Fri, Jun 09, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Chinese AI scores below-average on university exam

AFP, BEIJING

An artificial intelligence (AI) machine has taken the mathematics section of China’s annual university entrance exam, finishing it faster than students, but with a below-average grade.

The AI machine — a tall black box containing 11 servers placed in the center of a test room — on Wednesday took two versions of the exam in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.

The machine, called AI-MATHS, scored 105 out of 150 in 22 minutes.

It then spent 10 minutes on another version and scored 100.

Students have two hours to complete the test, Xinhua news agency reported.

Beijing liberal arts students who took the mathematics exam last year scored an average of 109.

Exam questions and the AI machine’s answers were shown on a big screen while three people kept score.

The AI was developed in 2014 by Chengdu-based Zhunxingyunxue Technology (準星雲學科技) using big data, artificial intelligence and natural language recognition technologies from Tsinghua University.

“I hope next year the machine can improve its performance on logical reasoning and computer algorithms and score over 130,” Zhunxingyunxue CEO Lin Hui (林輝) was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

“This is not a make-or-break test for a robot. The aim is to train artificial intelligence to learn the way humans reason and deal with numbers,” Lin said.

The machine took only one of the four subjects in the crucially important entrance examination, the other three being Chinese, a foreign language and one comprehensive test in either liberal arts or science.

While AI is faster with numbers than humans, it struggles with language.

“For example, the robot had a hard time understanding the words ‘students’ and ‘teachers’ on the test and failed to understand the question, so it scored zero for that question,” Lin said.

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