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Google announces €25 million in funding for AI training in Europe

Google launched an artificial intelligence (AI) initiative in Europe, announcing €25 million in funding to support training, reports Euronews.

The multinational tech giant said they would start by providing €10 million to equip Europeans with new skills “to avoid being left behind”.

Google is seeking applications from organisations to help reach those who can most benefit from training and said there would be a focus on helping “vulnerable and underserved communities”.

The initiative is in partnership with the UK-based non-profit foundation the Centre for Public Impact.

“Europe can lead the way in harnessing AI to create a strong and equitable economy — with more productive industries, more meaningful work and many new kinds of jobs,” Matt Brittin, the president of Google Europe, Middle East and Africa, wrote in a blog post.

“We want to play our part in empowering Europe’s workforce, supporting people through change, so that everyone can benefit.”

Google launched an initiative in 2015 that trained 12 million people in Europe in digital skills, the company added.

This new “AI Opportunity Initiative” will also include new programmes to grow startups in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

“AI has enormous potential to transform the world for the better. Yet research shows that the benefits of AI could exacerbate existing inequalities — especially in terms of economic security and employment,” said Adrian Brown, the Centre for Public Impact’s executive director.

“This new programme will help people across Europe develop their knowledge, skills and confidence around AI, ensuring that no one is left behind.”

The European Commission wants 80 per cent of the EU population to have basic digital skills by 2030.

According to Eurostat, around 56 per cent of the population aged 16 to 74 has “basic overall digital skills” with large differences across EU states.

While more than 80 per cent of people in the Netherlands and Finland had basic digital skills, just 28 per cent of people in Romania and 36 per cent of people in Bulgaria did.