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With artificial intelligence (AI) continuing to advance, machine learning is also gaining some ground in attention. AI usually gets all the headlines, but machine learning is the base for making AI possible, with all the mathematical algorithms. Machine learning is when google corrects us when we misspell a word. Google has compared your search to the database of all the previous searches by millions of users, and learned that the word has been misspelled and suggested a correction. The current breakthroughs have made it the perfect time for machine learning to go through many innovations, and computer scientists are ready to work on it.
Higher education researchers around the world submitted proposals for Google’s research awards in 2016, and 20 percent were related to machine learning. This percentage had gone up a full 12 percent from 2015, and really shows the eagerness for computer scientists. One of the ideas to better use machine learning, is surprisingly not artificial intelligence, but an augmented intelligence, which would be a teaching assistant that would make it easier for human educators to do their job. A way that machine learning could be useful in this sense, is provide data about the students’ performance and suggest actions that can be taken towards improvement.
This system would also allow for insights and practices from experienced teachers to be available to educators. Some professors are already experimenting on using machine learning as a virtual assistant. In early 2016, Ashok Goel, a Georgia Tech computer science professor has used IBM’s Watson platform to answer questions, in secret, posed by students. At the end of the semester, it was revealed to the students the identity of the assistant that had been answering all of the students’ questions, and they were all surprised that it was a machine. Many students were not able to differentiate between the real and virtual assistants.
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