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Roundup: FARI sessions at the European AI Week 2022


Joyce Anne Quinto (JAQ)


Around 20 special FARI-supported events were organised as part of the European AI Week 2022 from March 14-18, 2022. Holding over 100 sessions with 500 speakers from 37 countries, the celebration aimed to share concrete AI actions and projects with the public through locally anchored organisations and to promote cooperation between all relevant players in European AI.

If you missed it, you can watch the full recordings of these sessions via the EU AI Week YouTube playlist. Here’s a round-up of all sessions supported and/or co-organised by FARI and its CLAIRE Brussels Office.

Opening of the AI Week

Official European AI Week opening online session where the FARI initiative has been presented by Prof. Ann Nowé, FARI Scientific Advisor

Artificial Intelligence R&D opportunities in Brussels, with FARI and Innoviris

The Brussels Region has played an active and frontrunner role in the development of a vibrant AI ecosystem in the Capital of Europe. Since 2016, companies and academia have received extensive funding support to achieve their AI ambitions and tighten the links between them. Capitalizing on these efforts, a new Regional Innovation Plan (2021-2027) has been established and will be first presented. The joint ULB-VUB Institute FARI (AI for the Common Good), through its co-manager Hans de Canck, discussed why and how ethics must be central in any AI (trustworthy & fair) project. The institute also explained how its different activities will facilitate academia, profit, and non for-profit organisations in Brussels in achieving this.

AI in Brussels, with CIRB and FARI

In this session, FARI co-director, Carl Morch, explained why it is strategic and timely to foster an AI institute in Brussels; while at the same time, highlighting the mission, vision, objectives, and activities of FARI AI for the Common Good Institute which contribute to the overall Brussels strategy.

Roundtable: AI & Pandemics

Covid-19 ineluctably raises the question of the use, pertinence and limitations of AI techniques in the context of a pandemic. This round table gathered several high-level European experts to talk about the use of AI in a pandemic context.

Geopolitics of AI standardization

Who will define tomorrow’s societal values and norms? Led by FARI academic board member, Grégory Lewkowicz, this panel aimed to address the issues raised by AI socio-technical standards in the current geopolitical landscape.

Learning AI from 7 to 77, how do I learn about AI.
This session presented the outcomes of AI4Belgium’s taskforce on AI training and education (Future of Work and Skills) – which FARI is a part of.

Ethics & Law – Towards a Practical Assessment Tool for Trustworthy AI.

Last year AI4Belgium started a project to optimize the Trustworthy AI Assessment List of the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on AI. The goal was to turn it into a more user-friendly tool, make it more concrete, sector-specific, accessible, and practical, to eventually help organizations enhance their AI systems’ trustworthiness. Based on stakeholder feedback, a concept for the tool was developed and visualized in screen mockups. The purpose of this meeting is to present the concept and mockups, gather feedback from the wider AI4Belgium community, prioritize features for the tool, and help set up the roadmap for its further development.

Unleashing the power of AI & Data for Good – Case studies and learnings

This session presented a series of cases and stories where AI has been deployed to aid in development actions. AI-based interventions could automate time-consuming tasks; aid in data collection and management; enhance user capacities and capabilities, and ensure humanitarian specialists focus on complex analysis and decision-making. Yet, understanding how exactly AI can positively impact development fieldwork remains a work in progress; and this lack of actionable knowledge about impact, potential, and infrastructure needed for a long-term strategy may slow the adoption of the technology for such causes. With on-the-ground stories of our guest NGOs, this session explored why gender data matters, how AI can help address environmental issues, and how AI can improve healthcare quality in the context of the global south. UNESCO’s general recommendations from recently released soft-law mechanisms on AI was also presented.

AI-driven organizations: What is an ideal European Ecosystem?

In this session, we gathered AI experts coming from different sectors of the ecosystem, including academia, policy/government, pre-commercial innovation organisation, commercial investment, innovation infrastructure provider, public sector, industry, and startup. Experts from the European Investment Bank/ AI/Blockchain Investment Fund, the European Startup Landscape, the European Digital SME Alliance, Norwegian Artificial Intelligence Research Consortium, and the Norwegian government, as well as startups and accelerators, presented what their sectors need from a strong AI innovation ecosystem, and how their sectors can become stronger contributors to the ecosystem.

Science as diplomacy: What Now? 

This panel discussion brought together science and technology diplomacy experts to examine the future of science diplomacy following current geopolitical dynamics, not only with respect to the current situation in Europe but also in all international academic relationships with countries under an authoritarian regime.

Rising researchers network launch: Attracting and Retaining AI Talents in Europe

This event officially launched CLAIRE’s Rising Researchers Network (R2Network), with the aim to initiate dialogues between the present and future leaders in AI, tackling threats and challenges in fragmentation of efforts in Europe, brain-drain of AI talents in Europe, as well as ways to sustainably attain an AI ecosystem that produces and maintains trustworthy and human-centered technologies. Together with experts from CLAIRE, AI Sweden, Flemish AI Academy, and the Norwegian Artificial Intelligence Research Consortium, we took a look into the future of European AI and explore the ways we can do to avoid losing AI talents to bigger players outside of Europe.

CLAIRE-euRobotics MoU signing

Europe’s strengths in AI and robotics have created a fabulous synergy potential.  How should Europe make use of it?  In this session, Europe’s largest associations in robotics and Artificial Intelligence,  euRobotics and CLAIRE respectively, reflected on this question and pointed towards the road ahead. CLAIRE and euRobotics will work together to establish joint activities and develop a comprehensive understanding of the overlap of each other’s areas of research and application, through the creation of better mutual recognition and appreciation of the interaction between AI and Robotics, by fostering collaboration within the communities, maximising knowledge transfer and minimising the duplication of efforts. This event served as the official ceremony to start this partnership.

Book presentation “The Political Philosophy of AI” by Marc Coeckelbergh

In this session moderated by FARI co-director Carl Morch, Mark Coeckelbergh presented his new book, “The Political Philosophy of AI”.

VISION: Meet the ICT-48 Networks of AI Excellence 

The EU is focusing on connecting and strengthening AI research centres across Europe and supporting the development of AI applications in key sectors. Europe invests in the European model of human-centric AI, with a new set of European networks of AI excellence centres (NoEs). Since September 2020, four NoEs are working on aspects of trustworthy AI funded under the H2020-ICT-48-2020 call. Organized by the VISION Project and CLAIRE, this session hopes to inspire, promote the culture of sharing within the European AI ecosystem, and open windows of opportunities for collaboration. This session presents the achievements and works in progress of the four Networks of Excellence brought together by the VISION project.

Québec and Canada’s active AI ecosystems

In the past five years, Canada and its province of Québec have been very proactive in AI and Data Sciences. The country has fostered an active ecosystem that supports academic research, burgeoning startups, and attracts international talents. Comparing 143 different indicators, the 2022 “Tortoise Global AI Index” recently ranked Canada as the 4th best place for AI in the world, and Québec as the 7th. How can it inspire countries in Europe, starting with Belgium? What are the lessons learned? What are the requirements from infrastructure to policies? Come listen to actors of Canadian and Québec Organizations in AI and Data Sciences. And meet those who work every day on reinforcing the links between Canada, Québec and Europe.





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