Artificial Intelligence education for all Europeans

artificial intelligence education
© iStock/akinbostanci

The University of Helsinki will expand the reach of its open access Elements of AI course to teach the basics of Artificial Intelligence throughout the EU.

The Elements of AI course is jointly delivered by the University of Helsinki and Finnish technology provider Reaktor. Since its launch in 2018, more than 220,000 people from 110 countries have enrolled on the course, which is already freely available online in English, Estonian, Finnish and Swedish; as part of Finland’s presidency of the Council of the EU, the course will now be translated into all the EU’s official languages between 2020 and 2021. The initiative, worth €1.5m, aims to provide 1% of all EU citizens – around 51.24 million people – with a basic education in the fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence by 2021.

Associate Professor at the University of Helsinki Teemu Roos, lead instructor of the Elements of AI course, said: “Now that the course is expanding throughout the EU, it will become an even stronger tool in implementing the university’s third responsibility: societal interaction. The course deals with an important societal turning point; and this has smoothed the way into those circles where we can truly influence decision making. I believe that Artificial Intelligence will have a vast impact on the future of both Finland and Europe.”

Early analyses of the demographics of Elements of AI course participants in Finland suggest that the course is widening participation in Artificial Intelligence education to groups which are typically underrepresented in the sector. 40% of the course’s participants are women, while 25% are over the age of 40.

Ville Valtonen, Managing Director at Reaktor Education, said: “We are very excited that this course will be widely adopted in Europe in many language versions. Artificial Intelligence – and technology at large – carry an enormous potential. Therefore, it is vital that more and more people understand how different technological solutions work and what we can do with them. We were positively surprised by how widely popular the course has become in Finland, especially among women and people over the age of 45. We hope to see such development also in other EU countries.”

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