Following the launch of a free online AI course in Ireland, a Future Human panel discussed why it’s so important for people to learn about this technology.

Elements of AI is a free online course about artificial intelligence that was launched in Ireland at the Future Human virtual conference in October. The aim is to reach 1pc of the Irish population with the course.

In a breakout session at the event, UCC’s Dr Derek Bridge, Prof Barry O’Sullivan and postdoctoral researcher at SFI’s Confirm Centre, Begüm Genç, discussed the importance of the course and why the public should have an understanding of the basics of AI.

Genç said the pandemic in particular has highlighted some of the misconceptions that are out there about AI and other technologies.

“When we think about the 5G case for instance, people don’t know what 5G is, they don’t know the technology behind it, they don’t know what is going on, all they know is a piece of article or a text message that says that 5G is ruining us,” she said.

“Everyone is just scared, it’s just because they don’t know what it is. But now with Elements of AI, for instance, it gives you the indication of what AI is, how it’s being implemented, what is the ethical problems in there or how people are trying to tackle this, just the general idea of what we are doing in AI. Then people will know at least the basics and then they will not just believe those text messages.”


Words by Jenny Darmody