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The Best Of Our Knowledge #1614: The Rise Of The Machines

Teaching Machines Book Jacket
MIT Press
MIT Press
Teaching Machines

Education technology has come a long way from the very first attempts a century ago. This week, we’ll explore the history of teaching machines.

Today we think nothing of seeing laptops and iPads in the classroom. But there have been attempts at creating so-called teaching machines since the early 20th Century. And it’s the history of those early teaching machines that Audrey Watters explores in her new book called “Teaching Machines – The History of Personalized Learning."

Audrey Watters is an education technology writer and creator of the blog Hack Education.

So after a discussion about the history of learning machines, we thought it would be a good idea to take another look at machine learning. It’s a very different thing. “Machine learning” and "Artificial Intelligence” are two terms that were coined in the 1950s but are only now beginning to be put to solving practical problems. In the past few years, machine learning algorithms have been used to automate the interpretation and analysis of clinical chemistry data in a variety of situations in the lab. In the September 2020 issue of the journal Clinical Chemistry, there is a paper on a machine learning approach for the automated interpretation of amino acid profiles in human plasma. The same issue contains an accompanying editorial titled “Machine Learning for the Biochemical Genetics Laboratory.” One of the authors of the editorial is Dr. Stephen Master, Chief of the Division of Laboratory Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. I asked Dr. Master, first of all, what exactly is machine learning, and why would it be significant for the clinical laboratory?

Okay, so we’ve done some deep dives into teaching machines and machine learning, let’s go for the hat trick and take on virtual reality. That’s the topic of today’s Academic Minute.

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