News story Saya, the female humanoid robot, taught a science and technology lesson to a class of 10-year-old pupils at Kudan Elementary School in Tokyo. While Saya's creator Professor Hiroshi Kobayashi said the robot's main purpose was to highlight the joys of technology to children, he also said it would benefit schools suffering from a shortage of human teachers. Another web site said that the students were totally fascinated and quiet during the lesson, and poked at the robot afterward, as in the article's photo. That's not surprising since they'd seen nothing like it before. Robots won't really replace teachers anytime soon, especially before they are able to use feedback from the class to guide them (input to go with their output), but it's a great start for a new type of teaching tool. I think programming a robot teacher to give specific lessons will be useful for both kids and adults, using them as a sort of teaching assistant. I can think of 1000 jokes about robot teachers. Maybe they could replace the college professors who teach undergraduate classes in huge lecture halls and give the same lecture, word for word, every semester for years. Or they could be in charge of elementary school discipline. Instead of merely scolding students and sending them to the principal's office, teachers could assign the misbehaving students to listen to long robot lectures about good and bad behavior. Just don't let the kids near the "reset" button!