Hi, compsci undergrad. See that AI robot over there? It’s your advisor

IBM and the University of Michigan have launched a $4.5m project to replace some human roles in education by developing a cognitive system to function as an academic adviser for undergraduate compscis and engineers. Dubbed Project Sapphire, the collaboration will see eight computer science and engineering faculty members, along with graduate students and post-doctoral researchers from the university’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, work alongside Big Blue’s boffins to get a system up and running “within the next few years”. The system is unlikely to immediately make human educational professionals redundant, but will “allow researchers to explore how smart machines interact with people in goal-driven dialogues”. “Human-to-machine interactions, similar to human-to-human conversations, are rarely confined to one question and one answer,” said David Nahamoo, IBM fellow and chief technologist for conversational systems,…


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