WSJ: One day in January, Eric Wilson dashed off a message to the teaching assistants for an online course at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“I really feel like I missed the mark in giving the correct amount of feedback,” he wrote, pleading to revise an assignment.
Thirteen minutes later, the TA responded. “Unfortunately, there is not a way to edit submitted feedback,” wrote Jill Watson, one of nine assistants for the 300-plus students.
Last week, Mr. Wilson found out he had been seeking guidance from a computer.
…Last year, a team of Georgia Tech researchers began creating Ms. Watson by poring through nearly 40,000 postings on a discussion forum known as “Piazza” and training her to answer related questions based on prior responses. By late March, she began posting responses live.
Don’t confuse Ms. Watson with the customer-service chatbots used online by airlines and other industries. Mr. Goel boasts that she answers only if she has a confidence rate of at least 97%.
“Most chatbots operate at the level of a novice,” Mr. Goel said. “Jill operates at the level of an expert.”
In our paper on online education Tyler and I wrote about AI Tutors:
Feedback from interactive systems will be more immediate and more informative (Skinner 1958). Adaptive tutoring systems are already nearly as effective as human tutors in many circumstances and much cheaper to scale (VanLehn 2011).