China’s Squirrel propels AI with Mellon

In China, Squirrel propels AI education by teaming up with Carnegie Mellon University, a Pennsylvania-based university. Both will set up experimental laboratories focused on promoting innovative and emerging technologies and develop personalized training modules for global export.

Having been on the preferred list of companies offering AI education in China for some time now, Squirrel is speculating on the possibility of introducing AI in curriculums as early as possible. 

Squirrel emphasizes adaptive AI-learning with “master teachers” focused on teaching AI in schools to help students score better on annual standardized tests, which taps “straight into national gaokao anxiety.” More than 80% of students tutored by Squirrel AI reportedly return year after year, a hint of satisfaction with the results.

The firm also designed its system to access multifarious data from the beginning and made “possible all kinds of personalization and prediction experiments.” Showcasing its technical capabilities through academic publications, international collaborations, and awards, national tests will tell whether students can adapt to the fast-changing facets of AI.

A case in point is when Squirrel AI offered personalized tutoring to one Hangzhou middle school. Instead of a human teacher, an AI algorithm would curate the tutee’s lessons.

A 13-year-old who gave it a try had test scores which had risen from fifty percent (50%) to about sixty-two and a half percent (62.5%) by the end of the semester. Two years later, he scored an eighty-five percent (85%) on his final middle school exam.

The Chinese firm, well-equipped to extend its AI to cater to other learning centers internationally, illustrates how China’s AI experiments could potentially transform the world.

Chinas’ Squirrel AI learning centers are ‘unimpressive.’

Squirrel’s first learning center, located in a modest neighborhood in the Zhejiang province, does not give away much with first impressions. With simple decor and just enough amount of accessories, students and teachers are seen intently staring at the screens of their laptops. 

In one room, students take English speaking classes with the others are occupied with advanced maths lessons. Students’ performances are monitored and rectified using online dashboards. Occasionally, the teachers do approach students to discuss some matters.

China rates high for AI education

The main factor which sets China for AI adaptiveness is its insatiable appetite for AI, which can be accredited to the country’s vast improvements made in the field so far. Rightly so, people of China believe in the technology and its consequential implications in changing the face of the nation.

An estimate reveals that venture capital investments and the tax concessions go a long way in securing the future in AI. So far, the country has invested over one billion dollars ($1 bn) in promoting research and development on AI.  

Another factor is that Chinese students put up a compelling performance when compared to their counterparts from other nations, particularly in subjects related to science, technology, and engineering. Besides getting adequate financial and emotional backing from their parents, Chinese students are instilled with a good amount of competitiveness, right from their primary school days.

Ten million students annually take the college entrance exam, the gaokao, to rate their ability to get a college degree and consequently, measure their “success for the rest of their lives.” Through AI tutoring, students have greater chances of getting higher overall scores.

Lastly, the Chinese are relatively less mindful of data privacy and anonymity, especially when involved with groundbreaking research. The country, with enormous population size, is the source of the largest mass of consumer data required to build and tweak algorithms.

With an ever-increasing interest in the next generation AI coupled with a majority of repeat admissions, Squirrel is charging full speed ahead into becoming the country’s most sought-after AI education institute.

While it has already made its presence felt with over two thousand institutes in more than two hundred locations in the country, educating over a million students, the ambitious firm plans to further its reach by opening two thousand centers more, within the span of one year.