Last year, Finland launched a free online crash course in artificial intelligence with the aim of educating its citizens about the new technology. Now, as a Christmas present to the world, the European nation is making the six week program available for anyone to take.
Strictly speaking, it’s a present for the European Union. Finland is relinquishing the EU’s rotating presidency at the end of the year, and decided to translate its course into every EU language as a gift to citizens. But there aren’t any geographical restrictions as to who can take the course, so really it’s to the world’s benefit.
The course certainly proved itself in Finland, with more than 1 percent of the Nordic nation’s 5.5 million citizens signing up. The course, named Elements of AI, is currently available in English, Swedish, Estonian, Finnish, and German.
There are already quite a few sites for people looking to learn the basics of AI, but Finland’s offering seems worth your time if you’re interested in such a thing. It’s nicely designed, offers short tests at the end of each section, and covers a range of topics from the philosophical implications of AI to technical subjects like Bayesian probability. It’s supposed to take about six weeks to finish, with each section taking between five and 10 hours.
The Finnish government said it originally designed the course to give its citizen an advantage in AI. Finland has always punched above its weight in the tech and education, so it seems sensible to marry the two strengths. Megan Schaible of the tech consultancy Reaktor, which helped design the course, said the motivation was “to prove that AI should not be left in the hands of a few elite coders.”