When I finished my formal education, the worldwide web had not been built. Yet for the last 20 years, my working life has depended on the revolution it began.
Today, technology is at another, potentially bigger inflection point. AI has huge potential to make people’s lives better — and to solve some of society’s biggest challenges. AlphaFold, for example, is helping over 1.7m researchers understand diseases and find new biorenewable materials, while Project Relate is helping people with non-standard speech to communicate more clearly.
We’re pursuing AI boldly and responsibly to ensure that everyone can benefit. Innovation has always been a team sport, and AI is no exception. We’re committed to playing our part — working together with EU Governments, civil society, academics and businesses to find the right path to land this technology safely and for everyone.
Launching the AI Opportunity Initiative
For AI to benefit everyone, it must be built by — and accessible to — everyone. So today, we are launching the AI Opportunity Initiative for Europe, to help provide training and skills to support people and countries to be successful in seizing the opportunity of AI.
Europe can lead the way in harnessing AI to create a strong and equitable economy — with more productive industries, more meaningful work and many new kinds of jobs. We want to play our part in empowering Europe’s workforce, supporting people through change, so that everyone can benefit.
Back in 2015, we launched “Grow with Google” — offering free training to help address the EU’s digital skills gap. We were blown away by demand. In the years since, we’ve trained over 12 million people across Europe in digital skills — in partnership with governments, small business associations, trade unions, NGOs and local communities. Many of the people trained have gone on to grow their careers, start new businesses or get a new job using what they learned.
Our new AI Opportunity Initiative for Europe is built on that experience. Working in partnership with governments and local communities, we’ll provide a range of foundational and advanced AI training to support vulnerable communities, startups and everyone.
AI training and skills for vulnerable communities
As part of the AI Opportunity Initiative for Europe, today we’re announcing EUR 25 million funding from Google.org to support AI training and skills for people across Europe — with a particular focus on vulnerable and underserved communities. We’ll start by dedicating EUR 10 million of this to equipping workers with the skills they need to avoid being left behind.
Our AI Opportunity Fund: Europe, in partnership with the Centre for Public Impact, is seeking applications from social enterprises and nonprofits who can help us reach those people most likely to benefit from this training. Selected organizations will receive bespoke and facilitated training on foundational AI in local languages delivered directly to the workers in their communities — as well as cash grants for critical wraparound support, such as childcare or compensation for pay, to remove the barrier to learning.
Adrian Brown, Executive Director, Centre for Public Impact said: “AI has enormous potential to transform the world for the better. Yet research shows that the benefits of AI could exacerbate existing inequalities — especially in terms of economic security and employment. This new program will help people across Europe develop their knowledge, skills and confidence around AI, ensuring that no one is left behind.”
Support for startups
Our AI Opportunity Initiative also includes a new series of Google for Startups Growth Academies across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The equity-free program is to support startups using AI to solve society’s biggest challenges, in health, education and cybersecurity. It helps startups to grow their user numbers, scale and go global with help from Google’s products, best practices and connections to experts. We are open for applications for the Growth Academy: AI for Health now.
New training for everyone
As the final part of the AI Opportunity Initiative, we’re expanding our AI foundational courses to 18 languages. The courses are free of charge and available to everyone, offering a series of modules on introductory AI skills to help people and businesses get practical skills and knowledge.
In addition, we’ll be adding more resources to our existing Google Career Certificates program, which are three to six months in length and provide a professional certificate, to help learners discover how professionals in their fields are using AI, while gaining hands-on experience applying AI to workplace scenarios.
AI has the potential to help us build a better, fairer, healthier society — and to support competitiveness and inclusive growth. It’s up to all of us to make that happen: working boldly, responsibly and together.