Elements of AI online course to expand throughout the European Union
The Elements of AI online course offering basic understanding of artificial intelligence will be translated into all official languages of the European Union. The aim is to teach the basics of artificial intelligence to 1 per cent of EU citizens by 2021.

The Elements of AI online course will be translated into all official languages of the European Union during 2020–2021. The initiative is part of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU and it was publicized during a meeting by European employment ministers in Brussels on 10 December 2019. The initiative is worth over 1,5 million euros.

The Elements of AI online course is a creation of the University of Helsinki and Finnish technology firm Reaktor. The course is free and open to all, offering basic information on artificial intelligence without requiring previous knowledge of AI or coding. The course has so far been published in English, Finnish, Swedish, and in November 2019, also in Estonian. 

“The Elements of AI course has been the most popular course in the history of the University of Helsinki. Co-creating the course with Reaktor has taught us a lot about online teaching and its requirements. The course has also strengthened our international collaboration with other universities, which can greatly benefit our research in the future”, says Sari Lindblom, vice-rector at the University of Helsinki.

“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”, says Teemu Roos, associate professor at the University of Helsinki and Lead Instructor of the Elements of AI course.

Evening out the gender balance in IT

By now, approximately 40 per cent of the participants of the Elements of AI course have been women. This is more than the average in Finnish IT industry according to statistics by Technology Industries of Finland (in Finnish only).

“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,” says Ville Valtonen, Managing Director at Reaktor Education.

By offering the distribution to the whole EU, Finland as the current holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union also wants to invest in the digital know-how of EU citizens and enhance continuous learning in Europe. With the help of the Elements of AI course, all EU citizens can acquire basic understanding of artificial intelligence in their own language.

The implementation is carried out in collaboration with local universities throughout the EU. The technical language translation has been provided by the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the EU. The first translated versions will start being published in early 2020. The latest news on upcoming new publications are updated on the course website.  

Read more:

Press release by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland

Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence needs people: Three reas­ons to learn the ba­sics now

Additional information: 

Teemu Roos, Associate Professor, University of Helsinki
tel. +358 445 231 238