On the first day of the new school year in Russia, students learned an important lesson directly from their president – who he thinks will rule the world. Speaking to students during a national “open lesson” from the city of Yaroslavl, northeast of Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country that takes the lead in the sphere of computer-based artificial intelligence (AI) will rule. “Artificial intelligence is the future not only of Russia but of all of mankind,” said Putin. “There are huge opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to foresee today.” “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world,” he said, adding that it would be better to prevent any particular “pair of hands” from achieving a monopoly in the field. If Russia becomes the leader in the development of artificial intelligence, “we will share our technology with the rest of the world, like we are doing now with atomic and nuclear technology,” said Putin. More than a million schoolchildren around Russia were expected to watch the televised open lesson online, titled “Russia Focused on the Future,” according to the Kremlin. Participants in the lesson also watched videos about the large-scale innovative projects, including the development of a new generation of nuclear-powered icebreakers and a heavy-class space launch center. The words of the Russian President echo what scientists in Russia and around the world have been mulling over for quite some time. Work on developing drones and vehicles for military and civilian usage is well under way in Russia, according to state media. The Russian military is also developing robots, anti-drone systems, and cruise missiles that would be able to analyze radars and make decisions on the altitude, speed and direction of their flight, according to state media. While in Yaroslavl, Putin didn’t miss the opportunity to show off his hockey skills during a visit to a new school. Putin attended a training session of the children’s hockey team, talked to the young players and played some hockey himself.