Is AI Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? No. Nor a Fourth Grader.

Every day in Seattle, Aristo takes a mostly multiple-choice fourth-grade science test. Aristo has been taking these tests since 2013, learning from mistakes and filling in knowledge gaps, but has yet to pass one. It’s the thinking part that’s hard. That’s because Aristo is a computer program. The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence on Lake Union’s north shore has been working for three years on the program. Each day, Aristo’s memory is wiped clean so it can’t cheat by remembering past right and wrong answers. Each week, the tests—but not their difficulty level—are changed. On Aristo’s first attempt in 2013, it scored 27 out of 100—a solid F. Now its average score is 49—also an F, but the kind of F a teacher might scrawl “Shows improvement” beside. A passing…


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