This college opened a one-of-a-kind AI lab

What if a special lab at the University of Rhode Island (URI) could educate the community on the ethical, technological, and social consequences of artificial intelligence (AI)?

That’s what Karim Boughida, dean of the URI Libraries, is counting on with a unique AI lab in the Robert L. Carothers Library at URI.

Students, faculty members, state officials, business people, and community members can all use the lab for answers. And although AI labs have been around for decades, this is the first-of-its-kind in a common area, open to the public.…Read More

7 ways AI will shape the future of education and work

While artificial intelligence (AI) hasn’t yet had a wide-reaching impact on the workforce, AI skills are predicted to remain in increasingly high demand.

With so many industries seeing the potential for AI applications come to fruition, the economy will need highly-trained workers to fill what is likely to be a rising demand for such skills.

1. The World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs 2018 forecasts that AI will have applications in almost every sector. Software and IT services saw incredible growth in the past two years, but education, hardware and networking, finance, and manufacturing saw increases as well.…Read More

How AI will shape the university of the future

In light of the fact that only 59 percent of students who begin pursuing a four-year degree at a higher-ed institution graduate within six years, many in the industry are seeking innovative ways to improve student outcomes.

Recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) have led to its adoption across many sectors. The multidisciplinary field presents a wide variety of opportunities for application, giving it great potential for use in higher education. AI encompasses these sub fields:

  • machine learning, used in everything from search engines to recommendation systems
  • natural-language processing, a prominent use case being the language understanding of Amazon’s Alexa
  • computer vision, which is used for tasks such as facial recognition.

We are only beginning to scratch the surface of the many ways this technology could be used to help universities improve the student experience.…Read More

Going beyond the hype: How AI can be used to make a difference

Reference to artificial intelligence (AI) has become strategic in higher-ed discourse, joining the terms “big data” and “predictive modeling.” When I was introduced to AI in 2013 by a member of our design team, it captivated my imagination. Since then, as our data grew to proportions that were ripe for AI, I’ve become enthralled by its potential to enrich the accuracy and personalization that leads to better outcomes. That does not make me an expert.

If anything, it could make me equal to all out there who have wondered what these terms actually mean, how they matter to education, and where to draw the line between hype and results.

Defining the terms…Read More

Artificial intelligence tells students what they’re doing right, wrong

Professors said the cloud-based system was 98 percent accurate in grading papers.

The cloud is outperforming teaching assistants in some campus lecture halls.

A cloud-based writing assignment evaluator used by a psychology instructor at Montgomery College in Rockville, Md., has largely eliminated the arduous task of grading hundreds of essays—a job that is usually left to teaching assistants in cavernous lecture halls.

Joe Swope, who has been using the program, SAGrader, for three years, said the tool evaluates students’ writing submissions by comparing the paper’s content to a predetermined answer outline designed by the instructor or professor.…Read More

Computers make strides in recognizing speech

For decades, computer scientists have been pursuing artificial intelligence (AI)—but in recent years, rapid progress has been made in machines that can listen, speak, see, reason, and learn, reports the New York Times. The AI technology that has moved furthest into the mainstream is computer understanding of what humans are saying. People increasingly talk to their cell phones to find things, instead of typing. Both Google’s and Microsoft’s search services now respond to voice commands. The number of American doctors using speech software to record and transcribe accounts of patient visits and treatments has more than tripled in the past three years, to 150,000. Meanwhile, translation software being tested by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is fast enough to keep up with some simple conversations. With some troops in Iraq, English is translated to Arabic and Arabic to English. But there is still a long way to go. When a soldier asked a civilian, “What are you transporting in your truck?” the Arabic reply was that the truck was “carrying tomatoes.” But the English translation became “pregnant tomatoes.” The speech software understood “carrying,” but not the context. Yet if far from perfect, speech recognition software is good enough to be useful in more ways all the time. Take call centers: Today, voice software enables many calls to be automated entirely. And more advanced systems can understand even a perplexed, rambling customer well enough to route the caller to someone trained in that product, saving time and frustration for the customer. They can detect anger in a caller’s voice and respond accordingly—usually by routing the call to a manager…

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