Artificial Intelligence: Technology, Governance, and Policy Frameworks online course (2024)

DIPLO Artificial Intelligence
February 19
 – April 29

Artificial intelligence has moved from the realm of science fiction into our everyday lives. But what is it, exactly, and how does it change the socio-economic landscape? What is at stake for governments, businesses, and citizens?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has developed significantly in recent years, and is increasingly part of everyday life. Interactive voice assistants in our mobile phones, targeted online advertisement, autonomous cars, and autonomous weapons are some examples of the varied applications of AI in our societies. This course aims to provide in-depth knowledge that will enable participants to assess critically the consequences of AI and understand the opportunities and challenges it creates across a broad spectrum of areas, including the fields of policy and diplomacy. It provides an interdisciplinary coverage of the topic, encompassing technical, political, legal, economic, security, and ethical issues related to AI.

This 10-week online course builds on the research and analysis conducted by Diplo’s AI Lab.

This course can be taken as part of the Advanced Diploma in Internet Governance.

What will you learn?

  • How to explain what AI is from both technical and policy perspectives, elaborating on practical, philosophical, and ethical aspects
  • To critically assess the impact of AI  across several areas, including security, commerce and finance, human rights, decision-making, and job markets
  • To analyse the emerging processes for the governance of AI and the challenges related to the implementation of principles such as transparency, accountability, and explainability
  • To draft the key elements of a national or institutional AI strategy, encompassing overall goals, definition of strategic sectors for investment, an evaluation of the (national) regulatory environment, and guidelines for an ethical framework in the field of AI
  • How to explain the potential need for regulation of AI and the different approaches that could be adopted (legal, technical standards, social norms, economic incentives)
  • How to map the relevant actors and forums for the discussion and governance of AI
  • To reflect on whether and how AI could be beneficially employed in their fields of work
  • To articulate a critical opinion on emerging issues, such as the impact of AI on the future of decision-making, and on democracy

How will you learn?

In this course you will interact intensively in discussions with classmates and lecturers from around the world. You will receive guidance and personalised feedback on your classwork from the course team.

How long will you learn?

The course lasts for 10 weeks:

  • 1 week of course introduction and orientation to online learning
  • 8 weeks of addressing the course topics one by one (see below for more details)
  • 1 week for the final assignment and completing pending tasks

Who should apply

The course will be of interest to:

  • Officials in government ministries or regulatory bodies, including diplomats who deal with technology issues.
  • Staff of intergovernmental, international, and regional organisations in charge of Internet and ICT policy, technology, and development.
  • Professionals from the corporate sector wishing to understand the interplay between AI and regulation.
  • Journalists covering technology-related issues.
  • Postgraduate students, academics, and researchers in the fields of machine learning and AI.


The course consists of 8 modules:

  • Artificial intelligence: Application and geopolitical impact. We discuss the introduction of AI in a variety of areas such as e-commerce, industrial production, transportation, finance, malicious and criminal activity, crime prevention, and education. We analyse the use of AI as a geopolitical asset and the leading role that some countries are taking in AI development.
  • Terminology, historical and philosophical background, and technological basics. Our explanation of the technical aspects of AI aims at a non-technical audience. We cover related  topics such as deep learning and machine learning, neural networks, and deep learning. The interplay among AI, big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) provides the backdrop for further discussions.
  • Key players and forums. AI is a fast-growing field, shaped by both public and private sectors. We identify the key actors and the main forums for discussion and policy development, in order to better understand the evolution of AI.
  • Governance and regulation of AI. Discussions tackle the development of national and international norms on AI. They also encompass norms produced by non-state actors and the relationship between AI code and governance.
  • Socio-economic aspects of AI. We consider the impact of AI on the future of jobs, and its use for social good and for achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs). In addition, we address the consequences of the gap in access to digitalisation and emerging technologies.
  • AI and security. We discuss the use of AI to enhance the effectiveness of cyber-attacks as well as to boost defense capabilities. We also analyse the use of AI by the military sector, focusing on discussions surrounding the use of AI-powered lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS), and the exploitation of vulnerabilities in AI systems.
  • AI and human rights. Some human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as privacy and personal data protection, the right to non-discrimination, freedom of expression, and due process, may be affected by the introduction of AI.
  • The way forward. This module zooms out and discusses philosophical, ethical, and practical questions that will become more prominent over the coming years and decades, including the future of decision-making, the transformation of democracy, human-machine interaction, and ways of addressing a potential AI singularity.


The Artificial Intelligence online course is based on a collaborative learning approach, involving a high level of interaction over a period of 10 weeks. Reading materials and the necessary tools for online interaction are provided in a virtual classroom.

Each week, participants study and discuss course materials and complete additional online activities. At the end of the week, participants and lecturers meet to discuss the topic of the week. For successful completion, this course requires a minimum of 5 to 7 hours of study time per week.

Participants who successfully complete a certificate course receive a certificate issued by Diplo which can be printed or shared electronically via a permanent link. Participants who successfully complete an accredited course will receive 9 ECTS credits from the University of Malta.


All course applicants must have regular internet access; dial-up connections are sufficient, but broadband is preferable.

Applicants for certificate courses must have:

  • An undergraduate university degree OR 3 years of work experience and appropriate professional qualifications in diplomacy or international relations
  • Sufficient English language skills to undertake postgraduate-level studies

Applicants for accredited courses must meet the University of Malta prerequisites:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject with at least Second Class Honours
  • Proof of English language proficiency obtained within the last 2 years (minimum requirements: TOEFL paper-based – 650; TOEFL internet-based – 95; IELTS – 6.5.; Cambridge – Proficiency Certificate with Grade C or better). If when applying you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results, the University may issue a conditional letter of acceptance.