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From the birth of AI to recent achievements: how and why AI has become worldwide one of the most important enabling technologies.

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence Series

This MOOC is one of the MOOCs of the series titled “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence”, aimed at providing technical and non-technical, including historical and political, notions on artificial intelligence. The series investigates why artificial intelligence is nowadays considered the most disruptive enabling technologies up to at least 2050 and gives basic groundings for a preliminary approach to the area. It also deepens ethical issues and national strategies.

See the full series

Course description

The MOOC will provide a non-technical overview of the artificial intelligence field. Initially, a discussion on the birth of AI is provided, remarking the seminal ideas and preliminary goals. Furthermore, the crucial weaknesses are presented and how these weaknesses have been circumvented. Then, the current state of AI is presented, in terms of goals, importance at national level, and strategies. Moreover, the taxonomy of the AI topics is presented.

Total workload of the course: 10 h

This MOOC is provided by Politecnico di Milano.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By actively participating in this MOOC, you will achieve different intended learning outcomes (ILOs).

  1. Week 1 - Explain the seminal ideas leading to the birth of AI, the major difficulties and how the international community overtook them.
    ESCO: computer history
  2. Week 2 - Describe what AI is today in terms of goals, scientific community, companies’ interests.
    ESCO: Principles of artificial intelligence ESCO: Innovative in ICT
  3. Week 3 - Describe the taxonomy of the know-how on AI in terms of techniques, software and hardware methodologies, and how they are related to each other.
    ESCO: Information and communication technologies not elsewhere classified
  4. Week 4 - Explain the need for national strategies on AI.
  5. Week 5 - Identify the major Italian and European players on AI and their scope.


No prerequisite knowledge is required.


Over and above consulting the content, in the form of videos and other web-based resources, you will have the opportunity to discuss course topics and to share ideas with your peers in the Forum of this MOOC.

Topic outline

  • Week 0 - Introduction to the course

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 1 - History of AI

    Week 1 introduces the history of AI explaining what AI is, when it was born and its phases.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 2 - AI Today

    Week 2 explores the situation of AI today focusing on its goals, its problems and progresses in the scientific community and companies.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 3 - AI Research Areas

    Week 3 explores research areas

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 4 - AI and National Strategies

    Week 4 examines national strategies in the USA, in China and in Europe.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 5 - Italian and Europen Players

    Week 5 focuses on Italian and European players: MISE, CINI Labs, AIxIA, and European Networks of Excellence.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Additional resources


Your final grade for the course will be based on the results of your answers to the graded quizzes. You have unlimited attempts at each quiz, but you must wait 5 minutes before you can try again. You will have successfully completed the course if you achieve 60% (or more) of the total course score. The maximum score possible for each quiz is given at the top of the quiz. You can see your score in the quiz on your last attempt or on the 'Grades' page.

Certificate of accomplishment

You must be registered in POK through Politecnico di Milano personal account to obtain the Certificate of Accomplishment. It will be released to anyone who successfully completed the course by achieving at least 60% of the total score in the graded quizzes and filling the final survey. 

You will be able to download the Certificate of Accomplishment directly from Politecnico di Milano web services.

The Certificate of Accomplishment does not confer any academic credit, grade or degree. 

Information about fees and access to materials

You can access the course absolutely free of charge and completely online.

Course faculty

Nicola Gatti

Nicola Gatti


Nicola Gatti is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering of the Department of Electronics, Information, and Bioengineering at Politecnico di Milano. His research activities are grounded in the Artificial Intelligence area, and his main achievements come from algorithmic game theory, allocation problems and incentives, algorithmic social choice theory, multiagent learning, and online learning. His research activities received some awards, including the 2011 AIxIA Marco Somalvico Award as the best Italian young researcher in AI and the best paper award in NeurIPS 2020. He is the director of the AI Research and Innovation Center of Politecnico di Milano, co-director of the Italian Observatory in Artificial Intelligence, and a board member of the Italian Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems. He is also a board member of the International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS) and of the Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence (AIxIA).

Contact details

If you have any enquiries about the course or if you need technical assistance please contact For further information, see FAQ page.