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A science professor explains why he’s used aibo in the classroom for years
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aibo Community Hub Team
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October 5th, 2022

Dr. Kim Solez has long had a passion for both science and art. The physician has founded numerous companies over the years exploring artificial intelligence, including his current company, Just Machines, which explores the effects of rapidly improving AI in medicine. He’s also a professor at the University of Alberta, where he teaches a course on technology and the future of medicine, and his aibo Einstein is an important component to his teachings. “I have used it every year since the course began in 2011 to illustrate AI,” he says. “Artificial intelligence is an important component of the course.” 

The course has 23 teaching sessions per term and life-size humanoid robots are the visual symbol for the course. “Five of these are directly about AI, and about half of the remaining sessions relate directly to AI,” he explains, “so more than half the sessions are about or related to AI.” 

Dr. Solez has many reasons for choosing to use aibo in the classroom, and thinks it’s a great real-world example that his students can see and learn firsthand. “aibo is naturally charming, actually each model from 2002-2022 becomes more charming.  Some of the features are inspiring, the fact that behavior is never just the same as before, and the fact that Aibo can learn etc. That the dog naturally shows off for large crowds. And that it has surprising behavior but is never offensive.”

He continues, “The latest dog has no specific owner, the dog spends more time thinking about the humans that interact with it the most, that seems very fair! A start on ‘robot justice’! On the other hand, the 2005 dog who tried to do the owner registration step with iconic Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen and mapped his kitchen is also intriguing and charming!”

As a tech enthusiast, Dr. Solez says aibo has opened many doors and that he plans to continue using aibo in the classroom because of its teaching capabilities. “I plan to continue to use it extensively,” he says. “It is a very good way to introduce students to AI. I think that our use of aibo in the classroom will only increase year by year in the future.”