AI system passes eighth-grade science test

Scientists at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, in the USA, have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system able to pass an eighth-grade science test. The system, called Aristo, managed to correctly answer more than 90% of the multi-choice questions on the test. As explained by The New York Times, Aristo’s achievement shows ‘significant progress in developing AI that can understand languages and mimic the logic and decision-making of humans’. Four years ago, in a contest among more than 700 computer scientists, AI systems were at most able to score 60% in the eighth-grade science test. Aristo has its limitations; for instance, it was only trained on multiple-choice tests (questions with pictures and diagrams would have required a more complex system). But it is said to demonstrate the ability to make connections and use logic. Scientists remain tempered in their enthusiasm about AI progress in this area, saying that the technology cannot be compared to real human students and their ability to reason. But they note that Aristo’s new abilities could be useful in other products and services, including Internet search engines and record-keeping systems.