A scientist’s opinion : Interview with Teemu Roos about AI education

AI education strategy, a scientist’s opinion

Interview with Teemu Roos, Associate Professor in Computer Science at the University of Helsinki (FI).

How successful is the Elements of AI course?

Teemu Roos ESMH ScientistTeemu Roos: The Elements of AI course has been a huge success, with over 160 000 signups from all over the world within one year of its launch. The course is currently the highest-rated massive open online course (MOOC) in computer science on Class Central, the largest independent rating platform which includes over 1 000 computer science courses.

Which languages are currently developed?

Teemu Roos: The course is currently available in English (the original version), Finnish and Swedish.

Do you know about other projects/AI initiatives that derived from the course?

Teemu Roos: The Dutch National AI Course ai-cursus.nl is an independent initiative with over 10 000 signups that was inspired by Elements of AI. The Creative Commons licensed content from Elements of AI is also being used by Data Science Academy, a Brazilian company offering online courses, to offer the free course ‘Inteligência Artificial Fundamentos’.

What opportunities do you see for the Finnish EU Presidency and the Finnish (open-access) approach to AI?

Teemu Roos: The open-access and inclusive approach that is specifically designed to support citizen participation is well aligned with the European fundamental values including equality, human rights, and democracy. The EU has a central role as a regulator of AI. Without the role of strong intergovernmental actors the development of AI by private corporations or regimes with limited interest in upholding human rights challenges democracy on many levels. The Finnish EU Presidency is an opportunity to share the Finnish success stories in education and human-centric technology.

Why do you think it is necessary to teach basics of AI to the entire population and include them in advancing AI?

Teemu Roos: The most important questions that determine how well our society can adapt to the changes brought by AI and other technological innovation are not really technological – they are political. To make these decisions for the good of society, they need to be based on broad public discussions. If some populations are poorly represented, this discussion is not possible.

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