Such an online training course is particularly suitable in times of the corona pandemic, in which home office and social distancing are the order of the day.
The Elements of AI online course was originally developed in Finland, where 270,000 people have already used it. The appliedAI initiative of the Innovation and Start-up Center UnternehmerTUM, which is located at the Technical University of Munich, has adapted the offer to the German market. The Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) has recently made it available free of charge. The aim is to convey knowledge about artificial intelligence (AI / AI) and its applications. “Every machine, however intelligent, needs a person who understands it,” says DIHK President Eric Schweitzer.
Maximiliane Piontek, student and freelancer at COMPUTERWOCHE, underwent the self-check. We wanted to know from her how the course works and what her most important finding is.
According to appliedAI, it takes 30 to 60 hours for the course. How do you rate this time?
Piontek: I finished the whole thing in about ten hours. Of course, that depends on how quickly you read and how conscientiously you complete the tasks. There are six modules of three units each. The course is very well structured and it was easy for me to complete it while at work.
How demanding are the individual modules in the course?
Piontek: First of all, there are few interactive elements – no videos, no podcast, just text. So you have to read a lot. The definitions (or what definitions might be) and facts were explained very clearly. The course shows gaps in research and knowledge right from the start. He challenged me to form my own opinion. There are many practical examples, so that I could imagine something under each new word. It all started with the AI basics. What can Artificial Intelligence do so far? Such questions were answered close to everyday life. After a few uses, however, the chapter came up with probability calculations, like Bayes’ theorem. Although I know statistics from my studies, this unit challenged me. I bit through and understood better in the next lesson, such as how point systems work in supermarket chains.
That’s all well and good – but how do you keep all the information?
Piontek: At the end of each unit there is a small test, either a multiple or single choice test to click on once or a short, self-written statement. That was a highlight of the course for me. After you give your own assessment, for example on the topic of filter bubbles, you have to evaluate at least three statements by other participants. On a ready-made scale, these are rated using smileys – for example in the categories intelligibility or subject-related.
What is your most important finding?
Piontek: I now know that it makes little sense to speak of ‘an’ artificial intelligence per se. It’s like saying ‘a biology’. There are AI applications. Machine learning, for example, is a strategy of AI systems and AI applications are mostly invisible, not the classic, human-like robot as we imagine it to be.
What was missing in the online course?
Piontek: There are few interactive elements in the course, although digital learning environments offer exactly these functions. YouTube videos are linked, but they are only added as a supplement. Videos or audio files would have been nice to present the information in a more varied way. Of course, you can’t see artificial intelligence applications, but there are still a few examples that can be shown visually (see video below). Also: I would have liked more interaction with other learners. If you want to discuss the course, you have to register with Reddit and exchange ideas there. I would have liked to use a comment function directly in the course.
Piontek: You really don’t need any previous knowledge for this course. You can start from scratch and are systematically introduced to the topic. Nevertheless, I have to say that you should be enthusiastic about reading. And the motivation to solve some difficult tasks should not be missing. I think the course could make a valuable contribution to making artificial intelligence more socially acceptable. And by that I really mean the general public – it would be desirable to be able to share the topic with everyone. So we could see some apps or tools in a more differentiated and more reflective way.
Information: Maximiliane Piontek is 22 years old, studying education in Regensburg and soon completing her bachelor’s degree. She has no programming experience. As a freelancer, she tried the Elements of AI course herself.