Google has announced the launch of its AI Opportunity Initiative that will offer AI teaching across Europe. The company has pledged €25m ($26m) towards this initiative. 

Nearly half of this money, €10m ($10.8m), will go towards upskilling workers in AI to avoid being left behind in the AI race. 

Google Europe president, Matt Brittin, stated the importance of making AI accessible to everyone in order to achieve ethical AI in a Google blog post written today (12 February). Vulnerable and historically underserved communities will be the main target of this training.  

Brittin wrote that Google would collaborate with the Centre for Public Impact, a learning partner for governments, to provide AI training to non-profits and social enterprises. 

“AI has enormous potential to transform the world for the better,” stated executive director at the Centre for Public Impact, Adrian Brown, “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.” 

Google will also expand its existing Career Certificate program, which comprises a number of three to six-month-long courses that employees can undertake to gain hands-on experience with AI. Google’s online introductory courses will now be available in 18 languages. 

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Research by the Oxford Internet Institute has suggested that knowledge of AI can increase a worker’s salary by 40% but has warned that less digitally literate workers may be at risk of being left behind as businesses race to implement AI. 

In a 2023 survey conducted by research and analysis company GlobalData, around 20% of businesses answered that they had a moderate adoption rate of AI in December. This has increased from 11% in July 2023.  

GlobalData forecasts that AI is set to disrupt every industry, meaning that workers who may have previously never needed tech skills could be expected to now work with or alongside AI.