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Google Digital Garage Free AI Training Courses for UK

Google’s Free AI Training Programme for UK Businesses and Individuals

Google has launched a new free artificial intelligence training programme aimed at UK businesses and individuals.

The tech giant states the goal is to help equip the British workforce with essential practical skills to make use of the power of AI tools and techniques.

The training modules, designed by Google experts, cover a range of topics from productivity tips to machine learning foundations.

Google says the materials are packed with practical, real-world advice and insights to help both businesses and individuals maximise the benefits of AI tools.

Addressing the UK’s Digital Skills Gap

The launch comes at a time of rapid advancement and adoption of AI technologies globally. However, research has highlighted that the UK is facing a critical shortage of technical skills required to fully capitalise on the promise of AI.

A recent economic impact report commissioned by Google warned this skills gap could hamper the ability of UK firms to innovate with AI.

It estimated AI innovations could potentially contribute over £400 billion to the UK economy by 2030. However, the country urgently needs to address the digital skills deficit to realise this opportunity.

As Google’s UK & Ireland Managing Director Debbie Weinstein explains:

“We are hearing this need from people, and at the same time, we hear from businesses that they are looking for people with digital skills that can help them.”

Practical Real-World Training

Google states its new AI courses are designed to provide practical training on how businesses and individuals can immediately apply AI tools.

For example, the “Grow Your Productivity with AI” module offers tips on time-saving AI techniques for tasks like brainstorming ideas or administrative work.

The “Understanding Machine Learning” course lays out the essentials of preparing data and resources for implementing machine learning.

Attendees at the first training sessions included small business owners curious about how AI could help their operations. Questions focused on potential applications like using AI for responding to emails or scheduling appointments.

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Partnering for Inclusive Growth

Launching the training programme at a Google Digital Garage event last week, Ruth Porat, CFO of Google and Alphabet, emphasised the company’s view that AI-driven growth must benefit everyone to be sustainable.

Porat highlighted this will require collective action between government, businesses and communities.

She pointed to Google’s support for a proposed National Skills Service to align training with future workplace needs.

The UK government has welcomed Google’s new AI courses as an important contribution. Science and Innovation Secretary Michelle Donelan praised the initiative in a video address, noting:

“Google’s ambitious training programme is so important and exceptional in its breadth.”

Donelan positioned the training as part of broader government efforts to strengthen the UK as a global hub for AI research, development and innovation.

Calls for Balanced AI Development

However, as noted in an article by The Guardian, some experts caution that Google’s training drive may primarily aim to promote adoption of its own AI products and services. There are also calls for a more measured approach to AI advancement.

Dr Andrew Rogoyski of the University of Surrey’s Institute for People-Centred AI notes while businesses are feeling pressure to explore AI, they need a fuller understanding of potential pitfalls:

“There are much more impactful issues that people need to think about such as privacy, security, data bias, all of the concerns and limitations that you might feel are being glossed over.”

Likewise, the Chartered Management Institute reports 43% of UK managers are worried about AI threatening jobs. But only 7% believe their staff have adequate AI training.

Policy leaders emphasise the need to balance seizing opportunities against managing risks. Labour’s Lucy Powell has suggested licensing AI developers akin to other highly regulated sectors. Rishi Sunak is pursuing reforms like an international AI safety summit.

So while Google is racing to ready British businesses and workers for its AI future, it is clear there are still big questions about how to ensure AI’s development and use unfolds safely, ethically and equitably. Initiatives like Google’s latest training programme will be one piece of that complex puzzle.

Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca is our AI news writer. A graduate of Leeds University with an International Journalism MA, she possesses a keen eye for the latest AI developments. Rebecca’s passion for AI, and with her journalistic expertise, brings insightful news stories for our readers.

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