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Café Survey / Public consultation

SEP 2023

Café Survey, an invitation to the passers-by to answer a short survey on artificial intelligence while drinking a coffee


FARI’s mission is to innovate by putting citizens first in forwarding AI, Data and Robotics solutions to Brussels’ challenges. Café Survey has been designed to approach the inhabitants during major public events of our capital. The aim is to open up a dialogue and build up a set of indicators on different segments of the population on issues relating to AI, data and robotics.


Picture copy right : Clotaire Dion

The objectives of that first consultation were to better understand the perception of Brussels’ residents regarding AI, data and robotics in general and understand their willingness to engage in citizen assemblies that discuss the role and uses of these technologies.

160 questionnaires were deployed during the two days of the Digital Spring conducted by students from ULB and VUB. If we are aware that the type of people willing to come to a such event are already interested in technologies and can constitute a biais, interesting trends came out.

The three words more associated with AI were : robot, future and GPT. 65% of the participants expressed that AI evoked positive feelings such as enthusiasm and curiosity. 30% associated AI with fear and worry. Almost no participants expressed feeling indifferent towards AI. In the list of six choices, AI was mainly associated with the terms “mobility”, “ressource optimization” and “health”. The less popular associations were AI and common good (11%), climate (10%) and inclusivity (10%). Furthermore, among all the words proposed by the participants, none of them used to describe AI were echoing ecology or sustainability.

Regarding the willingness of the people consulted to participate to working sessions in association with researchers or for the public administrations, 55% of them would be interested. The main motivations to participate to those working groups are to lear (44%), exchange on those topics with others (21%), having an allowance (14%), experiencing AI in practice (10%). 50% of the participants would like to participate in a citizen’s panel serving the Brussels Region to ensure that the algorithms used in public services are fair.

These initial trends provide important information for FARI. The fact that the words ‘ecology’ and ‘sustainability’ do not appear in the respondents’ answers shows us how much work we still have to do to highlight the AI for the common good initiatives being developed in the Brussels area. The FARI 2023 conference entitled “Local & Sustainable AI, Data, and Robotics” is one such initiative.

While the question of technosolutionism is a social issue, some initiatives, such as the Voisins d’Energies project, show, for example, how AI could be used for collective and local management of energy production.


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