How we are scaling up AI skill development in young people

With the rapid deployment of advanced technologies such as mobile broadband, cloud, IoT, automation and AI, a new set of skills is required to enter the workforce. Next-generation 5G services are set to play a key role in accelerating digitalization and the impact of technologies like AI.

People discussing in conference

We have an unprecedented opportunity to harness technologies and use them to advance not only economies but also to combat some of the world's looming challenges.

The impact of AI is also felt across the education sector where it has the potential to increase access, automate process, curate learning and improve outcomes in education. It will continue to bring new opportunities for enhanced learning, new forms of learning and offer more flexible lifelong learning pathways.

This was the background for Mobile Learning Week, when education and technology professionals from all over the world converge on UNESCO headquarters in Paris to share best practice on using mobile technology to improve education and learning outcomes.

People roaming at breakout area

This year the theme was artificial intelligence and the relevance of the topic was clear with registrations from over 2000 individuals representing 130 countries, all interested in learning more about the opportunities and concerns linked to the use of AI in education.

During the conference Ericsson and UNESCO announced a new global AI skill development initiative for youth where both parties have formed a partnership to educate and empower the next generation by developing a new digital skill learning program that has specific emphasis on scaling up AI skill development for young people.

Ericsson and UNESCO are combining their respective strengths to create opportunities to scale up skill development in AI and other key digital skills for young people. Under the AI for youth initiative the partners will:

  • Develop and manage a repository of AI and other key digital skill training courses that will be available globally
  • Build capacities of master trainers from selected countries around the globe with advanced knowledge of AI skill development
  • Support master trainers to mobilize AI hub centers and hackathons to train young people on developing AI applications

The partnership has grown out of Ericsson's Digital Lab program which was originally launched in 2014 as a collaboration between Ericsson and Universeum, a public science center in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Digital Lab is an innovative education program targeted towards older children to support them in their first encounters with the world of programming and new technologies. The program aims to inspire and provide children with the courage to approach technology and problem- solving by creating an open atmosphere for learning, where instructors share their love of code, thus inspiring them to participate in future technological studies.

During the past few months Ericsson has also developed a new course on AI to add to the existing portfolio of courses in the Digital Lab program. In this course they specifically focus on information retrieval (IR) and natural language processing (NLP) – technology that is behind conversational assistants like Siri and Alexa – to build a fact-based question-answering application.

In addition, we also introduced a partnership with imagiLabs which is a start-up company based in Stockholm that Ericsson supports and which focuses on innovative solutions to attract girls to careers in technology.

The highlight of Mobile Learning Week was a Strategy Lab session which was co-organized by Ericsson and UNESCO where participants from countries such as Oman, South Africa and others were given an overview of the planned deliverables of the new partnership. As a next step Ericsson will work with UNESCO to plan specific actions with the selected countries to support them to roll-out initiatives to build AI and related digital skill competence for youth. Watch this space!

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