English linguistics students at the University of Marburg are the first in Germany to be taught by a robot. Humanoid robot Yuki is the assistant of professor Jurgen Handke, helping out by testing students and hosting student consultations.
Yuki only began ‘teaching’ in the last year, but is the outcome of Professor Handke’s decades of interest in digital teaching. By allowing Yuki to perform tasks at the front of the classroom, Handke is able to be more efficient in his classes and spend more time interacting with individual students.
While ‘his’ AI is only low-level and ‘he’ cannot travel without human assistance, ‘his’ knowledge being improved all the time.
The future of education?
Some students enthused about Yuki’s assistance, saying that ‘he’ helps them to learn and that they find themselves working harder as a result of ‘his’ presence at the front of the room.
However, others are less enthusiastic: some are concerned by the implications for their employment prospects in an automated future, others find ‘him’ to be unnecessary or even frightening.