AI Education as a tool to support European economic and social development

Advances in AI technologies is set to have a revolutionary impact on many aspects of the European economy.   This will lead to  an increased demand for organisational renewal and competence development. As revealed in several recent high-profile reports, a competence gap between industry and academia exists, reflected in the high demand for AI talent already apparent in several European countries. The demand for low-skilled labour is decreasing and shifting towards a more high-skilled workforce. For large high-tech companies across Europe, the potential of AI to create value is clear. They already make large investments in collaborative research projects with universities around the world. However, competence development and creation is still required , but at a more advanced level.

For SMEs, or larger companies/organisations in traditional “non-tech” sectors, the potential business benefits of AI can, in many cases, be clouded by a lack of knowledge. The development of AI is inhibited as people in several parts of society are unable to see the potential value creation. Education will fuel the development and AI and this subject is being developed at a high level in higher education organizations across Europe, specifically in computer science programmes. However, in 2018, with the release of several national AI strategies, it became clear that the uptake of AI will require cross-disciplinary implementation in the educational system. The national strategies often point towards the expansion of education at all levels of education with specific emphasis on life-long learning.

Education needs to be adapted for people who already work in industry or in the public sector. As they develop and hold a higher knowledge in the area of AI, recruiting patterns will eventually change and impact the educational systems in broader terms. A student in a business school will be required to calculate e.g.: the risk-reward ratio in an AI-project, or a student of medicine will be able understand the basic workings of an algorithm to make the correct diagnosis.

The vision for the Education Space on AI4EU On-Demand Platform is that it will serve as a tool, to provide easy access to our combined educational efforts, across our borders. Our intention is to create a searchable space of training initiatives targeting:

  • Education for working professionals (life-long learning)

In a dynamic workforce, faced with the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation, the need for  re-skilling and upskilling is of ever increasing importance. The Education Space of AI4EU Platform will act as the one stop shop to find education resources related to AI and will link to other catalogues of education resources.  Individuals and organisations looking to upskill/reskill will be able to access a wealth of information from short online courses to longer programmes for professionals.

  • Students in higher education

Students across all disciplines and levels of education need to be equipped with knowledge in AI to fit the needs of industry and the rest of society. AI is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in the course content of education courses in   university and Colleges.  The Space will collect and list AI-related education programmes that will prove useful for the next generation of professionals.

  • Teachers in secondary school

Securing a strong AI future depends on Europe's youth. Exposing young students to AI concepts and aspects related to computational thinking early can help equip them in a world that is ever more digitalised. This means not only empowering the students themselves, but also their teachers who guide them through their learning. The Education Space will provide resources that are useful for teachers so that they can in turn bring that knowledge into the classroom.

Our aim is that this Platform Education Space will not only help us share experiences in educating our society in Artificial Intelligence but that it will allow our citizens to cross borders to fit their specific needs in AI-training. It will also allow us to be more effective if we can coordinate our efforts.

The Education Space of the AI4EU Platform aims to be launched in late 2020, until its launch, you are welcome to discuss the topic of the education in AI here where we lift ongoing pan-european initiatives like Elements of AI and discuss upcoming needs, target groups, and coordination in Education and AI.