South Korean robots teach kids English

south korean robots teach kids english anenglishteaSoon, the proverbial apple to for the teacher may be a thing of the past. In fact, the actual teacher may also be a thing of the past, at least in the traditional sense of the word. A new pilot program in South Korea has done away with the pesky human bodies that have traditionally been associated with the title of teacher, and replaced them with fatter versions of R2-D2 that look as if they have swallowed a Caucasian woman.

The Engkey robots are the first step in what may be the wave of the future when it comes to teaching.  In schools across the southeastern city of Daegu, South Korea, 29 of the robots have usurped the position of their human overlords, and are currently teaching South Korean children the English language.

The robots stand at 3.3 feet high, and each feature a TV displaying the facsimile of a Caucasian woman. Behind the face, the robot is actually being controlled remotely by teachers in the Philippines who can see and hear the students. When the teachers react, their facial expressions are then represented by the robot’s digital face.

“Well-educated, experienced Filipino teachers are far cheaper than their counterparts elsewhere, including South Korea,” Sangong Seong-Dae, a senior scientist at the Korean Institute of Science and Technology–the group responsible for developing the robots–told the Associated Foreign Press.

According to, the robots speak English to the students, read books to them, and dance to music by moving their robotic head and arms, something the children enjoy, apparently.

“The kids seemed to love it since the robots look, well, cute and interesting. But some adults also expressed interest, saying they may feel less nervous talking to robots than a real person,” Kim Mi-Young, an official at Daegu city education office said.

Kim claimed that one of the primary reasons for the robotic teachers would be to send the teacher-bots (our word, not theirs) to rural areas of Korea where English speaking teachers are rare, and most are unwilling to relocate. The robots are still in the testing phase, but Korean officials have already shown interest and claim that if the controls are streamlined and the costs are lowered, many robots might go on the payroll, so to speak.

“Having robots in the classroom makes the students more active in participating, especially shy ones afraid of speaking out to human teachers,” Kim told the AFP.

Kim also stressed that the robots would not be considered as a replacement for teacher, just as an addition to them. At least until the next time a teacher demands a raise…

So far the four month experiment, which was sponsored by the government, has cost around $1.37 million. The current English teacher-bots have also been used to teach math, science and other subjects at different levels. The report claims that each robot costs around $10 million won, or roughly $8,750. No word yet on who will pay for years of therapy after a generation of maladjusted Korean children who were raised by automatons reaches maturity.

Please feel free to insert your own jokes below. They may range from American version of these robots packing chainsaws in unruly high schools, to the fun filled years of damage that children may face when much of their day is spent taking orders from a robot.

Smart Home

Booth babes, banned sex toys, and other mishaps at CES 2019

From female sex toys bans, to fake Tesla/robot collision stories, there was some weird stuff going on at CES 2019 this year. Here are some of the biggest mishaps and flubs at the world's biggest tech show.
Smart Home

The robot invasion arrived at CES 2019 — and it was cuter than we expected

Robots are finally at our doorsteps, but they’re not here to annihilate us (yet), they’re here to be our friends. CES 2019 showed us some of the cutest robots we’ve ever seen. Here are some of our favorites.
Smart Home

Robotics company Trifo activates A.I.-based Ironpie robo-vacuum at CES 2019

Trifo may have given the Ironpie robot vacuum a whimsical name based on appearance, but the home robotics company cast whimsy aside when it described the A.I.-based vac's features and benefits at the Ironpie launch at CES 2019.
Emerging Tech

Scribit graffiti robot climbs your walls to draw (and erase) giant artwork

Scribit, the wall-crawling graffiti robot that can draw any image you can think of onto a vertical surface of your choice, made its debut this week at CES 2019. Check it out in action.

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…

Google is giving its G Suite web apps new touches of visual improvements

Your G Suite applications will soon have a different look. Several of the web apps are getting updated with subtle visual improvements inspired by Google's Material Design guidelines. 
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…

Hackers are scoring with ransomware that attacks its previous victims

Computer viruses are always evolving. In a new one, dubbed "Ryuk," hackers are targeting PCs with ransomware that scours an infected network in order to pinpoint and attack and enterprises with big money.

An update to Microsoft To-Do will help you keep up with your resolutions

If you're looking to stay productive in 2019, you might want to check out the freshly updated Microsoft To-Do app, now with additional integration with the Windows 10 Start Menu and more.

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.

Could the next Microsoft HoloLens be announced at MWC 2019?

After not having a presence at Mobile World Congress for three years, Microsoft is now sending out media invites for a press conference on February 24 during the annual event in Barcelona. Could a next-generation HoloLens be on the way?

Microsoft to separate Cortana from search with the next version of Windows 10

Changes are on the way for two key features in Windows 10. A separation of Windows 10 search and Cortana will allow Microsoft to more often innovate on each of the features independently.

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.

Convert your PDFs into convenient Word documents with Adobe or a free option

PDF files are great, but few document types are as malleable as those specific to Microsoft Word. Here's how to convert a PDF file into a Word document, whether you prefer to use Adobe's software suite or a freemium alternative.