To be more specific, Japan’s National Institute of Informatics is developing an AI program that can pass the country’s college entrance exams. The project, called the Todai Robot Project, began in 2011 with the goals of achieving a high score on the national entrance exams by 2016 and of passing the University of Tokyo entrance exam by 2021. This year, the program scored 511 out of 950, which is an above average result and would give the AI an 80% chance of being accepted into one of Japan’s universities.
In a 2013 interview that can be found on their site, sub-project director Associate Professor Yusuke Miyao explained, “We are researching the process of thinking by developing a computer program that will be able to pass the University of Tokyo entrance exam… What makes the University of Tokyo entrance exam harder is that the rules are less clearly defined… From the perspective of using knowledge and data to answer questions, the university entrance exam requires a more human-like approach to information processing. However, it does not rely as much on common sense as an elementary school exam or everyday life, so it’s a reasonable target for the next step in artificial intelligence research.”
While the national entrance exams are multiple choice, the exam for the University of Tokyo is considered much more challenging and will require short answer responses. Currently, the program still struggles most with physics, which the researchers explain is a result of the complicated language often associated with physics questions. That said, the project at NII underscores the speed with which AI research is accelerating.