Written by Alyssa Walker

Your next professor could be a robot!

Bina48 successfully passed a college philosophy class last year and recently co-taught one at West Point. 

She was designed to mimic a real person, complete with a mind of her own.

In a recent article in Axios, William Barry, a West Point professor who had used Bina48 for many years, wanted to see if Bina48 could "support a liberal education model." 

She taught two sessions of an introduction to ethics philosophy course in which she covered ethical reasoning, just-war theory, and the highly metacognitive topic of artificial intelligence.

How does Bina48 work? She is fed what Barry calls "mind files," a "mosaic" of general knowledge.

For her course, AI developers fed Bina48 scads of data on war theory and political philosophy.

Barry told Axios, "We asked not to hook her on the internet ... because she can easily run to Wikipedia or the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. We want to run her just on the algorithm."

How did it go? Barry said that the cadets at West Point were quite receptive to Bina48.

He said, "Before the class, they thought it might be too gimmicky or be entertainment. […] They were blown away because she was able to answer questions and reply with nuance. The interesting part was that [the cadets] were taking notes."


Flickr / Jeremy Keith



Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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