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Finland offers Europeans a free course on AI

Free and in all the official languages ​​of the Union. It will take place between 2020 and 2021. “We want to equip EU citizens with digital skills for the future”

Brussels – Between 2020 and 2021, Finland will provide European citizens with free access to an online course that has already been successful at home, ” Elements of AI “. The course will be made available in all official EU languages. This Finnish Presidency initiative aims to respond to the challenges posed by the transformation of work and to strengthen the digital leadership of the EU.

Elements of AI, explains a note, is a series of free online courses made by the University of Helsinki and the Finnish technology company Reaktor. It is designed to encourage people to learn the basics of artificial intelligence, whatever their age or education.

According to the minister “this is one of the most urgent challenges facing Europe and Finland today: how to develop our digital literacy”.

What makes us citizens?

Widespread awareness and skills, certainly. To increase awareness and competence, a lesson comes to us from Finland and will benefit everyone. Without barriers, without borders.

In the period 2020-2021, Finland will provide European citizens with free access to a successful online course on Artificial Intelligence : Elements of AI . The course will soon be available in all official EU languages. This initiative aims to respond to the challenges posed by the transformation of work and to strengthen the digital leadership of the EU.

“Our investment has three objectives: we want to equip EU citizens with digital skills for the future; we want to increase practical understanding of what artificial intelligence is and, by doing so, we want to boost Europe’s digital leadership” say Timo Harakka, Minister of Labor of Finland

The Elements of AI is a package of free online courses made by the University of Helsinki and the Finnish technology company Reaktor. It was designed to encourage people to learn the basics of artificial intelligence, regardless of age or formal education level. The initiative was made public in the past few hours in Brussels, on the sidelines of the EU labor ministers’ meeting.

The importance of artificial intelligence is growing. To make use of it, explains Harakka, journalist and expert on digital issues related to the world of work, “we need digital skills. Changes in labor markets, job transformation, digitalisation and intensification of global competition all mean one thing for the EU: we need to invest in people. Every EU citizen should have the opportunity to pursue lifelong continuing education, regardless of age and level of education “.

At the end of the EU presidency, “we want to offer something concrete. This is one of the most urgent challenges facing Europe and Finland today: how to develop our digital literacy, “said the minister.

A research-based online course contributes to a critical understanding of AI. As generators of new ideas and innovations, universities play a key role in efforts to build Europe’s future on skills and education. Research and higher education not only produce commercial applications, but also new social innovations – such as this artificial intelligence course – that can benefit everyone. The Elements of AI is the result of sustained research and didactic excellence at the University of Helsinki.

Artificial intelligence, and technology in general, have enormous potential for the future of Europe. It is therefore essential that «more and more people can understand how different solutions work and what they can be used for. We are very excited that this course will be widely adopted in Europe, in many language versions, “explains Ville Valtonen, Managing Director of Reaktor Education.

Opened in 2018, Elements of AI is already available in English, Finnish, Swedish and Estonian. The original goal was to have 1% of Finns, or about 55,000 people, to study AI bases. This goal has been achieved in a few months, and today the Elements of the AI ​​is the most popular course ever offered by the University of Helsinki.

The cost of the initiative, for a total of 1,679 million euros, will be financed from the budget of the Ministry of Economy and Employment of Finland.

The initiative was launched under the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Finnish Presidency has worked with Member States to reach a common understanding on the conditions for sustainable growth. Finland stressed the importance of developing the single market in the future, taking full advantage of research, development, innovation and digitization and investing in the skills of European citizens.

For information, the Finnish Presidency provides a rich list of names:

  • Pilvi Torsti, State Secretary to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 40 719 1206
  • Janne Känkänen, Director for EU and International Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 396 4990
  • Sari Lindblom, Vice-Rector, University of Helsinki, tel. +358 400 846 672
  • Teemu Roos, Associate Professor, University of Helsinki, tel. +358 445 231 238
  • Ville Valtonen, Managing Director, Reaktor Education, tel. +358 50 323 7203
  • Leila Vilhunen, Specialist in EU Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office, tel. +358 50 324 9719
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