Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming various industries and sectors, and education is no exception. AI has the potential to enhance teaching and learning by automating tasks, generating content, and engaging students. However, not all AI solutions are suitable for education, as they may pose challenges such as privacy, safety, reliability, and usability. Therefore, there is a need for AI solutions that are specifically designed for the unique needs and workflows of education.
One such solution is Merlyn Mind, a technology company that provides an AI assistant and platform for education. Merlyn Mind was founded in 2018 by former IBM scientists who had led the AI solutions for learning at IBM Research. The company has recently emerged from stealth mode with $29 million in initial funding led by Learn Capital1.
Merlyn Mind’s vision is to create a seamless and natural interaction between teachers and technology in the classroom. The company’s first product, Merlyn, is an AI assistant that can be accessed through a custom-built device called Symphony Classroom2. Symphony Classroom is an AI hub that connects to any display or projector and allows teachers to control their favorite edtech tools using voice or remote commands. Merlyn can understand natural language utterances and execute actions on various multimedia apps, such as opening a website, playing a video, or launching a quiz2.
Merlyn also leverages the power of generative AI to create curriculum-aligned content for teachers and students. Generative AI is a branch of AI that can produce new content from existing data, such as text, images, or audio. Merlyn uses education-specific large language models (LLMs) that are trained on a school’s own content and do not hallucinate or generate inappropriate content2. Some of the features that Merlyn offers using generative AI are:
- Slide-generation: Merlyn can automatically create slides for a lesson based on a topic or a set of keywords. The slides are editable and customizable by the teacher2.
- Help desk: Merlyn can provide guidance and support to teachers and students using interactive chat. Merlyn can ingest a corpus of process, product support, and standard operating procedures to answer questions or troubleshoot issues2.
- Question-generation: Merlyn can generate quizzes or assessments based on the learning objectives and standards. The questions are grade-appropriate and safe2.
Merlyn Mind’s technology is based on deep science and engineering, as well as extensive research and testing in real classrooms. The company has piloted its solution in more than 20 schools and 50 classrooms, and has received positive feedback from teachers and students1. Merlyn Mind aims to improve the teaching and learning process by reducing the cognitive load and tech friction for teachers, and increasing the engagement and outcomes for students.
Merlyn Mind’s Competitors
Merlyn Mind is not the only company that is developing AI solutions for education. There are several other players in the market that offer different features and functionalities using AI. Some of the competitors of Merlyn Mind are:
- Covariant: Covariant is a company that develops AI software for robotics. The company has partnered with SoftBank Robotics to create an AI-powered robot called Pepper that can interact with students and teachers using voice and gestures. Pepper can be used for various educational purposes, such as teaching languages, coding, or social skills.
- Aisera: Aisera is a company that provides conversational AI platforms for various industries, including education. The company’s platform can automate tasks and workflows using natural language processing and understanding. Aisera can be integrated with various edtech tools, such as Canvas, Blackboard, or Google Classroom, to provide chatbot assistance to teachers and students.
- WEKA: WEKA is a company that provides data mining software for machine learning. The company’s software can be used for various educational applications, such as analyzing student data, predicting student performance, or personalizing learning paths.
Merlyn Mind’s Market Trends
The market for AI in education is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, driven by various factors such as:
- The increased demand for personalized and adaptive learning solutions that can cater to the diverse needs and preferences of learners.
- The increased availability of data and computing power that enable the development of more advanced and scalable AI solutions.
- The increased adoption of digital learning tools due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to hybrid or online learning models.
- The increased awareness and interest in AI among educators and learners who want to leverage the benefits of AI for enhancing their skills and knowledge.
According to a report by Grand View Research, the global AI in education market size was valued at $2.22 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% from 2021 to 2028. The report identifies some of the key trends and opportunities in the market, such as:
- The growing use of natural language processing and computer vision for creating interactive and immersive learning experiences, such as voice assistants, chatbots, or virtual reality.
- The growing use of generative AI for creating new and original content, such as questions, answers, summaries, or explanations.
- The growing use of AI for assessment and feedback, such as grading, scoring, or providing personalized recommendations.
- The growing use of AI for analytics and insights, such as measuring learning outcomes, identifying learning gaps, or predicting learning behaviors.
Merlyn Mind’s Roadmap
Merlyn Mind has a clear and ambitious roadmap for the future of its AI assistant and platform. The company plans to:
- Expand its product offerings to include more features and functionalities that can support teachers and students in various aspects of teaching and learning, such as content creation, content delivery, content consumption, content assessment, and content improvement.
- Expand its market reach to include more schools and districts across the US and globally, and to cater to different grade levels and subject areas.
- Expand its partnerships with other edtech companies and organizations that can provide complementary solutions and services to enhance the value proposition of Merlyn Mind.
- Expand its research and development efforts to explore new and emerging technologies and trends in AI and education, such as multimodal learning, affective computing, or neuroeducation.
Merlyn Mind is on a mission to revolutionize the way teachers and students interact with technology in the classroom. By providing a safe, reliable, and intuitive AI assistant and platform, Merlyn Mind hopes to empower teachers to focus on their core competencies and passions, and to inspire students to learn more effectively and creatively.
In conclusion, Merlyn Mind is a promising technology company that offers an AI assistant and platform for education. Merlyn Mind aims to create a natural and seamless interaction between teachers and technology in the classroom, and to enhance the teaching and learning process by using generative AI to create curriculum-aligned content. Merlyn Mind faces competition from other AI solutions in the market, but also has opportunities to leverage the growing demand and trends for AI in education. Merlyn Mind has a clear and ambitious roadmap for the future of its product, market, partnerships, and research. Merlyn Mind is on a mission to revolutionize the way teachers and students interact with technology in the classroom.