In Brief
An artificial intelligence (AI) program developed by the National Institute of Informatics was able to earn above average marks on a college entrance exam. The AI is part of a study to better understand the human thought process.
The Breakthrough

The National Institute of Informatics has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) program that was able to achieve an above-average score on a college entrance exam for the first time ever. The test covered five subjects including Math, Physics, and English.

Ultimately, the Institute is attempting to develop an AI that could perform well enough on Japan’s standardized college entrance exam to be accepted into the University of Tokyo, Japan’s highest-ranked university. And they hope to complete their task by 2021.

To date, the AI received a top score of 511 points out of 950, which is above the national average of 416 points.

According to the institute, the AI has at least an 80% chance of being accepted to 441 private universities and 33 national universities with that score, odds that would make any aspiring student quite happy.

The AI did exceptionally well on math and history-related problems; however, it scored below average on the physics test. The team asserts that this was due to its currently insufficient language-processing capability, which they are now working to improve.

The Implications

Of course, the team isn’t trying to make a machine that can get into university just for the sake of it. Rather, the primary objective of the Institute in developing this AI is to raise “the accuracy of the artificial intelligence techniques accumulated so far, and, together with external researchers, deepen our understanding of human thought.”

The AI has been preparing for these exams since 2011, but its previous efforts in 2013 and 2014 yielded below-average results.