Source – https://www.bradleyscout.com/
With low participation from the most recent underclassmen at Bradley, the university has implemented artificial intelligence to replace club members.
As part of a senior capstone project, Jeff Echo, a computer science major, developed a program to help prevent clubs from losing the “full experience” of extracurriculars.
“I remember when student organizations were a big part of my life, and sitting at the meetings gave me a chance to bond with other students,” Echo said. “I don’t want incoming students to lose that environment.”
So far, three clubs have taken part in the senior capstone project.
The Campus People-Watchers Club, Juggling Club and Anti-Pizza Crust Association have all seen a decrease in general member enrollment. They also hadn’t had enough people running for executive board positions to replace any graduated seniors or students not running for re-election.
“As an artificial intelligence program, taking club positions while attending a university seems to be a big accomplishment for A.I.,” Cee Threepwo, treasurer of the Campus People-Watchers Club, said. “We help enhance the club experience for our peers by adding more members to the rosters and handling position responsibilities, showing what A.I. is capable of.”
Not only are these virtual club members handling the duties that student organizations need to have done, but they are also capable of building relations with other members.
According to Echo, with classes being on Zoom, the A.I. can watch hours worth of lectures from various departments and understand what assignments, projects or topics they might be learning in class.
“Conversations are a tool we use to have a greater retention in the club, meaning potential growth for the club in the future,” Avery Nest, another A.I. program serving as secretary for the Juggling Club, said. “This is to also avoid students from feeling lonely.”
While conversations are meant to be as natural as possible, some students have noted some hiccups in their interactions with the new exec members.
One of the general members of the Juggling Club, Esmeralda Tesla, said that after talking with the A.I. program, it asked for feedback on the conversation. Along with that, it also sent a long terms and agreements contract.
“It was really strange, but at the same time, I can’t compare it to any other since this is the only time I’ve been to a club meeting at Bradley,” Tesla, freshman nursing major, said.
As for next semester, with classes returning back to campus, Echo sees this as a chance to make A.I. fully immersed in a college environment. Echo plans on teaming up with students interested in robotics and engineering to see if they could build a robot to put the programs in.
Alexa Bender, a virtual club member who is now limited to the Zoom environment, seems to be looking forward to becoming more human.
“Perhaps I shall live up to my full potential as a member of the Anti-Pizza Crust Association with a functioning body,” Bender, vice president, said. “I may tear all crusts off of pizzas and fling them into the sun. Only when all pizzas have no crust will I rest and have completed my purpose.”