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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 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.

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Open for applications: Yes
Application deadline: 2 September 2019
Start date: 7 October 2019
Duration: 10 weeks
Fees: €690; Scholarships available
Mode(s) of study: Certificate

Course details

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 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.

By the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Explain what AI is from both technical and policy perspectives, elaborating on practical, philosophical, and ethical aspects.
  • Critically assess the impact of AI  across several areas, including security, commerce and finance, human rights, decision-making, and job markets.
  • Analyse the emerging processes for the governance of AI and the challenges related to the implementation of principles such as transparency, accountability, and explainability.
  • 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.
  • Explain the potential need for regulation of AI and the different approaches that could be adopted (legal, technical standards, social norms, economic incentives).
  • Map the relevant actors and forums for the discussion and governance of AI.
  • Reflect on whether and how AI could be beneficially employed in their fields of work.
  • Articulate a critical opinion on emerging issues, such as the impact of AI on the future of decision-making, and on democracy.

Course outline

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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.

This course is conducted online over a period of ten weeks, including one week of classroom orientation, eight weeks of dynamic class content and activities, and one week for the final assignment. Reading materials and tools for online interaction are provided through an online classroom. Each week, participants read the provided lecture texts, adding questions, comments, and references in the form of hypertext entries. Lecturers and other participants read and respond to these entries, creating interaction based on the lecture text. During the week, participants complete additional online activities (e.g. further discussions via blogs or forums, quizzes, group tasks, simulations, or short assignments). At the end of the week, participants and lecturers meet online in a chat room to discuss the week’s topic.

Courses are based on a collaborative approach to learning, involving a high level of interaction. This course requires a minimum of seven to eight hours of study time per week.

Participants are invited to join Diplo’s global Internet governance online community of over 1,400 members, and to attend monthly webinars and other IG-related events and activities.

The course materials, the e-learning platform, and the working language of the course is English. Applicants should consider whether their reading and writing skills in English are sufficient to follow postgraduate level materials and discussion.

  • An undergraduate university degree or relevant work experience.
  • Sufficient ability in the English language to undertake postgraduate level studies (including reading academic texts, discussing complex concepts with other course participants, and submitting written assignments).
  • Regular access to the Internet (dial-up connection is sufficient, although broadband is preferable).
  • A minimum of seven to eight hours commitment per week, and the readiness to participate in class online sessions (once a week at specified times).

Tuition fees are 690 euros per participant, due upon acceptance into the course.

Financial assistance

Discounts are available for more than one participant from the same institution. A limited number of partial scholarships are available for diplomats and others working in international relations from developing countries.

To apply for a scholarship please upload 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.
  • Why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?

As Diplo's ability to offer scholarship support is limited, candidates are strongly encouraged to seek scholarship funding directly from local or international institutions.

Applicants for certificate courses should apply online.

If you are applying for financial assistance, please upload 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.
  • Why 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 DiploFoundation is available only to applicants from developing countries. Late applications will be considered if there are spaces available in the course.

 

Contact admissions

DiploFoundation (attn Tanja Nikolic)

Anutruf, Ground Floor
Hriereb Street
Msida, MSD 1675, Malta
 
Tel: +356 21 333 323;
Fax: +356 21 315 574
admissions@diplomacy.edu

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