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Ministry promotes robot to teach students English

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Oct 02,2005
The days of hiring robots as English tutors in Korea may not be too far away. The Korea Advanced Intelligent Robot Association, an organization developing artificial intelligence technology under the Ministry of Information and Communication, announced yesterday it has begun operating, on a test basis, robots that can help young students pronounce English words.
According to the ministry, 64 such robots will be supplied to apartment complexes in Seoul, Bucheon and Bundang in Gyeonggi province by the year's end. Once testing is complete, the ministry and association plan to improve on the robots' weaknesses based on feedback from users, and to commercialize them as early as late next year at around 1 million won ($960) each.
According to an official with the ministry, the current robot model can perform basic tasks such as reading stories to children and teaching them how to pronounce certain words in English. However, the official added that if the demand for the robots rises, more complicated teaching functions geared toward older students and adults, as well as more subjects such as mathematics, will be added.
"We hope that tutoring by robots perks up the interest in studying among young students," the official said. "With that, it could also help ease the cost of private education for families."
Those who have high-speed Internet access can connect the robots to the Net, and then download contents of their choice from the ministry's Web site.



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