"Artificial Intelligence is no longer science-fiction; it is reality."


Aim of the workshop

"Artificial intelligence" used to be the privileged playground of universities and research institutes. They were steering progress in the field. Nowadays this is slightly different. AI has also become a field of competition between large companies and power blocks. These multinational companies have become a major source of progress and innovation and create immense societal and economic impact. AI is also in the focus of interest of governments, policy makers and the public at large. Regulations are being designed, sometimes driven by fear, ethical considerations but also by perspectives of an improved quality of living, both at the societal and the individual level.

In this workshop, the recent AI (r)evolution will be analyzed and discussed from research and development point of view, and economic impact. The emphasis will be on the China/Europe/USA perspective. The question will be raised of how universities can position themselves to contribute significantly and positively to this overwhelming AI (r)evolution.

Currently, China and the US are battling to become the world's first AI superpowers. Europe seems to be absent in this race. Companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Microsoft are being challenged by the likes of Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba.

The reasons why the usage of A.I. in China could surpass the U.S. and definitively Europe are central in the debate. As Artificial Intelligence will impact our lives deeply in the next 10 years to come, are we comfortable to buy Chinese products empowered with Chinese A.I.? Would we buy a self-driving car or intelligence fridge made by a Chinese brand? Are we OK to get eye surgery or accept a cancer diagnosis from a Chinese A.I. robot? How to cope with the realities of China's A.I. trends, ambitions and globalization plans. How to evaluate the benefits and risks of Chinese Intelligence getting into our lives undetected? What is Europe doing to secure a leading role in the AI field and capitalizing on the university research results? These are but a few consumer and policy questions that can enlighten the debate.

Activities of the Workshop

Organized by the UCIP project, VUB, BACES, and Confucius Institute of VUB.

Presentations were given by:

  • Tias Guns (VUB) on "Demystifying Artificial Intelligence"
  • Pascal Coppens ( on "Artificial Intelligence: The New Normal"
  • Daniel Wong (Landon Financial Advisors) on "The Rise of Consumer AI in China"
  • Salvatore Spinello (EC-Research Executive Agency) on "Opportunities for AI Multidisciplinary Research: FET Open"
  • Tom Vandendooren (Sentiance) on ""The good, bad & scary of establishing an AI business in China"

A rountable and concluding remarks were given by Jan Cornelis on "China, Europe: Bottlenecks, threads, opportunities and strategies for collaboration in AI."

Results of the Workshop

A discussion report on this workshop will be available soon in our documents section.

Pictures from the workshop can be found here.