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Socratic's App Wants AI to Help with Your Homework

The days when students have to flip through textbooks to find solutions to problems may soon be coming to an end. Rather, they’ll be taking pictures with their smartphones to feed problems into an artificially intelligent app if has its way.

is an education-focused startup, and what it offers is quite similar to Quora — a space where students can ask questions and receive answers from their peers or just about anyone. Of course, these questions are particular to specific subjects such as Science, Math, Social Sciences, and the Humanities. The company has had an app called  Genius in stealth mode for about a year, and it’s finally ready for the student masses.

Related: Google’s DeepMind will soon apply artificial intelligence to the detection of eye diseases

Now renamed after the company, Socratic is an -only app that claims to help you with your homework thanks to the help of artificial intelligence. Simply snap a picture of your word problem, give the app a few seconds to analyze it, and you’ll then be reading all about the proper way to solve it.

The app doesn’t exactly offer answers, instead, you get an explainer that dives into the concept, problem, and teaches students how to solve it. The beta app involved teachers, students, and more than 150,000 users — and Socratic used it to collect “millions of photos of real homework questions” to make the AI engine more powerful.

The app is well-designed and slick, and results are presented in the form of vertical cards. The first is the explainer, and the rest will be anything else the AI can scrounge up about the problem — videos, definitions, and web results. Much of the “explainer” content has been developed by the Socratic community, but right now the results only pertain to chemistry.

Related: DARPA thinks artificial intelligence could wring out bandwidth from the radio spectrum

Gradually, the app will see more subjects added with other sciences being the first to follow in the next couple of months. Socratic says the app will also support more languages soon. The app is available only on right now.

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