Building Brains: How Pearson Plans To Automate Education With AI

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On a balmy summer's day in San Francisco, Milena Marinova is sitting on the roof terrace of the offices of Pearson, a company in the midst of a radical transformation from publishing powerhouse to digital-education platform, wrapped in a gray shawl and explaining how she plans to build advanced, deep-learning algorithms that could educate the next generation of students. This is no easy task. With millions of students using its education-software, Pearson has amassed "terrabytes" of data from student homework and even textbooks that have been digitized, data that Marinova is now pulling together to build software that can automatically give students feedback on their work like a teacher would. Instead of just telling them that an answer is right or wrong, a future update to Pearson's math homework tool will give more detailed feedback on how they went wrong in the steps taken to get an answer, Marinova told Forbes in an interview. Pearson is starting with math because the topic is relatively easy to structure and digitize.