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Robotics Education Hardware

Teaching With Robots 69

theodp writes "If you're a math, CS, or engineering grad, odds are you've seen your share of robot-like teaching — but never an actual robot teacher. Now, that's starting to change. Computer scientists are developing robots with social components that can engage people and teach them simple skills, including household tasks, vocabulary, elementary imitation and taking turns. Several countries have been testing teaching machines in classrooms. At USC, researchers have had their robot, Bandit, interact with autistic children. South Korea is 'hiring' hundreds of robots as teacher aides and classroom playmates and is experimenting with robots that would teach English."
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Teaching With Robots

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  • by Enleth ( 947766 ) <enleth@enleth.com> on Sunday July 11, 2010 @12:20PM (#32867152) Homepage

    It's an European research project that studies social interactions of robots and people, and attempts to get around the uncanny valley [wikipedia.org], among other things. They already have some quite interesting results, although I can't really elaborate on their scientific side, social robots being outside of my field of interest.

    Disclaimer: I know a few LIREC members personally.

  • by Jurily ( 900488 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <yliruj>> on Sunday July 11, 2010 @12:39PM (#32867302)

    With unemployment as high as it is, you want to replace all remaining human occupied jobs with robots? What is wrong with you.

    Maybe we could rethink society [wikipedia.org] so we don't have to do things machines could, and still not starve.

  • by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:06PM (#32867470)

    "Kids need people, not robots"

    Going by apathy and inherent degeneracy of of many people today... most people are robots in one way or another - robots of ideology, political robots, robots of all types in society. Human beings are just "robots" made of meat. That may sound insulting but consider how poor most human thinking is on the whole and how long we've taken to even have progress in the most basic tasks of getting along with one another.

    Quite frankly human beings over-estimate their importance in the large scheme of things, human beings have had millions of years to solve some of the most basic of problems that many of the good nerds(tm) on slashdot know of of not being prejudiced towards others and understanding the importance of subconscious biological processes that determine peoples fates, what they can perceive and even think about. Once you get deep into neurological science and biology of the nervous system you start to really develop a deep appreciation of how little human beings are in control of themselves and how automatic and "robotic", mindless and predictable a lot of their behavior really is.

  • by Iamthecheese ( 1264298 ) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:10PM (#32867492)
    As an unemployed person I tell you that nothing is wrong with me. If giving a society free labor is doing it an injury then something is wrong. Don't bring up anticompetitive dumping, that's only harmful because the agent doing the dumping will raise prices in time. And don't bring up cheap food in Africa, that's only harmful because Africa should be creating its own food and the gifts are not sustainable. If people are unemployed because of robots that means robots are producing all that hose people need -- and to a large extent that's already happening! Right now the government is taking wealth away from highly efficient industries and giving it to people who are producing nothing substantial. And it's happening by the tens of millions of people and by the billions of dollars. they call it "government handouts", "welfare", "social security", "disability relief", and "food stamps" Now there are two ways this can go. Destroy the technology, make our industries less efficient, don't build robots. Then you'll have millions of people doing unnecessary work. Or you can keep building more robots, raise productivity as much as possible, and have those same millions NOT doing unnecessary work. Unless you think that not working is inherently wrong, bad for a person, bad for society (if you do I strongly disagree) it can be said that RIGHT NOW society is moving into the utopia we have dreamed of, wherein robots work and people don't have to.
  • by Overunderrated ( 1518503 ) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @06:55PM (#32869842)
    "... and is experimenting with robots that would teach English." How is a robot going to teach English to children, when google voice is lucky to get half the words correct in a message from a native English speaker?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @10:25PM (#32870828)

    The issue of robot teachers has been a topic of discussion for a long while here in Korea. Korean culture tends to be . . . xenophobic (let's not call them racists) and the media runs a lot of scaremongering about the pernicious effects of Native Speaking English Teachers, who come to Korea to get drunk, molest the children and make off with the womenfolk. While there are always a few bad apples in any group, crime rates among foreigners are proportionately much lower than among native Koreans, but anything to get the white devils out of the motherland is a step in the right direction.

    both of these links have a good overview of what the foreigners- in-Korea bloggers have been writing about the topic, with links to more articles in the bodies of these posts.



  • by korean.ian ( 1264578 ) on Monday July 12, 2010 @12:08AM (#32871440)

    As a former ESL teacher in Seoul who also happens to be a Canadian, that particular group is using the tired rhetoric of minority bashing to protect jobs. It's mostly a group of Korean ESL teachers who want to drag ESL practices in South Korea back to the stone age of rote learning and memorization. I should mention here that the vast majority of Korean ESL teachers I worked with were excellent co-workers and very professional in their work ethics (which is more than can be said for many of the businessmen that I taught).
    The cowboy days of teaching ESL in South Korea are pretty much done and gone, which is good for the industry. The South Korean Ministry of Education needs to get their act together and stop moving the goalposts for foreign teachers though, otherwise all the progress that has been made in the ESL sector will fall by the wayside, and Konglish will rear its ugly head once more.

The other line moves faster.