Japan: Robot to take top university exam

Japanese scientist can now talk to robots Japanese Tokyo University robot creator Tomotaka Takahashi chats with a humanoid robot

Scientists in Japan are trying to create a computer program smart enough to pass the University of Tokyo's entrance exam, it appears.

The project, led by Noriko Arai at Japan's National Institute of Informatics, is trying to see how fast artificial intelligence might replace the human brain so that people can start training in completely new areas. "If society as a whole can see a possible change coming in the future, we can get prepared now," she tells the Kyodo news agency.

But there's also another purpose behind the Can A Robot Get Into The University of Tokyo? project, which began in 2011. If machines cannot replace human beings, then "we need to clarify what is missing and move to develop the technology," says Noriko Arai.

Last year, a robot passed a mock test for Japan's most competitive university entrance exam - but fell short of a 50% score. In a recent interview with the Observer newspaper, Google's director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, predicted computers would outsmart humans by 2029.

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