Artificial intelligence has moved from the realm of science fiction into our everyday lives. But what is it, exactly, and how does it change the socio-economic landscape? What is at stake for governments, businesses, and citizens?
Artificial intelligence (AI) has developed significantly in recent years, and is increasingly part of everyday life. Interactive voice assistants in our mobile phones, targeted online advertisement, autonomous cars, and autonomous weapons are some examples of the varied applications of AI in our societies. This course aims to provide in-depth knowledge that will enable participants to assess critically the consequences of AI and understand the opportunities and challenges it creates across a broad spectrum of areas, including the fields of policy and diplomacy. It provides an interdisciplinary coverage of the topic, encompassing technical, political, legal, economic, security, and ethical issues related to AI.
This 10-week online course builds on the research and analysis conducted by Diplo’s AI Lab.
This course can be taken as part of the Advanced Diploma in Internet Governance.
What will you learn?
- How to explain what AI is from both technical and policy perspectives, elaborating on practical, philosophical, and ethical aspects
- To critically assess the impact of AI across several areas, including security, commerce and finance, human rights, decision-making, and job markets
- To analyse the emerging processes for the governance of AI and the challenges related to the implementation of principles such as transparency, accountability, and explainability
- To draft the key elements of a national or institutional AI strategy, encompassing overall goals, definition of strategic sectors for investment, an evaluation of the (national) regulatory environment, and guidelines for an ethical framework in the field of AI
- How to explain the potential need for regulation of AI and the different approaches that could be adopted (legal, technical standards, social norms, economic incentives)
- How to map the relevant actors and forums for the discussion and governance of AI
- To reflect on whether and how AI could be beneficially employed in their fields of work
- To articulate a critical opinion on emerging issues, such as the impact of AI on the future of decision-making, and on democracy
How will you learn?
In this course you will interact intensively in discussions with classmates and lecturers from around the world. You will receive guidance and personalised feedback on your classwork from the course team.
How long will you learn?
The course lasts for 10 weeks:
- 1 week of course introduction and orientation to online learning
- 8 weeks of addressing the course topics one by one (see below for more details)
- 1 week for the final assignment and completing pending tasks
Who should apply
The course will be of interest to:
- Officials in government ministries or regulatory bodies, including diplomats who deal with technology issues.
- Staff of intergovernmental, international, and regional organisations in charge of Internet and ICT policy, technology, and development.
- Professionals from the corporate sector wishing to understand the interplay between AI and regulation.
- Journalists covering technology-related issues.
- Postgraduate students, academics, and researchers in the fields of machine learning and AI.
The course consists of 8 modules:
- Artificial intelligence: Application and geopolitical impact. We discuss the introduction of AI in a variety of areas such as e-commerce, industrial production, transportation, finance, malicious and criminal activity, crime prevention, and education. We analyse the use of AI as a geopolitical asset and the leading role that some countries are taking in AI development.
- Terminology, historical and philosophical background, and technological basics. Our explanation of the technical aspects of AI aims at a non-technical audience. We cover related topics such as deep learning and machine learning, neural networks, and deep learning. The interplay among AI, big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) provides the backdrop for further discussions.
- Key players and forums. AI is a fast-growing field, shaped by both public and private sectors. We identify the key actors and the main forums for discussion and policy development, in order to better understand the evolution of AI.
- Governance and regulation of AI. Discussions tackle the development of national and international norms on AI. They also encompass norms produced by non-state actors and the relationship between AI code and governance.
- Socio-economic aspects of AI. We consider the impact of AI on the future of jobs, and its use for social good and for achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs). In addition, we address the consequences of the gap in access to digitalisation and emerging technologies.
- AI and security. We discuss the use of AI to enhance the effectiveness of cyber-attacks as well as to boost defense capabilities. We also analyse the use of AI by the military sector, focusing on discussions surrounding the use of AI-powered lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS), and the exploitation of vulnerabilities in AI systems.
- AI and human rights. Some human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as privacy and personal data protection, the right to non-discrimination, freedom of expression, and due process, may be affected by the introduction of AI.
- The way forward. This module zooms out and discusses philosophical, ethical, and practical questions that will become more prominent over the coming years and decades, including the future of decision-making, the transformation of democracy, human-machine interaction, and ways of addressing a potential AI singularity.
Peace Technologist and AI Ethicist
Head of AI & Data Lab, Diplo
Administrator, Bioethics Unit, Council of Europe
Head of Digital Commerce & Internet Policy, Diplo
Former Austrian Tech Ambassador in Silicon Valley; Founder & Co-Director, Tech Diplomacy Network
Senior Researcher, ETH Zurich & Research Affiliate, Centre for the Governance of AI, University of Oxford
Director of Knowledge, Diplo
The Artificial Intelligence online course is based on a collaborative learning approach, involving a high level of interaction over a period of 10 weeks. Reading materials and the necessary tools for online interaction are provided in a virtual classroom.
Each week, participants study and discuss course materials and complete additional online activities. At the end of the week, participants and lecturers meet to discuss the topic of the week. For successful completion, this course requires a minimum of 5 to 7 hours of study time per week.
Participants who successfully complete a certificate course receive a certificate issued by Diplo which can be printed or shared electronically via a permanent link. Participants who successfully complete an accredited course will receive 9 ECTS credits from the University of Malta.
All course applicants must have regular internet access; dial-up connections are sufficient, but broadband is preferable.
Applicants for certificate courses must have:
- An undergraduate university degree OR 3 years of work experience and appropriate professional qualifications in diplomacy or international relations
- Sufficient English language skills to undertake postgraduate-level studies
Applicants for accredited courses must meet the University of Malta prerequisites:
- Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject with at least Second Class Honours
- Proof of English language proficiency obtained within the last 2 years (minimum requirements: TOEFL paper-based – 650; TOEFL internet-based – 95; IELTS – 6.5.; Cambridge – Proficiency Certificate with Grade C or better). If when applying you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results, the University may issue a conditional letter of acceptance.
Fees and scholarships
Course fees depend on whether you wish to obtain university credit for the course or a Diplo certificate:
- University of Malta accredited courses: €850
- Diplo certificate courses: €690
Note: Diplo alumni can benefit from a 15% discount on the fee for this course.
A limited number of partial scholarships are available for diplomats and others working in international relations from developing countries. Discounts are available for more than one participant from the same institution.
You can apply for this course as:
- A certificate course, in order to obtain a certificate issued by Diplo
- An accredited course, to obtain 9 ECTS credits from the University of Malta
- As part of the Master/Postgraduate Diploma in Contemporary Diplomacy
- As a part of the Advanced Diploma in Internet Governance programme
How to apply
Fill out the short form to start your application process for this course. You will receive an instruction email on how to continue.
Applying for financial assistance? Please indicate this on the application form, upload your CV, and a motivation statement that should include:
- Details of your relevant professional and educational background
- Reasons for your interest in the course
- Why do you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course? How will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?
Please note that financial assistance from Diplo is available only to applicants from developing countries!
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available in the course.
Complete application packages must be received by specified application deadlines in order to be considered.
- Two copies of the University of Malta application form filled out in full
- Certified copies of original degree(s) and official transcripts
- English translations of degree(s) and transcripts if they are not in English, signed and stamped by a translator
- English language proficiency certificate obtained within the last two years (minimum requirements TOEFL paper-based – 650; TOEFL internet-based – 95. IELTS – 6.5.; Cambridge – Proficiency Certificate with Grade C or better). Please indicate on the application form if you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results
- Photocopy of personal details pages of your passport
- If you are requesting financial assistance, please include your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include details of your relevant professional and educational background; reasons for your interest in the course; and why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course (i.e. how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country). Financial assistance from DiploFoundation is available only to applicants from developing countries.
- Application fee or proof of payment (€100, non-refundable – see methods of payment).
Please send the complete application package by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to:
Anutruf, Ground Floor
Msida, MSD 1675, Malta
Diplo reserves the right to cancel this course if enrolment is insufficient. In case of cancellation, Diplo will notify applicants shortly after the application deadline. Applicants who have paid an application fee may apply this fee towards another course or receive a refund.