Bridging the digital divide: AI, e-governance, and universal access to information.

Publication date: September 28, 2023

Access to information is at the core of building inclusive and informed societies. This is where International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) and EU Code Week share a common goal: removing digital barriers and ensuring that everyone can benefit from the digital age. On the occasion of IDUAI, celebrated on 28 September, we explore the common goals shared by these initiatives, focusing on their commitment to removing digital barriers and fostering a culture of inclusivity. We also look at some of the artificial intelligence-related resources available on the EU Code Week website. 

Certainly, artificial Intelligence and e-governance are powerful tools that can enhance access to information, bridging the digital divide and creating more equitable societies. These technologies empower citizens by providing tailor-made, accessible information and streamlining public services for increased efficiency. Accessing public sector information becomes nearly instantaneous in the digital realm, which in turn promotes transparency and accessibility. 

Benefits and risks of AI 

However, with great power comes great responsibility. Indeed, the use of AI in e-governance raises crucial questions about privacy and the ethical principles governing AI-driven decisions. The 2023 IDUAI theme, “the importance of the online space for access to information” serves as a platform to discuss the benefits and risks of AI, and this is a topic that has received much media attention recently. As a result, teachers may want to give their students a greater understanding of AI and its implications, and EU Code Week is a good place to start – check out this EU Code Week podcast on teaching the benefits and risks of AI. 

Challenge your students with Code Week 

For example, to mark the celebration of IDUAI on 28 September, why not engage your students on the topic of AI – you could start by setting them a challenge to introduce them to the topic. EU Code Week has resources available, for example – the “AI Hour of Code” challenge, which will give students the opportunity to learn the basics of coding and explore a real-world example of AI, or the “Train an AI bot” challenge, which will teach students about AI and machine learning while exploring ethical issues. 

Unlock the power of AI 

In fact, it’s not only students who benefit – Code Week has lots for teachers too! On the website, you can find valuable resources, including a MOOC for teachers titled “Unlocking the Power of AI in Education.” This course will provide teachers with a basic understanding of AI’s potential and the challenges it poses in education, the ethical implications of AI in the classroom, and the implementation of AI-related resources and materials in teaching practice. 

To sum up, as we celebrate International Day for Universal Access to Information, we recognise the interconnectedness of access to information, AI, and e-governance. Initiatives like IDUAI and EU Code Week are striving to build a world where digital divides are bridged, and information is accessible to all, ensuring a more inclusive and informed society. By championing universal access to information and promoting ethical AI and e-governance, we empower individuals to participate fully in the digital age.