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Are Mind-Reading Teacher Robots Clever or Creepy?

News 2012/06/04 20:00:00
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Online classes are convenient for students, but they do have their drawbacks. For instance, how do you ensure that an online student is getting the most out of their lesson? It's impossible for a human teacher to monitor each student's attention level and engage them when their attention starts to wane. Well, Bilge Mutlu and Dan Szafir at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have come up with a solution: Mind-reading wakamaru robot teachers.

"Mind-reading robot" might strike fear in the hearts of those who are worried about a dystopian future, but these robots only measure the attention level of a student. An EEG sensor monitors activity in a certain part of the brain, then employs humanoid "tricks" -- raising it's voice, making eccentric gestures -- to regain the student's attention when it wanders. Studies have shown this actually does increase test scores by about 20 percent. Does it sound like a clever way of engaging remote learners, or a disturbing step in the wrong direction?


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  • cupcakes 3052457 2012/06/05 01:59:57
    cupcakes
    does it look and feel like the real thing?
  • 3052457 cupcakes 2012/06/05 02:05:47
  • bettyboop 3052457 2012/06/05 12:43:36
    bettyboop
    +1
    when you say it isn't 'that" functional what exactly do you mean?
  • 3052457 bettyboop 2012/06/08 02:27:26
  • bettyboop 3052457 2012/06/08 16:41:28
    bettyboop
    Ah yes, a weird guys toy....now I understand
  • tobe 2012/06/05 00:55:07 (edited)
    Creepy
    tobe
    +1
    Look familiar???
    deadly friend
    deadly friend
    3 words... basketball exploding heads.. no way id let that thing near my kid.
  • Tinka123 2012/06/05 00:47:46
    Creepy
    Tinka123
    Creepy... mad creepy. My first thought - the eeg sensor...
    creepy mad creepy eeg sensor
    As I said - mad creepy.
  • Slurry 2012/06/05 00:26:27
    Creepy
    Slurry
    +5
    The hell?
  • David 2012/06/05 00:21:54
    Clever
    David
    +2
    It's helping you learn... by hiring a freaking robot. You ungrateful sacks of flesh D:
  • lolitalovely 2012/06/05 00:15:55
    Clever
    lolitalovely
    +1
    If they're going to force us to take those classes online, they might as well just give us a robot for the classroom they would have nixed for the internet. They can't possibly beat teachers though because people bring eccentricities and different understandings to the classroom.
  • Boetica 2012/06/05 00:10:15
    Creepy
    Boetica
    +1
    Eventually when they can read your mind they can call the cops and have you arrested for thought crimes. Any thoughts of liberty will be a crime against the State.
  • democoach Boetica 2012/06/05 16:36:09
    democoach
    thats EXACTLY my thoughts! EXACTLY!
  • Kibbles 2012/06/05 00:09:09
    Clever
    Kibbles
    +1
    I think it's magnificently interesting t say the least. I look forward to seeing how this plays out.
  • democoach Kibbles 2012/06/05 16:36:36
    democoach
    with people in FEMA death camps because of NDAA
  • Elaine Magliacane 2012/06/05 00:07:47
    Creepy
    Elaine Magliacane
    +4
    Sad too... that teachers have gotten so inept at their jobs a robot can do it better. Will the robots join the teachers union I wonder?
  • Boetica Elaine ... 2012/06/05 00:10:52
    Boetica
    LOL I was thinking along the same lines.
  • Lisa 2012/06/04 23:46:47
    Creepy
    Lisa
    +3
    I honestly believe that nothing can replace working with a living breathing human being
  • Fluffywolf, eater of chocolate 2012/06/04 23:37:41
    Creepy
    Fluffywolf, eater of chocolate
    +1
    It is brilliant, but I am rather scared.
  • merslix. 2012/06/04 23:36:31
    Clever
    merslix.
    pretty epic.
  • Jay Calderone 2012/06/04 23:26:17
  • barby k... Jay Cal... 2012/06/05 14:29:02
    barby karring
    Sometimes I feel like somebody's watching me"
  • Jay Cal... barby k... 2012/06/05 22:22:00
    Jay Calderone
    probably because someone is watching you
  • lickgold 2012/06/04 23:22:37
    Creepy
    lickgold
    um no thx
  • louisa 2012/06/04 23:14:37
    Creepy
    louisa
    +4
    Why cant people just teach people like it was meant to be?
  • oceangrl louisa 2012/06/05 01:33:25
    oceangrl
    agreed!
  • swp louisa 2012/06/05 15:23:19
    swp
    Um, how do you know what was meant to be?
  • democoach swp 2012/06/05 16:39:39 (edited)
    democoach
    did God make robots to teach us? no he didn't make us robot minded either! so robots teaching us is NOT how it was meant to be!
    "i am not your robot, i am not a clone, you are not my pupeteer, i am not a drone" trip lee
  • MIRANDDAAA :) 2012/06/04 23:09:31
    Creepy
    MIRANDDAAA :)
    +1
    I would rather have a human as my teacher.
  • adeenmckenziekennedy 2012/06/04 23:03:19
  • D.C.Verdone 2012/06/04 22:35:09
    Clever
    D.C.Verdone
    Kinda cool for people like me XD XD
  • Crime Time 2012/06/04 22:33:45
  • stevmackey 2012/06/04 22:31:41
    Clever
    stevmackey
    +3
    Not as clever as the teacher that always knew what you were going to do before you did it.
  • Dan ☮ R P ☮ 2012 ☮ 2012/06/04 22:29:34 (edited)
    Creepy
    Dan ☮ R P ☮ 2012 ☮
    +2
    So... we just replace a human teacher with a robot? And the robot teacher just does what a normal teacher can do, except is limited to what it is programed to do?

    Spend the money on something else. I prefer to keep the human element a factor in teaching humans.
  • jackie 2012/06/04 22:29:20
    Clever
    jackie
    Awesome! They have some talking and dancing and cleaning. Now they have one to see if a person is paying attention or not.


    I wonder how bots would be in 20yrs... i'll be 39 o_O I hope they make them highly intelligent and identical to human. Then i'll have a friend :D
  • democoach jackie 2012/06/05 16:42:05
    democoach
    or a mortal unbeatable enemy! one that will kill you or torture you and have zero guilt or emotional factor!
  • Layan Sbeitan 2012/06/04 22:25:30
    Creepy
    Layan Sbeitan
    that is very creepy and are thoughts are meant to be kept to our selfs.... so ofcourse when i know somthing is reading my thoughts
    im going to control them
  • jason 2012/06/04 22:18:47
    Creepy
    jason
    +1
    Buy rifles and ammo.
  • yojer 2012/06/04 21:40:19
    Clever
    yojer
    Its the best, acquiese, and be assimilated, ha, ha, ha....
  • Sodahead Founders are Fascists 2012/06/04 21:24:58
    Clever
    Sodahead Founders are Fascists
    Look at it! It is adorable!
  • democoach Sodahea... 2012/06/05 16:44:08 (edited)
    democoach
    these are adorable too. but adorable was the humans demise here

    gremlin

    movie is gremlin

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