Georgia Institute of Technology runs a massive artificial intelligence online course, with a forum with over 40k questions. To help manage student questions, this year computer science professor Ashok Goel enlisted the help of “Jill Watson”, an automated reply system developed using IBM Watson technology to help answer student questions. Most students were unable to tell that they were being aided by a bot rather than a human Teaching Assistant. One specific aspect of this bot is that it would not get involved in a discussion unless it assessed a 97% confidence rate of answering the question.
As The Wall Street Journal states, this is an interesting use case in how such bots could transform learning, especially as we see courses move to the digital realm.
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