Finland is opening up a wildly popular Elements of Artificial Intelligence online course to all EU citizens. The announcement was made in Brussels on Tuesday to mark the approaching end of Finland’s presidency of the Council of the EU.
Finland assumed the rotating six-month presidency in July this year, shortly after the Antti Rinne administration assumed office. Rinne has since stepped down as Prime Minister and now heads a caretaker administration until a new cabinet is sworn in on Tuesday.
The government said that the goal of the project is attract one percent of EU citizens – five million people – to complete the course in 2020 and 2021. The offer of the online programme marks a departure from more traditional gifts such as ties or scarves. Anyone can sign up for the online course.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment said on Tuesday that it will finance the project, which was valued at 1.7 million euros.
Ministry permanent secretary Pilvi Torsti said that the AI course has become a tradition that Finland wants to continue. She said that it also answers in part the difficult question of how to develop people’s skills for the jobs of the future.
The free online course was developed by the Reaktor consultancy and the University of Helsinki and has been by far the most popular programme offered by the University of Helsinki. The original goal was to get one percent of Finns or 55,000 people to study the elements of artificial intelligence, a target that was reached in just a few months.