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A Robot In Every Korean Kindergarten By 2013?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the here-robot-teachers-are-normal-already dept.

Education 136

kkleiner writes "Elementary school children in Korea in the cities of Masan and Daegu are among the first to be exposed to EngKey, a robotic teacher. The arrival of EngKey to Masan and Daegu is just a small step in the mechanization of Korean classrooms: the Education Ministry wants all 8400 kindergartens in the nation to have robotic instructors by the end of 2013. Plans are already under way to place 830 bots in preschools by year's end. EngKey can hold scripted conversations with students to help them improve their language skills, or a modified version can act as a telepresence tool to allow distant teachers to interact with children."

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136 comments

this is insane (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109146)

and is down to the cost of energy vs the cost of people . People are taxed at 40%.

What they really are working on in Korea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34110712)

...is a robot babe in every guys bed.

This basically means (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109148)

... that you can now pwn an entire generation?

Re:This basically means (3, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109210)

Nah. By starting out in Korean classrooms you can more or less guarantee that none of them will be named Sarah Connor.

Re:This basically means (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109510)

Nah. By starting out in Korean classrooms you can more or less guarantee that none of them will be named Sarah Connor.

yes,i cann't agree with it more.\

http://www.foilcontainer.com

Re:This basically means (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109576)

Nah. By starting out in Korean classrooms you can more or less guarantee that none of them will be named Sarah Connor.

Aren't there enough robots in N. Korea?

Re:This basically means (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109610)

Nah. By starting out in Korean classrooms you can more or less guarantee that none of them will be named Sarah Connor.

WOW.--and to think....all of you suckers spent yer parent's good earned money on going to University and college (I payed my own way--lol....see ya!!!!! suckers...heheh)------FOOD FIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:This basically means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34110006)

Samsung makes robotic turrets [youtube.com] , they just need to be mounted on autonomous vehicles. As long as Google [googleisskynet.com] doesn't open an office there we're safe.

Too late. [informationweek.com] Save yourselves!

Re:This basically means (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34110524)

'ahem' I for one, welcome our robotic overl-...

<clicks on link />

Awww, they're SOOOOOo CUTE! Like little penguins!

I'm still not sure whether this news is devastating or awesome, but I'd totally want to be raised by one of those critters.
The summary makes it sound like they're going to replace human teachers, but looks like they're just going to replace those little language-learner tape recorder thingies.

Would the grade sheet say ... (3, Funny)

Musically_ut (1054312) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109158)

Your child has failed the Turing test.

Re:Would the grade sheet say ... (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109248)

Tell me about it bro. My CSC101 was... oh wait..

Re:Would the grade sheet say ... (2)

creimer (824291) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109294)

You mean the Turing test in the sex ed class? Boys who plug their joystick into an electrical outlet should automatically fail.

All Korean classrooms? (3, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109178)

I'm assuming this means all South Korean classrooms. I dread to think what kind of robots Kim Jong Il would want to put in classrooms...

Re:All Korean classrooms? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109192)

Yeah, had to go to CNN to find that one out, even TFA was just saying "Korea".

Re:All Korean classrooms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109198)

Very happy robots to make for good Juche child-hygiene. Robot made with Juche instruction set always know correct answer & provide many labors without require rice or kimchi.

Re:All Korean classrooms? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109334)

I dread to think what kind of robots Kim Jong Il would want to put in classrooms...

I am betting they will have lotus notes and a machine gun.

Re:All Korean classrooms? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109406)

II dread to think what kind of robots Kim Jong Il would want to put in classrooms...

I was under the impression, that Kim Jong II transformed school children into robots, in his classrooms . . .

This can happen only in Korea (5, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109184)

Have you seen a Korean child? Think of a ragdoll cat. You put it somewhere (with books and toys in hand) and you can safely come back a couple of hours later. It will be there and you will not hear a squeak in the meantime. I have no idea how they do it and I am not sure if I should admire it or get shivers from it.

In any case, a robot will not survive 15 minutes in a classroom with average European (or american for that matter) kids. I know what my daughter will do. If she cannot get her hands on a screwdriver she will craft herself a replacement out of whatever she can find and start disassembling the thing until she has figured out what makes it tick or it is so dead that she will lose interest. That is probably still better than the reaction of her brother who would simply use it for target practice.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (-1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109206)

Have you considered cultural reasons for your childrens' destructive and violent urges? Maybe it's you who's the cause? And where the HELL do you get off stereotyping nonwhites like that? Koreans are like inanimate objects? WTF dude, in what sort of universe is this acceptable in public?

Re:This can happen only in Korea (2, Insightful)

Der Huhn Teufel (688813) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109268)

I know this is the internet, but come on, that post reeked of sarcasm. No need to go on the offensive.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109280)

If he's free to write crap (sarcastic or not) that touches a nerve, nobody is supposed to say anything about it?

That's not how I think of freedom of speech.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109522)

Wow, you're doing some impressive mental gymnastics there. You should be given the golden gag award.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (5, Insightful)

seifried (12921) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109274)

What's destructive/violent about disassembling something to learn how it works? Oddly enough it's what I did as a child, and now as an adult (this skill is particularly valuable in the security industry for finding and fixing vulnerabilities). As for the target practice comment I look forward to teaching my kids how to throw accurately (as an adult I can underhand lob a bag of garbage a good 20 feet into the trash can outside, saving me about half of the walk which is especially practical in a Canadian winter).

Please don't teach children that it is wrong to be curious (e.g. disassembling things). We need people who actually care about how stuff works (hint: you're using a computer. not invented by the timid and afraid to break things)

Re:This can happen only in Korea (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109366)

Neil DeGrasse Tyson had a great bit on this, which I cannot find right now, where he encourages parents to let their kids take things apart, let them learn. He argues that kids are born scientists. They don't believe in shit like horoscopes and they want to experiment on their world, their surroundings. So he says that when kids want to take something apart, and it is dangerous/expensive/etc, let them, let the experiment run its course. Let them keep and nurture that natural curiosity that is so key to being a scientist.

I think too many people who see only the superficial level idealize the Asian education/cultural systems because they see the children as being so much more quiet and respectful, and they think that is good. Ok, maybe so, but at what cost? For the last 15-20 years Japan has been having a major crisis in their educational system that they aren't producing creative thinkers. They produce conformity very well and this comes at the cost of creativity. They've been working to rectify it, but it is hard since (as we know) changing an educational system isn't easy and there's cultural issues here too.

We've not found the perfect way to raise kids yet, and probably never will, humans are complex. However you need to look carefully at the pros and cons of various things before jumping on them as being The One True Way(tm). So Korea has an effective way to teaching kids to be very quiet and behaved. Ok, great, at what cost and using what methods? If you can't answer that, then you really aren't in a position to say it is a good way of doing thing.

I have to agree with Dr. Tyson: The innate curiosity children have is important, and should be encouraged. Wondering about the world and trying to learn is how we've gotten to where we are. Sitting down and being content with what you are given gets us nowhere.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109484)

The problem is not really in the school. It start out when the children first ask their parents why the sky is blue or where babies come from.

I have yet to see a single parent handle a situation like that gracefully. Most children stop asking questions before they reach first grade.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109640)

Being married to a Korean woman, and having lived and visited South Korea many times, I can speak with some authority. Pretty much everyone you will meet in South Korea is "quiet and respectful". Part of their culture is being respectful to others. If you act like a lout and a buffoon over there, you will soon be shunned by _everyone_. Your actions have a social consequence, something that is sadly lacking in many western countries.

Another thing is that almost everyone you meet has been educated to a high level. Even the workers in fast food restaurants tend to have degrees. A consequence of this high level of education is that you _have_ to study hard as a child and get qualifications just to survive. Another consequence of this high level of general education is that people are more refined in their manners and actions towards others.

Laziness is abhorrent to Koreans. It's not tolerated. They have a strong work ethic, which may seem like anathema to the Western World, but it produces far more capable and responsible people.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109756)

Such a society can be seen as admirible, but on the flipside you make it sound like the concept of "work-life balance" would be utterly alien to most Koreans. The notion that you are worthless if you aren't putting in 20 hours unpaid overtime a week is as destructive as the (supposed) sense of entitlement and 'laziness' in western cultures.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34110426)

The notion that you are worthless if you aren't putting in 20 hours unpaid overtime a week is as destructive as the (supposed) sense of entitlement and 'laziness' in western cultures.

By what standard? I mean, I can point to metrics like life expectancy and productivity to show that such an attitude isn't destructive - what can you point to in order to substantiate the claim that it is?

Re:This can happen only in Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34110730)

The GP said nothing about working never-ending amounts of overtime every week. That's the Japanese stereotype. (oh noes, not all asians are the same?!)

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34110076)

hey have a strong work ethic, which may seem like anathema to the Western World, but it produces far more capable and responsible people.

That seems to be a common claim, about how Americans are lazy, but the facts prove otherwise. Americans tend to have longer work weeks than most of the developed world. This is likely due to so many Americans being self-employed, and nothing makes you want to work 70 hours a week more than owning the company. *Some* Americans are lazy, just as I am sure that not everyone in South Korea is a model employee.

Yes, as an average American, I'm loud, fat, overly-friendly and opinionated. The average American worker, however, is not lazy, and it quite productive. This is likely due to the emphasis we put on originality and creativity in our culture. It is messy, and sometimes destructive, but highly productive. It doesn't always make us the best factory workers, but it has worked out pretty well to make us good problem solvers.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34111028)

"educated to a high level"

I take it it's even worse than the American schools that force you to take classes which have nothing to do with your desired profession instead of teaching the basics early on and in high school letting them take classes which are relevant to them, then?

"Even the workers in fast food restaurants tend to have degrees."

That pretty much just proves my point.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

jonoid (863970) | more than 3 years ago | (#34111180)

I respect your knowledge of Korea based on your travels there and your wife, but Korea changes pretty fast. Having lived here for the past two years I can say that the "quiet and respectful" thing is going out the window. They act like that around guests of the country but around each other and around people that they are comfortable with this doesn't really exist. This is a good thing since it shows comfort.

You're partially correct about acting like a buffoon, however, if you are initially respectful and establish a certain level of respect then afterwards you can start being a bit more rowdy.

Laziness is abhorrent to Koreans. It's not tolerated. They have a strong work ethic, which may seem like anathema to the Western World, but it produces far more capable and responsible people.

If by strong work ethic you mean working longer hours but getting less done, then yes. Koreans are AT work insane hours sometimes but are not working nearly as hard as hard-working North Americans. It's the appearance of work that is important, rather than actually being productive.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

dcw3 (649211) | more than 3 years ago | (#34111962)

Pretty much everyone you will meet in South Korea is "quiet and respectful".

You've obviously not been around the bars, or driven the highways there. I lived there for six years, and was also married to one. They can be some of the loudest, most aggressive people you've ever met...based upon my anecdotal evidence of having visited roughly 40 countries.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

Neptunes_Trident (1452997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109290)

A childs curiosity is a natural thing. I would hardly call it violence or destructive unless you yourself value artificial life over human beings. Which begs me to wonder just what universe YOU may be in. I'll keep this short and sweet. PEOPLE, HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS That is what we are and that is how we relate. If a particular culture wishes to subject their offspring to this kind of learning experience, so be it. But as far as humane reasoning exists, I am pretty confident that MOST cultures will still opt for people being teachers. I would never seek out nor allow a robot to tell me or my children what to do or learn, ever. BTW do you even HAVE any children... DUDE?

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109382)

I don't have any children, nor do we plan to ever have them but even so I think the idea of robots teaching our future is insane.
Teaching robots will create robots.

As for the 'violence' of disassembling such a robot... Well, there you have it.
THAT is what school is about, teaching children how to behave in a social group.

You try big mouthing the teacher, the teacher let their authority reign...
You disassemble your robot teacher, it stops functioning.

Guess which of the two is the most important lesson...

And as a matter in fact, if I would have children and one of them would disassemble a robot I'd say 'good job', 'clever kid for doing that without electrocuting yourself' But now we're going to put you in a 'real' school and let me see you try the same on a human, good luck.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34110488)

You try big mouthing the teacher, the teacher let their authority reign...
You disassemble your robot teacher, it stops functioning.

Maybe when you were a young school-boy back during the Great Depression. These days the teachers dissasemble more easily than the robots.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (0, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109394)

Destroying a robot with a screwdriver is destructive. Using it for target practice is violent. Deal with it, long-nose.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109492)

So what, punish (and put on pills if that does not work) every child which has a curiosity how things work? Punish (and put on pills if that does not work) every child that would question the authority of an adult.

Wonderful idea. That has been tried by the way and is the standard tactics of lazy and incompetent teachers especially in some countries. The ballpark figures for the UK are that more than 25% of children with special statements have them for exactly that reason - their teacher at some point was too lazy and incompetent to enforce authority and went for the easy way out (that was on the BBC and a few major newspapers by the way, I am not inventing that number)

The result of such laziness is also well known - it is well known which countries end up exporting intellectual labour or importing brains.

No thanks, I would rather have my 2 and a half year old disassembling toys and picking locks (which she does) and my 8 year old try his luck in an authority contest with any new teacher he has. By the way he won in reception and year one vs both teacher and headmaster leading to the point where the incompetent dolts in those schools trying to stitch him with a statement. He has lost the contest with every teacher since in his new school. Lots of headache for me, but hey, that is what children are for - to give parents a headache once in a while.

And going back to the original topic - I cannot see anyone growing up while allowed to question authority and tinker with things not making a mockery of a robot teacher. That may work only in a society which has considerably harder concepts of seniority and authority than EU/US.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (-1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34111940)

Look buddy, if your second child's first response to a new stimulus is to destroy it with a screwdriver, then you have problems. If your second child's response to a new stimulus is to destroy it with guns, then you have REAL problems. I'm going to go out on a limb and say the common factor in these defective responses is YOU. Just a quick question: do you live in Arizona? Did you vote for Angle? If so, that answers a hell of a lot of questions right there.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109412)

I have a daughter, and I don't know about you, but I would not hesitate to put her through the meat grinder if she ever damaged my $4500 desktop computer or any of the surrounding computer equipment.

I keep the meat grinder in the same room with a sign on it saying "YOU'RE NEXT!" just to vindicate my threats. It works pretty well, as my daughter stays well away from my office, often preferring to spend her time wimpering and hiding behind her mother's sexy legs.

What you say about the education experience is absolutely correct, though. How would a robot successfully discipline my child? It would be frightening to think that we would start training children at a young age how to game the system... CEOs are already bad enough!

$4500 desktop? (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109520)

I would not hesitate to put her through the meat grinder if she ever damaged my $4500 desktop computer or any of the surrounding computer equipment.

Your computer alone costs $4500? Without counting the peripherals?

The 1980s called and they want their $4500 desktops back.

Re:$4500 desktop? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109928)

What? You don't think you can put together a $4500 computer?

Re:$4500 desktop? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34111140)

I could, but it would be pretty hard to do unless you're going for a computer packed with as much garbage as possible.

Re:$4500 desktop? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34111286)

Anonymous Coward said he’d put his daughter through a meat grinder, literally, and you believe he’s being serious about the $4500 computer?

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109524)

How would a robot successfully discipline your child?

How would a human teatcher successfully discipline your child?

It is not the teachers job to discipline your child. You should have made sure that the child behaves before you leave it to others.
You should be happy that your children have not been thrown out of school.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109734)

How would a robot successfully discipline your child?

EX-TER-MI-NATE!

What about TV? (2, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109546)

If a particular culture wishes to subject their offspring to this kind of learning experience, so be it

As opposed to a culture that subjects their offspring to insufficiently trained, badly paid, undermotivated human teachers? And after school they sit in front of the TV?

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34111088)

"unless you yourself value artificial life over human beings"

It depends on if the artificial life has feelings or not. They don't now, but people pretending that humans are the most important entities in existence is wearing thin.

"I would never seek out nor allow a robot to tell me or my children what to do or learn, ever."

What if they are more intelligent than a human could ever be? It's a "what if" question, nothing more. That would just be stubborn.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (3, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109402)

Ragdoll is an American cat breed you dolt.

Uncommon in Europe, but very popular with American families because it will hadrly ever scratch back. It also has a strange, uncatlike characteristic reaction when you pick it up. It just goes limp until you put it down. As a result kids drag them around like ragdolls. That is where the name comes from.

It also tends to pretty much sit where you put it and you can pick it up from the same place a few hours later. Once again, I have seen a ragdoll make himself comfortable in a position that my old siamese would have never staid in.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109472)

It also has a strange, uncatlike characteristic reaction when you pick it up. It just goes limp until you put it down.

Kind of describes your wife when we're having sex.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (0, Troll)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34110662)

Don't forget the practice of disabling amputation known euphemistically as "declawing" - performed despite cats being able to learn quite quickly how relatively unprotected our skin is (doesn't mean it won't scratch sometimes, still, when provoked...so don't do that) and able, mostly, to adopt a dedicated surface for claws sharpening. And despite how the procedure actually doubles the rates of abandonment.

(^fits with how that place is also enthusiastic about adhd/ritalin/etc.; doesn't make it a shining example in this discussion)

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109422)

Butthurt much? Cultures ARE different, which results in different behaviors.

One has no obligation to view ANY culture with reverence.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109512)

You are an idiot. He was merely demonstrating how incredibly well-behaved South Korean kids are. Specifically them -- not 'nonwhites'. Any racism in arivanov's post has been introduced by YOU.

In contrast, American kids tend to be violent and destructive. I'd much rather live in South Korea than America, any day. (That said, I think it's a good thing to try to find out how things work -- in my youth I often destroyed stuff in exactly this way!)

Re:This can happen only in Korea (0, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109538)

Koreans are like inanimate objects?

Please take your strawman elsewhere. The GP clearly only said that Korean kids are animals, not that all Koreans are like inanimate objects. Also, why assume the GP is white, and a "dude"? For all you know, he or she may be also be Japanese (Korea is a province of Japan, right)?

Maybe you should have paid closer attention to Reading Comprehension FunBot #6237?

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

Mazzie (672533) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109558)

Its pretty obvious that you don't have kids.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109654)

They are., I live here. Step off.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (0, Flamebait)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109792)

Shut the fuck up, you nonce.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109226)

> her brother who would simply use it for target practice.

Yes, that sounds very American, the first reaction is to kill it.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109242)

> Have you seen a Korean child?

Yes and it doesn't even remotely reflect what you mention. Normally the kids at a very young age are treated like kings. To western standards it can look like they are spoiled brats, but it appears to work.

Other then that, they are no different then other children. If you are seeing violent destructive children in kindergarten then it must be something else, as I have never seen it.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (2, Insightful)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109272)

I'm sure their sugar intake is 1/3 of the American and European ones.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109298)

Have you seen a Korean child? Think of a ragdoll cat. You put it somewhere (with books and toys in hand) and you can safely come back a couple of hours later. It will be there and you will not hear a squeak in the meantime.

I see that you haven't raised a Korean child.

Listen, dude, I don't know what the hell you're smoking about (maybe you just found one highly aberrant kid and assumed all Koreans are like that), but Koreans are just human. Good kids will do their homework, eat their supper, clean themselves, and go to bed. Bad kids will inhale buthane (it makes them high), pwn Americans in WoW, drink and have sex. Most kids are somewhere in between.

We don't have a magic recipe for making our kids behave like a civilized human being. You know, if we had such a thing, we'd have conquered the world by now, don't you think?

* A proud (but exhausted) father of two Korean kids.

* As for TFA, shouldn't our government spend their tax on getting *human* teachers? You know, the kind of guys who can actually feed and take care of young kids until their parents get home at 10 pm. Yeah I know I'm asking too much for our politicians...

Re:This can happen only in Korea (2, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109534)

We don't have a magic recipe for making our kids behave like a civilized human being. You know, if we had such a thing, we'd have conquered the world by now, don't you think?

Civilized != Unruly and vice versa. A kid that will refuse to sit in one place and read a book when told and will go wondering off around and exploring his surroundings may still be perfectly civilised. A kid that will disassemble her robot tutor is not uncivilised, she is curious. A kid that makes a hellish racket when playing may not necessarily be uncivilised and so on.

As far as conquering, questioning authority and independence are essential attributes to a conquest mentality. It is exactly the opposite to what you are inferring to as "civlised". Good example is medieval Japan which folded onto itself and staid stagnant for centuries. It was civilised to the bone. Super duper civilised society where everyone knew its name and place. Question authority? Yeah right, where is that blunt bamboo saw for your neck?

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34110798)

A kid that will refuse to sit in one place and read a book when told and will go wondering off around and exploring his surroundings may still be perfectly civilised.

No, a kid that cannot sit in one place and read a book when told is most certainly uncivilised. That is the very definition of undisciplined.

A kid that will disassemble her robot tutor is not uncivilised, she is curious.

If the robot tutor gets put back together again – and works – I don’t have a problem with it. If not... the child’s natural curiousity is going to need to take a back seat until he or she has figured out that simply going around and destroying stuff isn’t civilised.

I’ve known a few Korean children and they could sit still and be quiet when necessary. They could also be loud and energetic, when it was appropriate. In fact they seemed extremely well-behaved and disciplined without seeming at all like the little zombie children you described.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

4v4l0n42 (897836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109316)

In any case, a robot will not survive 15 minutes in a classroom with average European (or american for that matter) kids. I know what my daughter will do. If she cannot get her hands on a screwdriver she will craft herself a replacement out of whatever she can find and start disassembling the thing until she has figured out what makes it tick or it is so dead that she will lose interest. That is probably still better than the reaction of her brother who would simply use it for target practice.

However this may be true for some children, today, you fail to recognise the cultural importance of this phenomenon. It is ultimately how we educate our children and the environment they live in that determines what they do. In TFA is described how these robotic teachers will be in support of their human counterparts, they will not substitute them. It is a necessary step, because on one hand AIs need need to develop significantly if they want to handle complex situations on the spot (children behaviour); on the other hand, the cultural spirit of the society needs to upgrade to the point that children will be interested in learning this way. Not to mention the (manly) nonsensical fear that people display in regards to robots, especially in the "Western countries".

It's a double process, technology and culture have to grow together, symbiotically. Let's not rush it, but let's not ignore the immense help that these possibilities could bring. A robot can explain something to a child 20 times over, in different ways, accessing databases of information beyond human capabilities, without getting pissed, bored, or angry. Children can learn without feeling stupid or ashamed if they make mistakes. Robotic teachers do not try to impose religious dogmas and do not abuse of children, unless they are specifically programmed to do so.

The problem is not the robots, but how they are programmed and tested. I propose that the software they run on must be publicly accessible, free and open source, as well as the database they feed from.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (2, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109466)

You are missing the point.

There is nothing wrong with using computers and robots to educate kids on a one by one basis. They are priceless to that regard. The same 8 year old I referred to is spending up to an hour a day with things like Mathletics, Spellodrome and educational multimedia. That however is one to one.

The idea to put a robot into the dominant position in a human social environment which is a classroom is beyond idiotic. A teacher is not just an explainer and illustrator. A teacher is an example to the students. It is the "leader of the pack" and any teacher not ready to assume that position should never try to cross the classroom door. Even if a robot manages to assume that position, which I doubt, I really do not want to be anywhere near the kids coming out of that classroom.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34110796)

Even if a robot manages to assume that position, which I doubt, I really do not want to be anywhere near the kids coming out of that classroom.

Of course not - such kids are bound to be significantly different than preceding generations. Different is scary, isn't it? The question of what kinds of differences will occur is irrelevant to the ultra-conservative mind; all that matters is that change = bad.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109328)

Have you seen a Korean child? Think of a ragdoll cat. You put it somewhere (with books and toys in hand) and you can safely come back a couple of hours later. It will be there and you will not hear a squeak in the meantime. I have no idea how they do it and I am not sure if I should admire it or get shivers from it.

In any case, a robot will not survive 15 minutes in a classroom with average European (or american for that matter) kids. I know what my daughter will do. If she cannot get her hands on a screwdriver she will craft herself a replacement out of whatever she can find and start disassembling the thing until she has figured out what makes it tick or it is so dead that she will lose interest. That is probably still better than the reaction of her brother who would simply use it for target practice.

They're really not much different than American kids. They're just under a lot more pressure form the school and their parents. The big education debate right now in Korea is getting rid of corporal punishment. By the way, I teach English in Korea.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (2, Interesting)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109330)

This is admitted by government and more wealthy families rather openly as a huge problem. Schools in South-Korea are essentially institutions that destroy creativity by design - they are designed to produce robotic-like work drones for huge South-Korean conglomerates.
An average school day for young children in South-Korea is about 12-14 work hours. First at school, then at tutoring school, then at home. There was a great documentary about the issue on BBC about a year ago, where they showed that average day, and noted that even prime minister of the time spoke of this system as something bad, and something they want to change. Document noted that more wealthy families actively send their children out of the country specifically to avoid the system, and mentality that comes with it.

Essentially it's a mix of local culture and the desire of major conglomerates to have cheap and robotic, yet educated workforce.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (2, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34110014)

Schools in South-Korea are essentially institutions that destroy creativity by design - they are designed to produce robotic-like work drones for huge South-Korean conglomerates. ... ...a great documentary about the issue on BBC about a year ago, where they showed that average day, and noted that even prime minister of the time spoke of this system as something bad, and something they want to change.

So if the question is "how do you not produce robot children", the answer is "install robot teachers"?

Re:This can happen only in Korea (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109526)

Vs. the model of a perfect average child "diagnosed" with ADHD, drugged with Ritalin, etc.?

(one can wonder from where does the desirability of ragdoll cats come from)

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109584)

What the hell are you talking about? My wife and I have been teaching children here in Korea for six years. The children here can NOT be left alone as you suggest..the same sort of damage will be the result. The difference here was in supervised classrooms, where if children act out, the teacher is free to whack them with a switch (yes, they still have them here). The law about corporal punishment of students has changed here, in the past month, with mixed results.

I think that the machine will be gathering dust very quickly no matter where it shows up first.

BTW I've never used a switch on a child....but they knew I *could*.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (3, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109750)

Would your children disassemble a cat?

I have a 12 week old kitten, recently visited by three small children (aged 5, 3 and 6 months). The 3 and 5 year old were very gentle with her and could basically play with her unsupervised (and did so at several points). These were not unusually well behaved British children.

You don't have to pass the Turing test; you just have to get your robot to simulate as much agency and intention as a small animal and they won't destroy it on purpose. Children raised properly aren't mindlessly destructive.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

incognito84 (903401) | more than 3 years ago | (#34110146)

After teaching English in both the Korean and the Japanese public school systems for years, I honestly have no idea where these stereotypes come from. The kids in this part of the world don't have as many bad influences outside of the classroom and they do spend a lot more time with their heads in the books but they're equally as zany, off the wall and out of control as their Western counterparts. They still skip class, smoke and get into all sorts of other trouble outside school, especially here in Westernized Japan where the precursors to gang/swarming behaviour are already taking route. The main difference between the UK, Canada and Korea is that kids spend so much time studying and are under so much more pressure to perform on academic tests that they really don't have time to be silly.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

jonoid (863970) | more than 3 years ago | (#34111054)

Have you seen a Korean child? Think of a ragdoll cat. You put it somewhere (with books and toys in hand) and you can safely come back a couple of hours later. It will be there and you will not hear a squeak in the meantime.

Have YOU seen a Korean child? Teaching in a Korean elementary school for the past couple of years, I have seen many. And they are not at all the way you describe them. In some cases they get even more wild than North American kids (though this depends on their parenting as well).

Korean kids can be just as rambunctious as any other kid in the world. It all comes down to how their parents and their teachers discipline them. This image that North Americans have of Asian kids (which I had before I came here) is totally false and ridiculous.

Re:This can happen only in Korea (1)

Weedhopper (168515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34111852)

As myself and as many others have replied in response to you, you're basing your opinion on an isolated data point(s).

If anything, Korean children under a certain age are more unruly and undisciplined than their Western counterparts. One of the first things a Korean parent remarks on in the US is how remarkably well behaved young American children are.

Oooh. (1)

JustFisher (1123293) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109194)

Why? Why I was born in 1975? I want to be a korean child!!!1

The best job now (-1, Troll)

linhy123 (1933982) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109200)

With the increase of population, the employment problem becomes more and more serious.But so much people start to think what the best job he or she can do .In my opinion,I think now the network trade is become more popular,such as you can sale , coach bags [coach-bags-outlet.com] , jordan shoes [jordanshoes-sale.com] and so on ,This sounds very simple,you can have a try.

refacer (1)

refacer (1933966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109216)

Will teachers get fired?

Re:refacer (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109292)

Korean people I know work very long hours, and often travel a long way to and from work. Many of them rely on their kids grandparents for child care. So maybe part of this is to keep the costs down for extended care into the evenings.

Re:refacer (1)

JustFisher (1123293) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109462)

They will be hacked out, backup'ed and upgraded! All heil to robots!

WHO LOVES YOU BABY ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109224)

Lil Kim Il does baby !!

Uunify the Korean Penisula TODAY !! so we can send our boys home TOMORROW !!

DMZ is so 1950s !! And what is it doing in my ROUTER ??

Park, #1

You too sexy for your shirt, too sexy for your shi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109490)

rt, too sexy, yeah!

Right said, Fred. Believe it or not it's Kim's favorite tune.

Begs the question (1)

Wynter Stark (1933332) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109320)

...Just what kind of Apple do you give a robot teacher anyway?

Re:Begs the question (2, Funny)

Genda (560240) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109346)

Why a Machintosh you silly git...

Right to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109460)

I think we should be told how many of our current teachers are robots!

Might help in our steps towards the stars, one day (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109482)

Yes, such robots seem somewhat superficial now (where are all the old people / couldn't they us them?); perhaps the rate of progress made many of us think in terms of quickly showing tangible benefits & utility of something (which was rarely the case, for most things around us)

But "descendants" of such robots might prove crucially important in one of our "ultimate" endeavors [wikipedia.org] ... after they've been sufficiently improved, most likely over the course of centuries. Well, those might be first steps of that process.

Fitting, considering the region is revving up its space programs? ;p

(yes, hibernation being also a possibility - question is, at what cost of mass to support one grown human vs. equivalent mass of fully automated systems meant to kickstart the colony; and the crew would be usually of skeleton size at most anyway, with robots certainly still crucial)

Re:Might help in our steps towards the stars, one (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 3 years ago | (#34110458)

Its not just the robots - its also the users. So we have these kids that are growing up being taught by robots. Just like how Generation Y embraced the internet and turned it into what it is today, let us wait and see what dreams and innovations these kids make by being exposed to them, making robots a normalcy.

Excuse me? (2, Insightful)

sosaited (1925622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109548)

EngKey can hold scripted conversations with students to help them improve their language skills

Scripted conversations are better compared to normal human conversations in helping young children develop language skills? What a joke.

Re:Excuse me? (3, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109990)

Scripted conversations are better compared to normal human conversations in helping young children develop language skills? What a joke.

Yes. It will of great value when the children enter the help desk and telemarketing sector.

The pleasure is all mine (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109624)

Producer: You are an incredible robot, A.W.E.S.O.M.-O. I was just wondering, are you by chance a *pleasure* model?
A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: What?
Producer: Have you been programmed to satisfy urges of humans?
A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: A.W.E.S.O.M.-O does not understand.
Producer: Let me show you what I mean.

Typical Korea (3, Insightful)

Ventriloquate (551798) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109630)

in three to five years, Engkey will mature enough to replace native speakers.

This is another one of Korea's stupid ideas to save a quick buck. At one point they tried to have Korean teachers replace the foreign teachers saying that they could do the job just as well. Obviously, it didn't work. Not only because they have poor hiring standards across the board (cheapest = best) but also because it's very difficult to teach a language without native speaking knowledge.

Robots teaching kids? Stupid and destined to fail.

Wait, what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109930)

This is another one of Korea's stupid ideas to save a quick buck. At one point they tried to have Korean teachers replace the foreign teachers saying that they could do the job just as well. Obviously, it didn't work. Not only because they have poor hiring standards across the board (cheapest = best) but also because it's very difficult to teach a language without native speaking knowledge./p>

Poor hiring standards are one thing... But I really disagree with the rest of your post. You are implying that one can't teach [language] well if they aren't native speakers? Once you know a language well enough (IE: have the masters degree in it), you certainly can teach it very well regardless of whether you are a native speaker or not. It even helps if you aren't one (You know what kind of things were hardest to learn, what kind of errors are easiest to make, etc.). My english is far from perfect but I think it is pretty decent considering that this is my second language and I haven't really studied this since the elementary school (very little in high school and a course or two in college). I've never had a teacher who would've been a native speaker, for that matter.

Harry Harlow Lives (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109738)

Supposedly Harry Harlow [wikipedia.org] died in 1881, but substitute rhesus monkeys for the Korean kindergartners and this could be one of his experiments.

It's a good thing they are just there to assist! (1)

ovette_pta (1930698) | more than 3 years ago | (#34110018)

I'm a tech savvy guy, and I like the idea of these robots being there to 'assist' teachers in educating students in a specific subject matter. It will be like an ice-breaker for these little kids while learning as well.

However I'm a little bit disinclined about the idea that robots would entirely replace a human teacher, maybe not this time around. There is no equivalent algorithm to represent the very complex human emotion.

We help Americans find jobs and prosperity in Asia. Visit http://www.pathtoasia.com/jobs [pathtoasia.com] for details.

Design (1)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 3 years ago | (#34110120)

The head part sort of looks like a space marine. I think I see where this is going.

Meme central (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34110470)

I think I see where this is going too...

In Korea, only young people have robo...

I for one welcome our new child-rearing robot overlor...

In Soviet Korea, robot constructs y...

Never mind... too many choices!

Obligatory (1)

shikaisi (1816846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34110360)

I, for one, welcome our robotic Korean kindergarten overlords.

Ragdoll Cats? (1)

mattwrock (1630159) | more than 3 years ago | (#34111014)

That is an interesting metaphor because in America, our Kindergarten teachers are more like cat herders!

Robot Child (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34111392)

I'm very glad about this. My Robot Child has been having a hard time at school, because it has different needs than everyone else. Now maybe it'll be happy...?

So advance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34111892)

Robotic teachers will surely be adored by kids, however, I still prefer real people for real students.
Check out http://17lcdmonitor.net for similar posts.

-- CantLiveWithoutMyPC

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