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Japan building robot that would pass college exams

Researchers have teamed up to create an AI that would be smart enough to pass the notoriously difficult entrance exams to the University of Tokyo. Don't expect it to help with your homework though.

Egghead: The Todai Robot project logo.
National Institute of Informatics

It isn't enough that machines can beat the best of us at chess, Jeopardy, and a billion other things. Now they want to rub our faces in our inferiority by getting into our universities and scoffing at us.

Boffins at Fujitsu Labs are teaming up with Japan's National Institute of Informatics (NII) to create an artificial-intelligence system that would be able to pass the entrance exam for the University of Tokyo, one of the most prestigious schools in the country.

The project aims to build an AI that can do well on Japan's nationwide university entrance exams by 2016, and then pass the more difficult exam for Todai, as the top college is known, by 2021.

Human students have to do well on both tests to get into the university, which is known for its brutal admission requirements. It placed eighth in the latest QS Asian University rankings.

It's unclear whether the "Todai robot" will be a humanoid robot. Whatever its form, it will have to master subjects such as physics, chemistry, and history, and answer questions on foreign languages.

NII hopes the project, led by Noriko Arai, will yield insights into human intelligence and foster groundbreaking AI innovations.

Fujitsu, which built one of the fastest supercomputers in the world last year, is helping to improve the robot's math skills.

"NII and Fujitsu Laboratories jointly aim to develop the technologies needed for human-centric IT," Fujitsu said in a release. "These include formula recognition methods to recognize and interpret problem texts and put it into a data format that a computer can understand; natural language processing to generate a formula representation that the formula solver can understand; and formula-processing technology that can solve the composed formula quickly and accurately.

"The hope is that the technologies developed as part of this project will enable anyone to easily use sophisticated mathematical analysis tools."

Sounds like the perfect cover to me.

(Via Japan Real Time)