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Jill Watson, Round Three

A "image" of the virtual teaching assistant Jill Watson.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is beginning its third semester using a virtual teaching assistant system.

Credit: Georgia Tech News Center

The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is beginning its third semester using a virtual teaching assistant (TA) system, called Jill Watson, in an online course about artificial intelligence (AI).

Jill, which is implemented on IBM's Watson platform, was first used last spring to successfully answer particular types of frequently asked questions without the help of humans.

Georgia Tech professor Ashok Goel told the students at the beginning of the semester some of their TAs may or may not be computers. "Then I watched the chat rooms for months as they tried to differentiate between human and artificial intelligence," Goel says.

At the end of the semester, the students were polled about which TAs were human and which were AI. Slightly more than 50 percent of the students correctly guessed that one of the AIs, known as Stacey, was a computer. However, just 16 percent of the students figured out that another AI, called Ian, was not human. In addition, more than 10 percent of the students mistakenly thought two of the human TAs were actually computers.

"When we started, I had no idea that this would blossom into a project with so many dimensions," Goel says.

From Georgia Tech News Center
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