DiSummit 2019 in a nutshell and why it’s a place to be on June 26th!

Interview by Tatiana Donets with Philippe Van Impe

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. .

This is already the fifth time you organise the DiSummit. Why did you decide to dedicate this year edition to the theme of « Being human in the age of AI »?

Philippe Van Impe: Last year we developed the theme of « AI demystification », showing that in Belgium we have been active in the AI domain for over twenty years and lived through two AI winters already.

The year before we were focussing on « Data4good initiatives » (or how we can use data to build a better world).

Taking into account what was going on at European level (for example the work of Natalie Smuha coordinating a European agreement called Draft Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI), as well as different local initiatives such as #AI4Belgium, it was natural that the human side of AI would get a podium this year.

In my opinion it is a good, positive theme that will promote AI and explain that it is not a “dangerous” thing.

What will be the main topics covered during this edition?

Philippe Van Impe: We will mostly focus on how to drive ethical AI into business and corporate world. We will also host the AI-awards – showing that today Belgium has a lot of start-ups using AI as a main differentiator to their product.

On top of this we’ll keep the formula that worked well last year:

  1. Big networking event of the entire #AI4belgium and Datascience community.
  2. Thirty one-hour workshops and master classes.
  3. More than forty inspiring presentations.

Speaking of ethics: lately we heard a lot about a biased AI raising a question of gender and racial discrimination. In your opinion how can the AI contribute to promote gender or equality for example?

Philippe Van Impe: The first conference we organised five years ago turned out to have 85% of male speakers. In 2016 we have already counterbalanced this by focussing on women in AI.

Having a gender-balanced agenda is just normal and is something that we want to achieve, even if the ladies are a little bit less proactive in proposing pitches. It is our task as a community to motivate them to share their ideas. This will automatically lead to a more balanced agenda where other topics are being put forward.

To answer your question it is clear that AI could include additional test to make sure that obvious bias is taken out of the equation. I have seen different start-ups promoting the fact that they are an ethical AI company.

Can you name some of your keynote speakers?

Philippe Van Impe: This year we have forty-five outstanding speakers. Here are some of them:

  • Luc Julia – worked on Siri and is currently driving innovation at Samsung.
  • Stephen Brobst – advised Obama on Bigdata issues and is now CTO of Teradata.
  • Caroline Pauwels & Yvon Englert –working hard to promote bilingual education in Brussels
  • Lorelien Hoet will explain us the basics of Ethical AI.

Europe is considered to be way behind USA and China in terms of AI race. How do you see a possible contribution of Brussels and Europe to AI development?

Philippe Van Impe: I believe we are well positioned in terms of our education system. Certainly in Belgium quantitative sciences are amongst the best taught subjects.

The fact that we are in the middle of the Ethical AI discussion will help us a lot: already today we see this topic presented to the students in the different data science courses.

We cannot compete in the R&D area. Certainly US, with its universities and companies, such as Google, Amazon, Apple, are far ahead – most of the AI innovations will come from there.

China, on the other hand, is stronger in using technology in practical cases. They are better in rolling out the technology. I believe that it is where we can make a difference as well.

Our country is a complex country with different rules and languages, so if you develop a solution here it will automatically include all the possible alternatives needed to deploy in any other country.

In your opinion may this event be of interest for general public outside Data science and AI community and why?

Philippe Van Impe: Yes, of course. Everyone uses AI today, so it is good for people to understand its limitations. During the event we will demonstrate many different applications where AI is used.

And finally can you give us your three main reasons to attend DiSummit 2019?

Philippe Van Impe: Because it is the annual event of the AI4Belgium and datascience community.
There are many reasons why you should come to DiSummit 2019 but if I have to choose, here are my main three:

  1. To inspire your team with real live business cases.
  2. To learn new techniques and develop new ideas in the workshops.
  3. To meet opinion leaders and be part of the AI4Belgium network.

Anything else you would like to add ?

Philippe Van Impe: Yes I would like to thank all our partners over the past years we are still working with the same partners but their number has increase at each event. Special thanks to:

  • all communities & meetups groups that are contributing each year to the success of this event
  • the speakers and trainers who are going to share their experience with all of us
  • the structural partners icity.brussels, hub.brussels, digityser.org, AI4Belgium and Accenture.
  • The numerous partners who are always supporting our activities

 

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.

more info: disummit.org – Facebook – Twitter  – Linkedin – Instagram – Youtube

dis2018 – High time to select the leading topic

Dear Friends,

It is high time to select the leading topic for the 5th Data Innovation Summit that will be held at the university of Brussels on June 26th, 2019.

Most of you  liked our new location and our partnership with Icity.brussels , also the timing end of June was  perceived as the ideal moment to do a team event just before the holidays start.

Now that we have demystified A.I. I suggest that we focus on “How AI can save our humanity”  or “Being Human in the age of AI”:

Ensuring that AI serves the public good requires the public to know how the platforms are deploying these technologies and how they shape the flow of information through the web today. However, as many others have pointed out, the level of transparency and accountability around these decisions has been limited, and we’re seeking ideas that help to raise it. This might be new policies in the form of draft legislation, or technical tools that help keep an eye on the information ecosystem.

I propose that the plenary presentations should be talking about:

  • AI serves the public good
  • Create an ethics and standards toolkit for using AI
  • Promote accountability in the use of AI
  • AI and Justice
  • AI and qualitative information
  • How we can build AI to help humans, not hurt us
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) in the news ecosystem
  • How to get empowered, not overpowered by AI
  • How do we make artificial intelligence work for unique community needs and cultural contexts
  • Can we build AI without losing control over it ?
  • Principles of creating a safer A.I.
  • Being human in the age of AI
  • How AI can enhance our memory, work and social lives.

I must admit I got inspired by the Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative, a hybrid research effort and philanthropic fund that seeks to ensure that technologies of automation and machine learning are researched, developed, and deployed in a way that vindicate social values of fairness, human autonomy and justice.

Let’s find a good title for the event first and meet early next year to discuss how we want to organise dis2019.

Please register for this workshop on eventbrite: https://launching-dis2019.eventbrite.co.uk

di-Summit

 

 

 

 

Highlights of diSummit 2018

Looking at the quality of this year’s speakers and the number of tickets sold,  it looks like the #DISUMMIT is becoming the “annual conference of the European #AI ecosystem “

Here is the success formula:

  1. diSummit is organised together with Icity.brussels at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles. We expect 800 participants.
  2. The event is the annual conference of the #datascience community grouping all the related meetups like Data Science Community (Brussels, Liège, Antwerp, Ghent, Leuve),  R-ladies, #AI meetup …
  3. It is a Team event where companies send out their teams to update their skills and to get some inspiration.
  4. All the stakeholders of the #AI ecosystem are participating:
    Academic – Political – Communities – Start-ups – SME – Big Corporates:

    1. CxO of top startups like Collibra or Digital Genius
    2. #AI Think thanks from different countries ( Hub France #AI , Vlaanderen AI , UK )
    3. Top universities present with speakers and workshops (Monreal, KUL, ULB, VUB …)
    4. Passionate speakers with less experience in the Ingnite talk sessions
  5. Lots Networking is organised to allow everyone to connect with the right people of the industry.
  6. Companies recruiting are present at the Jobfair to meet the experts and the young graduates that wil be present.
  7. At the Partner Village companies looking for solutions can talk to the real experts
  8. Inspiring day geared around learning and sharing
    1. Over 50 presentations in the plenary
    2. Master Classes for the managers in the break outs
    3. Hands-on sessions for the nerds in the break outs
  9. There is a very exclusive speakers’ dinner hosted by Prof. Hugues Bersini on June 20th.
  10. And at the end the day there is a BBQ with the best craft beers of Brussels

It is the 4th edition and all previous editions were sold out.
Please don’t forget to forward this to your teams and recruiting experts because you can still book a booth at the JobFair or in the Partner Village.

Key Figures about the event:

  • 7 parallel session – 1 auditorium for 800p and 6 classrooms for 60p
  • 800 participants coming from the entire #AI ecosystem
  • 50 Presentations
  • 10 Master Classes
  • 10 Hands-on workshops
  • 50 companies recruiting

More information:  disummit.com
Check out the videos.  

 

#DISUMMIT – #machinelearning to improve ranking system of schools by Fritz Schiltz

 

DiS18_Speakers_Fritz SchiltzPresenting Fritz Schiltz our youngest speaker of #disummit – he will talk about using #machinelearning to improve the ranking system of schools.

Fritz is an applied econometrician at the University of Leuven where he applies advanced analytics to evaluate policies, mainly in education. He has worked on reports for the European Union, the Ministry of Education and Syntra. Halfway his PhD in Economics he shifted his interests towards machine learning methods. His presentation is the result from joint work with the Bank of Italy and illustrates how machine learning or AI methods can be used to improve school rankings using an Italian dataset.

Machine learning methods can be used to improve the assessment of school quality. School rankings based on value-added (VA) estimates are subject to prediction errors, since VA is defined as the difference between predicted and actual scores of students. More accurate predictions result in more informative school rankings, and better policies. We introduce a more flexible random forest (RF), rooted in the machine learning literature, to minimize prediction errors and to improve school rankings. Monte Carlo simulations demonstrate the advantages of this approach. Applying the proposed method to administrative data on Italian middle schools indicates that school rankings are sensitive to prediction errors, even when extensive controls are added.

 

#DISUMMIT – PN Schwab – Data Sovereignty

DiS18_Speakers_Pierre-Nicolas SchwabAt the 2017 Data Innovation Summit I highlighted the need to take ethics into account when designing algorithms (see also the first meetup we organized at DigitYser with the help of Philippe on this topic). This was my priority at RTBF and has been one of my main area of work at European level as chairman of the Big Data Initiative of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). This priority seems nowadays to be shared by many and I’m pleased to see that the situation has improved a lot in the last months. I’ll start my 2018 keynote at the Data Innovation Summit with some concrete examples before moving on the next big challenge (and the topic of my 2018 talk): Data Sovereignty.

I first coined this term during a keynote speech I gave earlier this year to RTBF employees in an attempt to raise their awareness on why we need to become less dependent of internet traffic referral sites like Google and Facebook. I further explained my vision in this article.
Data sovereignty is especially crucial for media websites which rely too much on on Google and Facebook. Some fellow members of the European Broadcasting Union have seen their traffic badly hit after Facebook and Google changed their algorithms, revealing our overall dependency to these third-party ecosystems.
At the 2018 Data Innovation Summit I’ll give some astonishing examples of this dependency and will explain the RTBF strategy and what we have done in the last 12 months to achieve our goal: becoming more data-independent and building a sustainable and bright long-term future for our organization.
Besides explaining the steps we undertook to realize this, I will also share with you the message I gave to the members of the EBU Big Data Initiative and the “state of the union” as far as data independency is concerned.

I hope to see you in Brussels on 27 June and to share ideas with you on those important topics.

Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of market research agency IntoTheMinds
He has been Big Data manager at RTBF (Belgium) since 2016 and was elected chairman of the Big Data Initiative of the European Broadcasting Union (Switzerland) in 2017.

Invite your team to #DISUMMIT on 27/6

 

#DISUMMIT :  First Team Packs have been ordered !

team pack 8

Here is one of the analytic teams who is going to spend a full day at the Université libre de Bruxelles to find some inspirations for their next #AI project.

You should invite your team too,

get inspired from over 40 presentations, benefit from the master classes & hands-on workshops, do loads of networking and end off with a BBQ in the Beergarden. 

Order the team pack now and join us on June 27th for the annual conference of the data science community. 

team-pack-infoteam-pack

more info on disummit.com

Have you invited your team to DISUMMIT yet ?

#DISUMMIT – Share this with your team.

pablo (7)We are now 4 weeks away from the Annual Conference of the #DataScience Community – JUNE 27 – Université libre de Bruxelles

It will be your team event ! Just that day of the year where you can spend the day with your team and your boss to get inspired by the 40 presentations, sharpen your management skills in the Master Classes, Nerd-Out in the Hands-Out Workshops, Network your socks off in the Partner Village, find new experts for your team at the JobFair and Celebrate your successes during the BBQ in the Beergarden.

Special Team offer (1.000€) :

  • 1 Exclusive invitation to the speakers’ dinner (20/6)
  • 7 Standard Tickets
  • 1 Special 60d advertising on jobpage to find your new team member
  • 7 invitations to the BBQ in the Beergarden
  • Sponsoring of 1 student ticket
  • + Access to DigitYSer for your next teammeeting

more info disummit.com

 

2

#DISUMMIT – LAST CALL FOR SPEAKERS

call for speakers 2 (1)

Last call for speakers. If you want to share your experience in a 5 or 12 minutes talk during the summit, please fill in this form. The deadline Friday May 18th at 24:00.

The Data Innovation Summit

The diSummit (Data Innovation Summit) is a one-day corporate conference taking place each year in Brussels. It is organised by the Data Science Community of Belgium to reunite all players of the data science sector, to diffuse knowledge and share ideas. It is innovative pitches, exhibition booths, head hunting and networking, all in a humane atmosphere. It is open to professionals and students interested in the sector.

Date & Time

This year’s summit will take place on 27th June at ULB Campus Solbosch. Door open at 7:30 AM, first pitch starts at 8:45 AM. Last pitch is at 17:30 PM, doors close at 18:30 PM. There is a beer garden organised by DigitYser starting then.

There have been three previous renditions until present date, all sold out to 500+ participants. We have selected a bigger venue this year to accommodate more participants.

Conference Theme

This year’s conference theme is “A.I. Demystified”. People often have a negative “evil-robots-invading-humankind” idea of A.I., when unfamiliar with the technology. That image is absolutely fictional. As such, the diSummit is organised to change that perception by spreading up-to-date knowledge to the community. A.I. is a useful tool that can optimize specific elements of digitalisation. It is a powerful tool controlled by ordinary people, no more, no less. Through the Summit, the Data Science Community hopes to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, to keep all of its members aware of all the benefits and implications of the A.I. technology.

#DISUMMIT – higher expectations

Dear Friends,

On June 27th the Data Science Community will hold its 4th annual conference at the ULB. You can expect a day packed with innovative ideas, lots of networking opportunities and FUN. We will have 40 speakers, 6 master classes and 6 hands-on workshops, all in the efforts of demystifying Artificial Intelligence.

Call for speakers: We have received 25 answers to our call for speakers up to now. There still are a few slots available! Hurry up in applying to speak, we are finalising the agenda. I’m sure you have one valuable lesson or another to share with our audience of 800 data experts.

The Keynote speaker: There is a budget for getting the best A.I. expert able at bringing the true face of A.I. to light to us to speak at this year’s Summit. So if you have someone in mind that impressed you recently, please send me his/her details.

The location: In the previous 3 editions of the Summit, we constantly had trouble fitting all our eager participants into the available space. No more. This year, we reserved a much much bigger location for you all – 2,5 time larger to be exact – with one plenary seating room of 800 seats and 6 big training rooms on 2 floors at the ULB Solbosch Campus Auditorium K.

Partner Village and Job Fair: There will be 2 vast areas for networking. One for the partners to show off their innovative ideas; the other for all to hire their best candidates.

Invite your team: Make from #disummit your annual team event and have a productive day with your team at the University of Brussels.

Recruit the best: You can promote your outstanding jobs, participate to the Job Fair and sponsor the tickets for students.

Network and Nerd-Out: Opportunities to network and have fun will be plenty. We will use the conversation starter app again to facilitate your connexion with the most pertinent people. After the Summit, we have a beer garden set up for you to nerd-out after work with craft beer and a barbecue. Yes.

Spread the word: As we have more capacity this year, we are implementing a special incentive program to reward your help in promoting the Summit. You are invited to bring your community at discounted rates and to earn free tickets.

More information on disummit.com

I’m looking forward to meeting you again! Don’t hesitate to contact me, should you have any questions.

Philippe Van Impe

O477 23 78 42

philippe@digityser.org