Brussels loves AI

Why Brussels is the best place to open a European HQ for tech companies.

A recent report from EY shows that 2018 was an absolute record year for attracting foreign direct investments (FDI). A total of 278 foreign investment projects were initiated, representing a 29% increase on the previous year and creating an all-time high number of jobs (7,363). With this increase, Belgium is going against the European trend. More than 1500 international companies’ HQ are now already established in Brussels. The capital of Europe has everything a company needs: an open economy, business incentives and services, a strong infrastructure, and a talent pool of multilingual, highly skilled professionals in all sectors. Being the world’s 2nd most cosmopolitan city and located at the crossroads of Western European cultures, this is actually not very surprising.

Belgium has also essential assets regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI). 
It has a tradition of world-class AI researchers, some of whom were at the cradle of artificial intelligence. Additionally, Belgium ranks 9th in the “Digital Economy and Society Index” within the EU with a society that largely embraces AI as a novel and promising technology rather than a threat.

The Brussels Region had a pioneering role in AI since long before it became a buzzword, hosting, for instance, the first academic laboratory dedicated to AI in Europe at the University of Brussels. The most active research groups are The IRIDIA laboratoryThe AI Experience Centre  and The Machine learning Group

Hugues Bersini

Prof Dr Hugues Bersini, founder of the AI lab of the ULB

 

Ingrid Daubechies

Prof Dr Ingrid Daubechies, The most cited Belgian mathematician, recognized for her study of the mathematical methods that enhance image-compression technology

 

Belgian employees are among the leaders in the use of artificial intelligence in the workplace. 54% of employees are already confronted with artificial intelligence at work or expect this to happen in the next two years. The Belgians are also predominantly positive about the use of AI at work. More than six in ten say that AI has a positive effect on their productivity. 

The Brussels Region also supports companies in their AI endeavours, both from innovation, technical, finance and a business point of view.

  1. Innoviris, the Brussels Region funding body, has been providing significant support to AI-related research and innovation, steadily ramping up its support programs in this field, with a dedicated budget of € 20M over the past 2 years. In particular, an AI call (“Team Up”) aimed at fostering collaboration between academia and industry was launched in 2017. This program reflects the Brussels Region approach to AI development, which emphasises collaborative research and open innovation.
  2. For the technical aspects, one can mention the leading role of Sirris Brussels, through its Elucidata laboratory, and of the Icity.Brussels technology hub, both co-funded by the Brussels Region and ERDF
  3. The finance.brussels group SRIB/GIMB aims at providing financial support for the creation, reorganisation or expansion of private companies located in the region. In addition to investment, they support entrepreneurs in all phases of their company’s development. BRUSTART provides financial solutions to young innovative companies that are in the launching or starting-up phase. It supports technological innovation through the seed-capital fund, which is directed towards spin-offs.
  4. As for the business aspects, the Region Brussels Capital launched in 2017 the Nexttech.brussels plan coordinated by hub.brussels and gathers main entities involved in AI in the Region. Moreover, hub.brussels and its cluster software.brussels provide tailor-made support and advice.

 

One other important aspect of the Brussels is their support for the Tech communities. The Region expects to continue building on the success of the Data Science Community, made of AI experts and practitioners. This community counts several thousand members and organizes more than a hundred events per year and one European Data Innovation Summit.
The region has co-financed a dedicated tech and starter Hub called DigitYser where communities can gather to boost their digital skills and raise awareness on AI and data literacy. 

DigitYser also is the regional driver of AI4Belgium the community-led approach to enable Belgian people and organisations to capture the opportunities of AI while facilitating the ongoing transition responsibly. AI 4 Belgium has the ambition to position Belgium in the European AI landscape. We are currently assisting the newly elected government to define their AI strategy based on the European recommendations.

The Brussels’ AI strategy is based on 6 pillars

  • Data literacy and AI training for all
  • Support R&D and promote innovation
  • Setting up a responsible data strategy and promote open data
  • Promote the use of AI in the private industries & SME’s
  • Promote the use of AI in the public sector
  • Position Brussels as the driving AI city of Europe 

More skills development is made possible with the development of new training programs, namely with the Microsoft AI School, the Big Data Bxl and AI Black Belt initiative.

3 tech hubs are promoting AI actively:

  • Becentral – The digital campus of Brussels
  • Betacowork – Coworking and Community for freelancers & entrepreneurs.
  • DigitYser – The home of the AI & datascience community in Brussels

Brussels and Antwerp are in the top 15 hubs of artificial intelligence talent in Europe, according to a new report from the international venture capital firm Atomico. That is one of the conclusions in ‘The State of European Tech‘, a new report from venture firm Atomico and the Finnish tech conference Slush published in 2016. Atomico and Slush use LinkedIn data as a source for their conclusions. To be more precise: cities with the highest amount of LinkedIn members with AI skills.

Our main argument is that Brussels is also a very pleasant place to live and a family-friendly environment blessed with a welcoming heart. A business city teeming with opportunities, but also a relaxing home, ideal for enjoying life’s sweeter side. Lying at the crossroads of Western Europe’s cultures while being home to so many citizens from all over the world definitely makes Brussels a human-sized global city where local culture and cosmopolitanism get along perfectly.

So in summary here are the top 7 reasons to put Brussels in your shortlist:

  1. Located in the centre of Europe, 
  2. Low cost of living and high quality of life,
  3. Available AI talent at an acceptable price 
  4. Top universities and innovation programs, 
  5. Practical Regional & Federal support, 
  6. Very active AI communities and expert groups
  7. Tech & starters’ hubs to host and support your new venture  

Looking at this it is not surprising that Brussels has become the best place to open a European HQ for a tech company.

 

About the author: 

Philippe Van Impe is the driver of the AI & data science community of Belgium, the founder of DigitYser – the tech & starters’ hub of Brussels and a business coach for companies who wants to start their European HQ in Brussels.

 

Bruxelles accueille le 5e sommet de l’intelligence artificielle

Le Disummit, le rendez-vous organisé par et pour la communauté belge travaillant sur l’intelligence artificielle (IA) et la science des données, se tiendra mercredi sur le campus du Solbosch de l’Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

Environ 900 personnes sont attendues pour cette 5e édition placée sous le thème “Être humain à l’ère de l’intelligence artificielle”. Si cet événement est d’abord à destination des entreprises et des professionnels du secteur, il s’ouvre à moindre coût aux étudiants et à des tarifs réduits au grand public. Une trentaine d’exposants, parmi lesquels Hub.brussels et des leaders technologiques comme Accenture, Fujitsu, IBM et Microsoft, présenteront leurs derniers produits. De plus, 40 intervenants animeront des conférences, et 12 master classes ainsi que 12 ateliers pratiques permettront d’aller plus loin en s’attardant sur certains projets. Invité de premier ordre, Luc Julia, responsable de l’innovation chez Samsung qui a travaillé sur Siri, la commande vocale d’Apple, viendra parler de son livre “L’intelligence artificielle n’existe pas”, dans lequel il préfère parler d’intelligence augmentée développée grâce à des outils de traitement de données, qui permettent de prendre de meilleures décisions. Il y aura également Stephen Brobst, Chief Technology Officer de la société Teradata qui a conseillé l’ancien président américain Barack Obama sur les questions relatives au big data. Il abordera quant à lui la gestion des biais dans les données.

Le Disummit vise à créer un pont entre l’académique et le business en informant le management des grandes sociétés sur les possibles de l’IA et les académiciens sur les attentes actuelles dans le secteur. “La Belgique a toujours eu de très bons résultats dans toutes les sciences quantitatives par rapport aux autres pays“, estime l’organisateur Philippe Van Impe, fondateur et CEO de l’ASBL DigitYser. “Elle a donc les compétences requises pour aborder cette vague de l’intelligence artificielle, mais elle ne doit pas se tromper de cible et bien choisir ses batailles. Elle ne peut pas se battre contre les grands centres américains de recherche et développement comme Google ou Amazon.” “Je propose de se battre avec des armes propres, pour une intelligence artificielle éthique, en permettant à tous ces outils d’intelligence artificielle développés ailleurs d’atterrir dans l’espace européen, qui est probablement le plus complexe au monde avec les différentes langues, les différents niveaux de gouvernement, les réglementations multiples…“, poursuit Philippe Van Impe. “Avec son approche pragmatique qui lui permet de toujours arriver à un compromis, la Belgique a les atouts pour devenir le point d’entrée des Américains, des Chinois ou des Indiens sur le marché européen“. Philippe Van Impe remarque de plus que le cadre européen qui a été posé pour commencer à régenter le respect de la vie privée et l’éthique dans l’intelligence artificielle peut réfréner des pays qui n’en disposent pas ou peu.

BELGA

Make sure you do not miss the chance to be a part of the AI Ecosystem of Belgium!

Outstanding speakers

Inspiring project presentations

Great partners

In-depth trainings

Amazing networking app

Fantastic team

More participants than last year

Buy your ticket now

Higher personalised discounts

Promising startups

AI-Awards

Long party: don’t expect to be home on time

AI-Awards – Semi Finals – Thursday 16th of May at 19:00

DIS19 semi Finals

We are pleased to announce that the semi finals of the AI awards will take place at DigitYser on May 16th. We will start at 19:00 sharp.

Over the past month over 60 startups have been nominated to become the AI startup of the year. This Thursday you will have the opportunity to meet them in person and to listen to their story.

You can reserve your ticket here .

To find out more about the AI-Awards, please check out our website : disummit.org .

 

 

 

Desiree is our new partner manager

Dear friends,

I’m pleased to introduce you to your new partner manager Mrs Désirée Timmermans.
Désirée is passionate about IT, marketing, and organizations. Her experience as marketing manager for major IT companies is helping us a lot to understand what the partners of the diSummit really expect.
She will be our partner satisfaction manager, making sure each partner gets the maximum out of his investment.

So to become partner you can:

Download: Partnership presentation.
Call Desiree at + 32 2 808 85 64
Send an email to partners@disummit.org

 

AI in Belgium is booming, and we are in this journey together with you.

This year, all members of the #AI4Belgium and #datascience community meet at the ULB for a full day event focusing on being human in the world of #AI.

The diSummit 2019 gives you the opportunity to be actively part of the entire ecosystem built around the artificial intelligence initiatives and meetups in Belgium. Around 1000 datascience enthusiasts attend this last big gathering before the summer. You will meet the people that delivered the first AI projects in Belgium, and also have the chance to meet the most inspiring startups. In addition, you will experience that #AI is an essential tool to deliver successful projects.

To inspire you, we invited some key international opinion leaders:

  • Dr Luc Julia led the Apple team who developed SIRI. Now, he is driving the innovation team of Samsung.

  • Dr Stephen Brobst is a former advisor of president Obama on big data issues and was one of America’s Top 5 CTO’s.

During the event, three AI-Awards are announced: best AI-Project, most promising startup, and AI personality of the year. The winners are elected by you and the other participants of the diSummit.

Do you like what you have read? Contact Desiree and check out how your company can get into the spotlight and meet new prospects. We prepared different partnering options for you and your prospects on disummit.org, and on May 29th we organize a special diSummit partner pre-meeting at the ULB to ensure you get the most out of your partnership.

I’m looking forward to meeting you during your video recording and at the speaker’s dinner on June 13th at DigitYser.

Kind regards,

Philippe Van Impe
diSummit: +32 2 808 85 64
 
About diSummit:

On June 26th the AI4Belgium & Data Science Community will hold their 5th annual Summit. You can expect a day packed with innovative ideas and discussions, lots of networking opportunities and perhaps most importantly a chance to have fun with professionals from a wide array of backgrounds.

Like last year our event will take place at the ULB in Brussels in building K. On the main stage we will have 45 esteemed speakers who will seek to inspire you and 6 other parallel tracks. We have also prepared 12 master classes on topics as diverse and critical as ethics, recruiting and architecture as well as 12 workshops for the more hands-on people .

Furthermore, the Job fair will be bigger and better than ever before! There will be a space for the regional AI-initiatives and like last year a partner village will be on the ground floor.

In addition to this, this year we are adding the AI Awards to reward the most interesting AI-projects and the most promising AI-startup.

D-82: Latest news about the Data Innovation Summit

About the DiSummit 2019
Visit the official website

Get your Discount code
Get your Ticket Now !

Nominate your AI Award
AI Awards

Partner with us
Choose your package

Call for Speaker
Fill the form here

Join the team
Call for Volunteers

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IT’S RAINING AI STRATEGIES in Europe – #ai4belgium

After Denmark and Finland published their strategies last week, Belgium released its own plan Monday. Ministers De Backer & De Croo were joined by Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip in Brussels for the presentation, which — like Europe’s grand plan for AI — asserts that AI will create jobs in high-end industries and manufacturing, with ethics as a guiding idea.

This article was originally written by Politico.

A survey out this morning, seen by POLITICO, shows that Belgians are enthusiastic about the benefits of AI. But it also raises red flags about public support, with 85 percent of respondents saying they were concerned about the privacy implications of AI technology. Belgium still has some convincing to do, just as the rest of Europe does.

Meanwhile the EU’s high-level expert group meets today and tomorrow to finalize non-binding guidelines for “trustworthy” AI to be released in early April. Members will also start to discuss their next report, which focuses on boosting European investment into AI and is due for publication early this summer.

Though it’s non-binding, that second document will set the tone for what sort of regulation, if any, is needed. The group remains deeply divided. Some members argue that Europe should control its urge to regulate and let courts issue rulings as the technology progresses. Other argue that Europe needs to establish rules early in the game so as to influence AI standards worldwide.

Your Morning Tech team will discuss those questions with decisionmakers from across the board tonight and tomorrow at this year’s “AI: Innovation & Governance” Summit here in Brussels. There will be plenty of debate about Europe’s “ethics-first” approach to catching up with China and the United States. Views on Europe’s attitude range from “it’s an act of genius” to “slow suicide.” Click here or scroll down for Janosch Delcker’s dive into how the world views Europe’s principle-based approach to innovation.

It is also time to submit your proposal for the #ai-awards that will be announced at the #disummit2019.

Let’s build the content of the diSummit together

PLEASE nominate your favourite speaker, startup or project in a separate linkedin post using disummit2019 .
The annual conference of the AI & Data Science Community of Belgium will again take place at the ULB.
The format of the summit on 26/6 is the same as last year: 1 plenary of 800 people, 3 master classes & 3 hands-on tracks of 60 each.
And we have added 2 semi finals at DigitYser to select 7 finalists from the long lists of nominees in the categories:
  • April 11th – AI project of the year  
  • May 16th – AI start-up of the year  

Datascience meetup on Legaltech

 

We had in total 175 people registered for S05E03 meetup of the #datascience community of Brussels. 3 legaltech companies demonstrated how they are using datascience to offer better legal services.

Our speakers explained that the data in the legal industry is mainly words and explained us their approach to process vast amounts of unstructured data through Natural Language Processing techniques (NLP).

The event was held in the clubhouse of the AI & Datascience community at DigitYser on February 7th, 2019. Like always it started with a happy hour at 18:00. All presentations were recorded by Ricardo head of the technical team of DigitYser and made available on our different channels. YoutubeTwitter – Facebook.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 15.22.20.png

Presentation 1 started at 19:00:

How Reacfin proposed to use NLP and deeplearning to check conformity of legal and contractual documents in the re-assurance business.

Reacfin explained us a use case in the re-insurance business. They used NLP to automate the review of huge contracts. Aurélien Couloumy, head of data science, led us through their step by step approach to tackle this issue using Spacy.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 15.07.03

Presentation 2 started at 19:25:

How Jetpack.AI won the #hackBXLaw in November 2018.

The winners of the hackathon on debt recovery, Jetpack.ai, explained their problem solving approach that led them to win the contest and develop their tool: Magpie.

Dodo Chochitaichvili and Gautier Krings explained us how lawyers and data scientists worked together using an agile methodology & KISS principles  where the first iteration was the production of a skateboard.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 15.49.16.png

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Presentation 3 started at 19:50:

Darts-IP explained how AI combined with high quality data is revolutionising Intellectual Property practices.@

The managing director of Darts-ip, Evrard Van Zuylen, and the data scientist, Vignesh Baskaran, aka Vicky  introduced the technology they develop to create a comprehensive database on patents around the globe. They explained the data science process management that lead to their competitive advantage. ”

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 15.50.18

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 15.32.00

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 15.04.24

 

 

#DISUMMIT2019

We are please to announce that the call for speakers is out

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Newsletter from the Data Science Association

February 3, 2019

Together, we can shape a better future using data science!

Data scientists have the best job in the world!

Join us in London, March 19-20, 2019 for Deep Learning In Finance Summit. Discover advances in deep learning tools and techniques from the world’s leading innovators across industry, research and the financial sector. Learn about deep learning applications in the financial sector from algorithms to forecast financial data, to tools used for data mining & pattern recognition in financial time series, to scaling predictive models, to stock market prediction, to using blockchain technology. Register here.

Belgian Meetups:

Meetup: Data Science Meetup – Legaltech –  DigitYser, Brussels – February 7, 2019 18:30

Meetup: Using AI to Fight Disinformation in European Elections – Brussels – Feb 20 from 9 to 10:30 AM

Meetup: AI & Ethics –  DigitYser, Brussels – February 20, 2019 18:30.

 

Events

Event: Data Science Salon – Austin, TX – February 21-22, 2019.

Event: MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference – Boston, MA – March 1-2, 2019.

Event: Bio-IT World Conference & Expo – San Francisco – March 10-15, 2019.

Event: Deep Learning In Finance Summit – London – March 19-20, 2019.

 

Call for speakers:

di-Summit – ULBrussels June 26th 2019

 

New Books from DSA Store:

New DSA Videos:

New DSA Resources:

New Data Science News Articles:

 

© 2019 Data Science Association, Inc. — All Rights Reserved.

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