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AI and machine learning are some of the hottest topics both inside the academia and in the “real world”. These topics have been taught for decades and there exist standard syllabi for introductory courses. However, as AI is shaping every aspect of our society, we need to change the ways in which it is taught. The Elements of AI is an exceptional AI course because it doesn’t require any prerequisites in computing or mathematics beyond basic arithmetics.

When we started the Elements of AI, there was no guarantee that our approach would be viable. Perhaps we would only end up exacerbating the hype and spreading misconceptions instead of resolving them. After 1.5 years, five language versions (soon to be >20), and over 300 000 users, we can conclude that yes, the approach works: it is possible to learn to understand AI without knowing any programming.

In this talk, I describe the basic concept, our pedagogical thinking, and some of the lessons learned. The talk hopefully encourages others to engage, one way or another, in similar initiatives.

Speaker: Teemu Roos

Affiliation: Professor of Computer Science, University of Helsinki


Machine Learning Coffee Seminar is organized weekly by the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI). The location alternates between Aalto University and the University of Helsinki.