[WOMEN IN AI LAUNCH IN BELGIUM]
Brussels holds a special place in the heart of Women in AI, because it is not only the capital city of Belgium, but also the capital city of the European Union, where many decisions are made regarding the policies for Artificial Intelligence. This is why we were particularly expecting the launch event of Women in AI Belgium, and gathering our community.
The event took place on 27th March 2019, in the premises of our event partner, DigitYser. It was fully booked very quickly, which was a sign of a high interest from the Belgian and European community for the activities of Women in AI.
Segolene Martin, Women in AI Ambassador for Belgium, opened the floor and shared her ambitions for Women in AI Belgium and her willingness to partner with other organizations and companies active in AI. She also explained that from the very start of her company (Kantify, an award-winning AI consultancy based in Brussels, specialised in predictive analytics and document parsing), she noticed that she received almost no application from women when trying to recruit in various positions. She started investigating why women were so absent and what she could do about and learned about the work of Women in AI. From her perspective, diversity is an undoubtable asset to innovative companies (or aspiring innovative companies), and is a must to avoid bias in AI.
Philippe Van Impe, CEO of DigitYser and Organiser of the Data Innovation Summit, took the floor as moderator. He explained his commitment to have more women in AI, for instance by organizing a Data Innovation Summit with women speaker only, a few years ago
Caroline Lair, Women in AI cofounder, had come from Paris and shared the vision of Women in AI. Caroline explained the Women in AI journey and the exponential growth which is undergoing, worldwide. The specificity of Women in AI is that it is a bottom up network, founded with the objective of being a community. This community aspect is present throughout the activities of Women in AI. Membership is free so Caroline invited the women in the room to register online and join the Belgium community.
Christine Decaestecker - Director of Laboratory of Image, Signal processing and Acoustic at Université Libre de Bruxelles, gave a very clear presentation about the work performed by her laboratory in the field of detecting cancer biomarkers with computer visions. This research work shows very promising results and aims at helping pathologists in being even more efficient in their daily work. Christine’s presentation helped participants in having a clear use case of how AI is making people’s lives better.
Segolene Martin, Women in AI Ambassador for Belgium, took back her hat of CEO of Kantify in order to explain the challenges and opportunities linked to AI for individuals and businesses. Segolene debunked some of the myths of Artificial Intelligence, and gave practical examples of how AI could benefit to the retail sector or the accounting sector. Segolene’s presentation helped participants understand the practical impact of AI on the economy, and the opportunities to be created at business level or individual level.
Valerie Pierre, Sales Director Wester Europe, Hardware, Microsoft, gave an insightful presentation on the vision of Microsoft for AI, as well as the business opportunities that can be created from AI. Valerie, as representative of a major software company that is expanding its activities in Artificial Intelligence, gave some inspiration to participants about the importance of AI.
Last but not least, Lucilla Sioli, Director Artificial Intelligence and Digital Industry at the European Commission, shared the perspective of a policy maker. She explained that the US invests 4 times more in AI than Europe. She also explained that Europe has considerable assets: lots of data, expertise in B2B, strong regulatory framework... Lucilla called on to the EU member states to collaborate to do it together. The European Commission has doubled its investment in AI in the past 2 years. Lucilla also referred to the new EU guidelines on AI ethics, which have been published in the meantime. Pilots will be launched.
The participants had a small roundtable, before ending up the event with a selfie, and a cocktail with Belgian beers, in a very nice atmosphere. The cocktail was offered by the event sponsor Procter & Gamble.
We are looking forward to the next Belgium event ! In the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe on womeninai.co and join our Belgium channel.
Connect with our Ambassador for Women in AI in Belgium, Segolene Martin, CEO kantify.
The WAI Team