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"I can remember when the first pulsars were discovered. I was able to go and sit down and listen to graduate students talking about what their theories, to explain what pulsars really were."
- Vernor Vinge

Composite Expert System  
  Intelligent teaching software - a computer interface with a heart.  

In this alternative future story, humanity has (for all intents and purposes) separated into groups that serve particular functions. But, even with this specialization, sometimes a machine does a better job - if it has the right teaching software program.

When Nikolai Leng was a child, his teacher was a cybernetic system with a holographic interface. The holo took the form of a young Shaper woman. It's "personality" was an interactive composite expert system manufactured by Shaper psychotechs. Nikolai loved it.
From Twenty Evocations, by Bruce Sterling.
Published by Interzone in 1984
Additional resources -

It takes a lot of patience to answer every question of an inquisitive child - and a lot of time at the dictionary! Also, it is not enough to know the answers; you need to reward the child and know how to motivate him or her to achieve their full potential.

Compare to Idoru from Idoru (1996) by William Gibson, Adam Selene from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966) by Robert Heinlein and synthespian from Nestor Sextone for President (1988) by Jeff Kleiser.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Twenty Evocations
  More Ideas and Technology by Bruce Sterling
  Tech news articles related to Twenty Evocations
  Tech news articles related to works by Bruce Sterling

Composite Expert System-related news articles:
  - Easy With Eve Virtual Teacher Understands Student Emotions

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