HANGZHOU, March 14 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese university has used a roll-call application powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to nab absentees and "harass" them back to classroom.
The system named "Class Begins" features AI technology developed by Hangzhou Dianzi University, which is located in east China's Zhejiang Province.
"Teachers can make class roll calls on the app, which takes less than 15 seconds. Then the system will automatically make phone calls to absent students," said Hu Haibin, deputy head of the students' affairs office at the university.
"Those who skip classes receive repeated phone calls from the system, with random numbers," said Wu Yuqi, a student. "The information will also be kept on record."
Once the student picks up his phone, a Siri-like voice assistant starts a lecture on college rules and regulations.
"Those who skip class for 10 hours will receive a warning and those who skip over one-third of classes will not be permitted to sit the exam," the virtue assistant warns. "If the class is still going on, go attend it!"
The system has proved useful. After running for two weeks, it has helped increase the attendance rate by 7 percent compared with last semester.
However, Zhou Xuefang, an associate professor at the university, said the system should not be regarded as a panacea.
"I prefer encouraging students' own initiative to attend class," she said.