What If Your Favorite Teacher Was a Robot?

What If Your Favorite Teacher Was a Robot?
Mike Siegel The Seattle Times via AP

Earlier this year, I witnessed a scene out of science fiction, had it not been reality.

A video shown at the NewSchools Venture Fund annual conference showed a young African-American girl answering a teacher's questions with confidence, enthusiastic to get them right. The girl was real, but the teacher was not. She was a virtual instructor named "ALEX," powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The virtual being was programmed to use an African-American dialect. The video clearly demonstrated the child's improved responsiveness because of this cultural relevance, reacting significantly different than another child whose virtual teacher only spoke standard English.

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