How Long Will It Take a Robot to Ace Japan's Hardest Entrance Exam?

Posted by Liz Dwyer

robot
It's well-known around the world that it's pretty tough to get into Japan's prestigious Tokyo University. Preparing for the school’s entrance exam requires years of cramming, and every year the dreams of thousands of high school seniors deflate when they don't pass the uber-difficult tests. Now Japan's artificial intelligence researchers are on a mission to create a robot that can ace the exam.

Japan’s Fujitsu Laboratories and National Institute of Informatics are teaming up for the "Can a Robot Pass the University of Tokyo (Todai) Entrance Exam?" project. Their goal is to create an artificial brain that's first able to pass the nation's general college admissions exam—which is like a much tougher version of the SAT and covers more subjects—by 2016. However, since getting into Todai requires passing an even tougher math exam, they hope to have the robot ready to conquer that test until 2021. (Yes, the exam really is that tough!) 

If the plots of The Terminator and The Matrix are floating through your subconscious, just imagine the stress of being one of those students in 2021 taking a high stakes exam that will decide your future—and you're sitting next to a robot. But, Fujitsu and the NII say it's all for the betterment of society. Ultimately, they hope to use the technology they develop to solve real-world problems and make it easier for people to "use sophisticated mathematical analysis tools."

Photo via (cc) Flickr user KB35