than 60% of the Universities in Japan.
My opinion on this TED talk is that the AI’s are much smarter than us humans. It might be hard to believe but many students don’t focus on school as much as they used to 15 years ago. Everyone in our society is too busy on their phones to care about school and to study for tests as important as a university entrance exam. I actually chose this video because we should be able to understand if robots could pass this exam and see if it’s able to pass it without going through school but it turns out that the internet has all the information you’ve learned throughout your whole life. We go to school for 12 years in our lives and this robot could learn all this information in a year and pass this test more than half of the students taking it. I believe that robots like Todai will one day be walking around like any human being and make the best of our earth and make it a better place. A robot taking and passing a test that some students can’t pass is just the beginning of our future.