James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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How about just a robot to grade papers?

Posted by James McPherson on September 23, 2009

CNN reports that movie-style androids such as those in the movie “Surrogates” may not be far off. And we’ve already seen a teaching robot (and a robotic “supermodel”) in Japan.

Others warn that technology may make my job obsolete, and the amount of education that has gone online in recent years sometimes worries me, a bit. But then I remember how few people actually watch educational television or make use of the wealth of educational opportunities on the web (some of which are linked to your right).

In fact, anyone could get the equivalent of a very good liberal arts education from his or her home, though of course the student would be giving up other valuable parts of the college experience–and the external motivation that some of us require to buckle down and learn, rather than spending the time on video games, YouTube videos or trashy crime novels.

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8 Responses to “How about just a robot to grade papers?”

  1. Yeah, but James, the trashy parts of the crime novels are the best!

  2. As to maybe putting blow-up dolls fully out of business, James, regarding the supermodel robots (or is the correct term “android”–like a female version of Commander Data?) I assume you might have seen that REALLY awful but in some places cute 80s flick Weird Science?

    Ya know, the fantasies of Michael Anthony Hall and most other red-blooded American male teens?

    Must I say more?

  3. Gabrielle said

    Yes, but, as my gamer friends note quite frequently, Japan is home to All Things Weird. Just because they have something doesn’t mean that we will.

    P.S. you’re back! yay! 😀

  4. Well, Gabrielle

    Like the Honda Odyssey, they’ll always be happy over there in Japan to sell us things, or even have them put together over here!

  5. James McPherson said

    Gabrielle, yes I’m back–kind of. With perhaps my busiest semester ever, I’m writing shorter and less frequent posts, but I apparently have too big an ego to stop altogether. Thanks for checking in and commenting.

  6. zelda said

    I had a :Teaching Robot” in grade school. Her name was Mrs. Natress.Of courses we kids dubbed he Mrs. Matress . It was a given
    As I remember she didn’t like boys and would bang them against the blackboard if they got out of line.I am sure one of those boys is now a senator or the like………Great stuff.
    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh………the good old days.
    Now most teachers etc. are everyone’s “pal”.Buddy buddy with the students etal.Some are REAL friendly as we read in the wobbling news media.
    Hmmmmmm ………robots………..not a bad idea.

    P.s.
    I am not on your list of friends I see. Gee.

  7. James McPherson said

    Thanks for the comment, Zelda. And of course the “friends” listed are the websites of people I happen to know.

  8. zelda said

    OK…….Thanks. I feel better. :>)

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