Microsoft launches online AI course for government employees

A new online course from Microsoft is aimed at showing government workers how to use AI to improve services.
Microsoft, RSA 2019
(Scoop News Group photo)

Government workers can now get a tailormade education in artificial intelligence from Microsoft’s AI Business School.

The free online course launched Tuesday and will focus on showing government leaders, policymakers and administrators how AI can help improve their services, Microsoft said in a release. The course will follow the format of the Microsoft AI Business School’s other courses with video lectures and written case studies, but with content for the unique challenges in government.

The Finnish city of Espoo will serve as a case study of how AI can improve government services. Espoo deployed AI to analyze how its citizens access services, a practice city officials hope will increase efficiency and effectiveness. Microsoft wants to spread the lessons from Espoo to government workers globally through the new online course.

“Leaders in the public sector are often faced with unique challenges when considering how to apply AI to improve the speed and quality of the government services they offer their citizens,” said Mitra Azizirad, corporate vice president for Microsoft AI marketing. “The opportunities and scenarios for AI in the public sector are ever increasing, which can make deciding where and how to apply it quite daunting. This is precisely why we expanded Microsoft’s AI Business School to now include a specifically tailored and targeted public sector curriculum to help these leaders address their citizens’ unique needs.”


Currently, the curriculum for the government-focused school has 10 modules and almost 8 hours of content, featuring basic topics like “Define an AI strategy to create business value” and “Introduction to AI technology.”

The coursework will include a video lecture from Peter Zemsky, the Eli Lilly chaired professor of innovation and strategy at INSEAD graduate business school. Zemsky’s lecture will focus on ways government employees can identify AI opportunities.

The AI Business School was launched in March. Since then, more than 140,000 business leaders have plugged in to learn about how AI can help them grow, according to Microsoft. The school is one of many other online learning platforms on AI from the tech giant.

Microsoft hopes that through the online course, the ultimate beneficiaries will be constituents gaining easier access to government services.

“Helping governments reach and serve people through cloud services is a key priority for us,” said Anthony Salcito, Microsoft’s vice president for government.

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