How Finland is Changing the Way the World Thinks About Artificial Intelligence

Recently, Finland was faced with a problem that plagues small countries. The future is fast approaching and while they will never have the manpower or resources to dominate the Artificial Intelligence market, they still need to stay ahead of the wave.

But how?

A survey completed by a tech company called Sage earlier this month declared that the vast majority of the population feels that learning about artificial intelligence is “elitist” and basically inaccessible to the common, ordinary person. Finland’s own surveys came back with similar results, so they needed a plan and what they have come up with is nothing short of genius.

It started as a basic initiative to educate regular people about the basic risks and benefits of welcoming AI into their lives. Reaktor set up a website with a class entitled: Elements of AI with the sole purpose of community outreach and marketing for their company.

The designer of the free online class, Teemu Roos, marketed the project as a way for the computer-illiterate to learn a little bit about robotics and AI in a non-threatening way that didn’t include coding or anything too deep into the realms of computer science. Roos, an educator and computer scientist, had heard that the Finnish government was looking for professors to develop educational material about Artificial Intelligence for the masses. Roos already had the material but needed help making it suitable for anyone to learn, regardless of their education level. That’s where Reaktor came to the rescue.

They wanted to disseminate unbiased information, so individuals could make their own decisions about the amount of robotics they felt comfortable welcoming into their homes. At the time the class was being conceptualized, the Finnish government was in the process of drawing up legislation about AI and the designers of the class felt that the people needed to hear this information before making up their minds about technology with which they were unfamiliar.

The newfound partnership decided that advertising the class to everyday citizens would not have the immediate or dramatic impact they wanted, so they approached some of the largest companies in Finland. Their sales pitch was a simple one: “Let’s join forces and pledge to train 1% of the population of Finland in Artificial Intelligence.” And the response was incredible. The idea was born in the summer of 2017 and by that December, more than 250 companies and tens of thousands of people were on board.

At ROYBI, we understand that new technology can be a little scary at first, which is why we believe that the technology in our Roybi Robot should be as natural for a child to interact with as his or her own best friend. And there is no use in making incredible technology if only a few people in the world are trained well enough to use it, so we made sure our Roybi Robot is easy enough that not only can a child use it, but a child can learn more from it than they would in a regular classroom setting.

Education is, in our minds, one of the key markets for Artificial Intelligence and we have some of the most brilliant minds in the industry helping us bridge the gap between what technology children feel comfortable using and what will help best prepare them for the future.

References: https://www.politico.eu/article/finland-one-percent-ai-artificial-intelligence-courses-learning-training/ Retrieved: April 01, 2019

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