An AI system successfully passes 8th grade and 12th grade science tests

(The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence)

The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence has unveiled a system that successfully passed 8th and 12th grade multiple choice science tests.

The AI system, called Aristo, took tests written for students in New York, with questions involving images, diagrams, and essay-style answers removed.

Aristo's performance is a significant feat in machines' ability to understand natural language and mimic the human reasoning. Four years ago, the Allen Institute ran an $80,000 contest to produce a system capable of passing an 8th grade science test, but none of the 170 teams that participated completed the challenge.

The Allen Institute began work on Aristo in 2013 with the goal of creating a "digital Aristotle." The Institute describes Aristo as "An intelligent system that reads, learns, and reasons about science."

Built on top of a Google-developed natural language processing model called BERT that was trained on thousands of Wikipedia articles and romance and science fiction books, Aristo was designed specifically to take multiple choice tests.