Finland is offering a hi-tech Christmas gift to all European Union citizens – a free-of-charge online course in artificial intelligence, in their own language, officials said on Tuesday.
The tech-savvy Nordic nation, led by the 34-year-old Prime Minister Sanna Marin, is marking the end of its rotating presidency of the EU at the end of the year with a highly ambitious goal.
Instead of handing out the usual ties and scarves to EU officials and journalists, the Finnish government has opted to give practical understanding of AI to 1 percent of all EU citizens – about five million people – through a basic online course by the end of 2021.
It is teaming up with the University of Helsinki, Finland’s largest and oldest academic institution, and the Finland-based tech consultancy Reaktor.
Teemu Roos, a University of Helsinki associate professor in the department of computer science, described the nearly $2m project as “a civics course in AI” to help EU citizens cope with society’s ever-increasing digitisation and the possibilities AI offers in the jobs market.