Khan Academy visions humble AI to be students' special guide, not cheat

“It’s not perfect, but it’s still pretty magical at the same time. I think it dramatically transforms what Khan Academy is going to become.”
Amal Jos Chacko
An illustration of a student in electronics.jpg
An illustration of a student in electronics.


Khan Academy, a pioneer of digital education and savior of the less privileged, has set its sight on shaping artificial intelligence into a guide for students.

When Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s CEO, and president, respectively, gave Sal Khan, Khan Academy’s founder, a private demo of their GPT software, Khan was impressed with the program’s ability to answer academic questions intelligently, reports Fast Company.

Captivated by its potential, Sal spent nights probing the AI model with prompts likely to be asked by someone intent on learning. “I was pulling all-nighters, getting it to act like a tutor, getting it to take on different personas, getting it to develop lesson plans,” he says.

Although students seem to have already integrated ChatGPT and the like into their routine, although often barred from it, Sal Khan sees its potential if used ethically.

Khanmigo- AI(m) to learn.

Rather than have students access ChatGPT— developed with a general, conversational purpose— Khan Academy developed Khanmigo, a chatbot designed to guide students through math problems and code and even engage in conversation in the voices of characters like Hamlet.

Khanmigo can appear alongside existing videos and assignments and carefully reason through a problem rather than simply spitting out an answer when students ask.

“We’ve prompted our way so that Khanmigo has a humility about it,” said Khan. “It actually doesn’t say ‘You’re wrong,’ it says ‘That’s not what I got, can you explain your reasoning?’”

Khanmigo can also spot errors with programming code faster than most human instructors would and then lead students in the right direction rather than telling them if they’re right or wrong. 

Although the AI model isn’t 100% accurate yet with math, Khan says the accuracy ramps up drastically when prompted to explain its work before presenting the student with an answer. “It’s not perfect, but it’s still pretty magical at the same time.”

With a second AI monitoring interactions to make sure conversations don’t go anywhere “shady” and training to refuse if prompted by students to do their homework for them, Khanmigo is armed with the tools to shut down unwanted conversations and even notify parents and teachers.

In line with its history.

Khanmigo is currently being tested with a handful of schools and districts and is in line to be open to a wider beta this summer. Individuals can enter a wait list to try Khanmigo but will have to commit to donating at least $20 per month upon selection for now. 

Founded in 2006, Khan Academy has been priceless, helping millions of students around the globe gain knowledge and improve themselves academically. Their approach of providing free yet top-quality videos and content curated by experts that are easy to understand has gained them nothing short of praise.

Sal Khan envisions Khanmigo growing with features like coaching students on writing, moderating debates, and even becoming the interface people use to interact with Khan Academy.

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