Pierre-Nicolas Schwab @ DISUMMIT 2017: “What we desperately need are ethical algorithms”

DiS17_Speaker_11:15_Pierre-Nicolas Schabb

Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is in charge of the Big Data/CRM program at RTBF, the French-speaking public broadcasting organization of Belgium. He holds an MSc in chemistry, a MBA in finance and a PhD in marketing.  As external consultant, he has carried out some 70 assignments in various industries, combining his passion for data and deep interest for consumer behaviors.

About Pierre and setting up rules to have more ethical algorithms

Pierre’s passion for linking data with consumer behaviour led him to share with us why there should be more focus to make algorithms more ethical. While algorithms are present everywhere, people have are just questioning their integrity. Little by little, the dark side of algorithms is becoming more visible, and -most likely- in a deliberate way.

The fact that organisations are using algorithms against the benefit of their user base raises eyebrows and threatens its relationship. For instance, in an era in which “fake news” is a common topic, personalising the content may be perceived as hiding some key facts which provide a full view of the context, breaking the users’ trust. This is crucial for companies like RTBF.

The reality is that algorithms are not neutral, and either by their technical limitations or by the vision of their developers, they pose serious threats. At the end, it is essential to set up rules towards algorithms design and use. This means that the whole algorithm cycle (design, implementation and follow-up) is subject to a transparency and governance process supported by showing the algorithms (taking them out from their “black box”) and educating the users on how the algorithms work.

Organisations need to include rules and procedures towards algorithms. This is key to ensure both a healthy reputation and relationship with their users.

Our favorite phrase from Pierre-Nicolas’s presentation

“Cow-boy behaviors must end!”


We thank Pierre for the handy tips he shared to help organisations to aim for more ethical algorithms, hoping that many organisations consider them!

Pierre’s interview:

Pierre’s presentation recording:

Pierre’s deck:

[To be uploaded asap]

Pierre’s presentation drawing:


Jos Polfliet @ DISUMMIT 2017: “Preventing suicide using text analytics”

Jos Polfliet is a data scientist working for SAS who loves analysing complex problems and predicting the future. He believes in using the power of data to transform and improve the world in almost every field, as he has experienced with the project he came to share at DI Summit.

About Jos sharing how text analytics can prevent suicide

Jos shared his experience in Canada at that the Data Impact Challenge organised by the Canadian organisation Imagine Nation. The challenge Jos and his worked on was on  analysing 1.1 million tweets of Canadian teenagers on bullying and suicidal thoughts to spot patterns which could then be used to develop actions towards youth mental health.

Rather than the award his solution received, what is focal to Jos is how can it be replicated in other locations. During his presentation at DI Summit, Jos requested the attendees to provide leads of people who could help him to replicate the analysis in Belgium. Less than an hour later, he already had 3 leads, some of them related to profiles Jos would not have thought about!

In order to boost the power of data, Jos mainly gets inspired by following people online. He attends offline events mainly for meeting potential partners for projects, and -like he did- to make a call for a specific need.

To wrap up, Jos invited organisations to reflect on the data they have and organise regular review with the business departments to, according to their priorities, crosscheck with the business departments to spot the opportunities and projects which can be developed.

Our favorite phrase from Jos’s presentation

“Don’t let data sitting around without asking what can be done with it”


We hope that Jos keeps on sharing with us how data analysis has been used in different contexts!

Jos’s interview:

Jos’s presentation recording:

Jos’s decks:

[To be uploaded asap]

Jos’s presentation drawing:


Rishi Kumar @ DISUMMIT 2017: “Data for Good, Lesson from the Frontline”

DiS17_Speaker_09:28_Rishi KumarRishi Nalin Kumar is the Chief Scientist at eBench. He is an analytics expert who has worked in the corporate and startup environments while also supports DataKind, which fosters the collaboration between top data scientists and social change organisations in projects to maximise positive social impact.

About Rishi and what ideal data for good projects should have

Rishi visited us from London to share his main lessons as DataKind’s Chapter Lead. He is enthusiastic about having an increasing number of initiatives (like hackathons and organisations -of all kinds-) which have as startpoint a societal challenge requiring solutions via analysing data pools.

His experience in building synergies to use data as  a catalyser for social change has taught him to keep an open mind to changes, as the original objective set for a project may evolve along with its findings. Additionally, Rishi emphasized the importance of involving people with a non-data background in the projects in order to build well-grounded solutions. What is also important to consider is that a project’s good cause requires many other element on board to be successful, and that it is essential to always validate that the following elements are on board:

Relevant data + reliable partner to work with

+ well framed problem + simple solution to be implemented

When asked about what is a major general challenge towards data, Rishi confirmed that  organisations need to update their view towards customer segmentation. The usual approach of defining a very fixed set up rules (for instance, grouping customers by the last way they performed a certain action) is less efficient than considering identity traits to spot behavioural patterns. The complexity involved to do so would certainly worth approaching customers in a more assertive manner.

A takeaway from Rishi’s presentation

“If data is the new oil, privacy is the new climate change”


Looking forward to keep on listening to your lessons on using data for good, Rishi!

Rishi’s interview:

Rishi’s presentation recording:

Rishi’s deck:

Rishi’s presentation’s sketch:


Filip Maertens @ DISUMMIT 2017: “Can A.I. help us build a better world?”

DiS17_Speaker_09:14_Filip Maertens

Filip Maertens is a cyber-security expert. He has worked in the military, intelligence, critical infrastructure and banking industry; both in engineering and project management roles. Besides loving to code software, he also loves dogs, and climbing mountains. You can find more over Filip by visiting his blog: https://filipmaertens.com

About Filip’s view on the challenges Artificial Intelligence is facing

Filip kicked off his presentation highlighting how society (ourselves!) have generated a science-fiction fatalist scenario on Artificial Intelligence’s effects, without realising that we are already in the middle of the storm. With personalised news streams sharing fake news and an increasing risk of black-hat hacking, we se how A.I. is being driven by the wrong anchors.

There are specific actions to fix this trend, like adhering to a strong moral code of conduct (which embeds morality into algorithms), reducing bias from training data, and embracing privacy and data protection as an opportunity to do good.

Filip also emphasised the importance to cultivate and embracing the learnings of fields like psychology and philosophy, as this leads to realise the effects (both positive and perilous) of the way algorithms are built.

Last but not least, Filip said that events like Data Summit are the centerpiece of sharing knowledge and congregate people, and to make people reflect about how can ethics can be part in the “chain” running from an algorithm’s data source to the output. He expects that initiatives like the General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) can spread for a positive use of data.

A takeaway from Filip’s presentation

“Researchers should be driven by curiousness, ethic and morality. Not by law or politics.”


We look forward to talk soon to Filip on the improvement on the use of A.I. for a better world!

Filip’s interview:

Filip’s presentation recording:

To be published soon

Filip’s deck:

Filip’s presentation sketch:


Kirk Borne @ DISUMMIT 2017: “A Data-rich World for a Better World: From Sensors to Sense-Making”

DiS17_Speaker_17:00_Keynote_kirk borneDr. Kirk Borne is a Principal Data Scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton. With a rich background in Astrophysics and Computational Science, he was a precursor on implementing courses of big data in academia. He is one of the most important promotors of data literacy in the world.

About Kirk and his view on data literacy and evolution 

On his first visit to Brussels, Kirk first activity was sharing his best practices to promote data literacy. While enjoying a magnificent  view of Brussels from the ING headquarter building, Kirk playfully (with a pair of socks!) explained how subjectivity plays a major role in the way that data is understood, derived by the wide variety of involved. This keynote was delivered at the speakers reception, which took place the day before the DI Summit.

The following day, Kirk wrapped up the DI summit with his closing keynote on how data has shifted into something that is sense-making, following the evolution from “data” to “big data” into “smart data” composed by both enriched and semantic data and essential for IoT. He also discussed the levels of maturity in a  self-driving enterprise, wrapping up his participation sharing this equation:

Big Data + IoT + Citizen Data Scientists = Partners in Sustainability

Kirk’s impression on the DI Summit was that it was a fun and informative event to join. His favorite format were the 5” pitches, as they were properly structured, providing the most critical information to the attendees. He also think that the networking dynamic ensured that all attendees met interesting people.

A takeaway from Kirk’s presentation

“Big data is not about how big it is, but the value you extract from it”


We look forward to have Kirk sometime soon back in Brussels!

Kirk’s introduction to his DISUMMIT keynote:

Filip’s presentation recording:

To be published soon

Kirk’s presentation deck:

Kirk’s presentation sketch:


Jan Sonck @ DISUMMIT 2017: “Mobile network data, a lever for augmented contextual insights”

DiS17_Speaker_09:00_Jan Sonck

Jan Sonck is the Head of Enterprise Innovation at Proximus, the largest Belgian telecommunications company, where he has also been in charge of Indirect and Multi-Channel Solutions, Marketing and Business Development. Jan is also an experienced marathon runner.

About Jan and how mobile data is being used today

Being a such a large telecommunication company as Proximus gives place to a large set of opportunities to use data, and that is what Jan came to share with us.

The fact of having an increasing  number of people using mobile devices, sketching their digital fingerprint, triggered the collaboration of academia with the telecomm companies to perform joint research offering an overview of the qualitative and quantitative elements the user is considering in his daily life.

Following academia, the collaboration has been extended to other players, such as governmental institutions (at all levels: from municipal to European) and management consulting firms.

These synergies have led to an increasing accuracy on crowd analytics displaying trajectories and new types of visualization (in 2D and 3D). This also involves fusing multiple data sources,  and promoting the importance of open data. The result of this is using mobile data for prediction on a real time basis in different contexts, ranging from large-scale events (for instance, music festivals), air quality, and mobility, among many others.

In a nutshell, collaboration should keep on permeating all sectors, keeping citizens in the loop with the way their data is being used.

A takeaway from Jan’s presentation

“The increasing complexity of data requires to have a deeper sense of collaboration”


We look forward to meet Jan soon so he can tell us how collaboration towards mobile data is evolving!

Jan’s interview:

Jan’s presentation recording:

Jan’s deck:

Jan’s presentation drawing:


Press Release: Introducing the Data Innovation Summit 2017

On Thursday, March 30th, 2017, the 3rd edition of the Annual Data Innovation Summit will take place in Brussels, at the ING Marnix Building. This event, organized by the European Data Innovation Hub, is the #1 Data networking event in Belgium, bringing together the academia, public and private sector to discuss the latest trends on big data. This will be the meeting point for 500 data lovers to learn from top-nodge presentations, workshops and trainings.

During the event, 45 recognized speakers will share their experience related to the edition’s theme “Using data to build a better world”, reflected in the hashtag #Data4Good.  Among them there will be Bianca Debaets (State Secretary of the Brussels-Capital Region), Elena Bonfliglioli (Senior Director Health Industry EMEA at Microsoft), Kirk Borne (Principal Data Scientist at Booz Allen) and Stephen Brobst (CTO at Teradata) talking about how data, analytics and digitalization can be brought together to make sense in society.

From discussing the realistic perspectives of artificial intelligence to sharing best practices on using analytics to spot cybercriminals, the topics’ spectrum will cover artificial intelligence, machine learning, data driven marketing, social media, health and work performance improvement and many other topics reflecting the outstanding potential offered by data. There will be 10 in depth workshops taking place (5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon) on digitalization and analytics platforms and software.

Additionally, the winners of the Dengue Hackathon (held on November 2016) will be on stage to receive their prize and share how open data can be used in the fight against dengue.

Hence, as Philippe Van Impe, Founder of the European Data Innovation Hub says:

“This event, and the enthusiasm of the lively community and volunteers supporting it, is a sign on how Belgium is becoming a key player in the European Data Science scene.”

The organizing team looks forward to welcoming the attendants.

For further contact, please refer to the hashtag #DISUMMIT and to the following contact details:

Name of Media Contact: Philippe Van Impe
Title of Media Contact: CEO and Founder
Company Name: European Data Innovation Hub
Contact Phone: 0477 237 842
Contact e-mail: pvanimpe@dihub.eu
Website URL : http://www.disummit.com

WOOT WOOT: #womenintech @ #disummit

#womenintech @di-Summit

During this year’s summit you will hear stories on how data is used to build a better world.

On March 30th we have invited an impressive lineup of top speakers and prepared in depth training classes for managers and data scientists.

Her is an overview of our #womenintech speakers:

  1. Nele Coghe – Data Science Expert – I’ll introduce you to over 30 stories told by the best experts in data science
  2. Tine Vandenbreeden – CTO @ SAP – How s mart is digital twin?
  3. Juli Ursi – BI expert @ SAP –  I’ll give you a tour of our digital boardroom
  4. Elena Bonfiglioli – Senior Director Health @ Microsoft – “Solving” Cancer with Artificial Intelligence
  5. Nadia Aime – Womanmentorassociation – I’ll tell you a story about #womenintech and data
  6. Céline Bouton – Co-Captain @ Armada.digital – We are empowering good causes to spread the word
  7. Bianca Debaets – Secretary of State – Data Science makes our city s marter
  8. Hannah Pinson – Winner #denguehack – We predicted the next dengue outbreak using twitter feeds
  9. Ann-Elise Delbecq – Analytics @ IBM – a new cognitive way of working with data and analytics
  • Please check disummit.com form more exciting presentations.

TOP 6 – 2h Technical workshops during #DISUMMIT

Technical Workshops di-Summit

In addition to the series of management workshops and over 40 presentations, we’d like to bring to your attention that in addition to our excellent line-up of speakers, you may be interested in one of our technical workshops that provide hands-on training:

  1. Pieter Buteneers – Data Strategist and Machine Learning Consultant  – Hands-on Machine Learning with Python
  2. Geert Verstraeten – Managing Partner at Python Managing – Projects in Predictive Analytics
  3. Thierry Turpin and Stephane Tridetti: Optimize DHS with AWS
  4. Faisal Orakzai & Morad Masnaoui: BigData Architecture
  5. Nicolas Deruytter – Managing Director at DataTonic – Hands-on  Workshop  Using  Tensorflow
  6. IBM: Watson Data Platform –  Ann-Elise Delbecq Niko Tambuyser Willem Hendriks Luc Goossens
  • Please check disummit.com form more exciting presentations.

These are only some of the technical workshops we have available.

Thank you to our trainers for sharing their knowledge with us: Pieter Buteneers, Geert Verstraeten, Thierry Turpin, Stéphane Tridetti, Faisal Orakzai, Morad Masnaoui, Nicolas Deruytter, Ann-Elise Delbecq, Niko Tambuyser, Willem Hendriks & Luc Goosens


#disummit – Executive Workshops – Brussels 30 March – Register Now

Executive WorkshopsDuring this year’s summit you will hear stories on how data is used to build a better world.

On March 30th we have invited an impressive lineup of top speakers and prepared in depth training classes for managers and data scientists.

We are also offering you 5 exclusive C-Level workshops:

  • 29 March 16:00 – 3h Workshop from Dirk BorneCommunicating Data Literacy and the Value of Data to Clients and Colleagues
  • 30 March 10:45 – 2h Workshop from Geert VerstraetenIntroducing Predictive Analytics – more
  • 30 March 13:45 – 1h Workshop from Natalino BusaPositioning Open Source in your existing software architecture
  • 30 March 13:45 – 1h Workshop from Stephen BrobstLeadership and Digital Transformation – more
  • 30 March 17:00 – Closing Keynote from Kirk BorneA Data-rich World for a Better World: From Sensors to Sense-Making
  • Please check disummit.com form more exciting presentations.