By the Blouin News Business staff

Can startups using A.I. remake education?

by in U.S..

Papers to be graded. (Source: Chris Lawrence/flickr)

Papers to be graded. (Source: Chris Lawrence/flickr)

Concrete uses for artificial intelligence (A.I.) continue to multiply as the technology improves. Earlier this week EdTech reported that Gradescope has raised $2.6 million from investors. The firm, started as a side project at U.C. Berkeley in 2012, makes software that helps STEM professors grade exam questions on handwritten tests.

The company currently operates on a “freemium” model — grading simple exam questions is free, while the A.I. feature (which is still a few months away) will be available for a price.  “We want a feature that will offer the convenience of a Scantron without watering down the questions,” said cofounder Arjun Singh. He added, “It will be a feature that uses machine learning to grade the short answer questions on exams.”

The limits of what A.I. can achieve keep getting pushed back. The 2015 BCLS panel Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and the Economy analyzed current uses and future trends, and one panelist also happened to be in the ed-tech startup world. Daniel Fountenberry is the CEO of Books that Grow, which uses A.I. to adapt digital books to students’ individual reading levels.

These startups can do away with repetitive tasks like grading, and tailor the pace of learning to individual levels. Together they have the potential to remake education.