I’m rarely the first person in line when it comes to new technology, but I can assure you I would have camped out overnight—if not longer—if an artificial intelligence system that could help me pass an eighth-grade science test existed back when I was that age.
Now that it does exist, though, I hope my fifth-grade daughter doesn’t find out. She needs to find out for herself the joys of science.
Aristo got an A on the quiz, correctly answering more than 90 percent of the questions on the test designed for New York students and then it went on to answer questions on an exam for 12th graders, earning a solid B (80 percent).
The AI’s science prowess shows how far artificial intelligence has come at mimicking human logic, language and decision-making.
Unlike your average eighth grader, the AI, which was designed by the Allen Institute—the lab founded by the late Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen—was built solely to take multiple-choice tests.
According to the Times, the researchers view standardized science tests as a more meaningful AI benchmark than the machine’s ability to play chess, and Aristo passed with flying colors.
The Next Challenge for Aristo
With all due respect to the scientists and engineers in CI’s readership, the real test of AI will come not when it can beat a human at chess or ace a multiple-choice science exam, but when it can achieve that same level of success on an English exam.
There are a lot of quirks and abnormalities and, because of the constant evolution of the language, words that used to mean one thing later end up meaning the polar opposite. Take, for example, the word “literally.”
Until then, I’ll have to continue my social media crusade to help people understand the differences between “you’re” and “your,” “they’re,” “there” and “their,” and “to,” “too” and “two,” all the while incurring the wrath of those who don’t care about getting these things right.
Maybe Aristo and his fellow AI systems won’t be quite as hurt by online trolls referring to them as “grammar nerds” when they just try to make a subtle point that’s all aimed at making the world a more literate place.
It’s OK, though. Until Aristo is ready for a real challenge, I’ll be there holding the flag of helping those who need it understand the nuances of our language better.
How long will it be before Aristo can write my blogs? Or install a video wall?