Mission & Strategy

The AI Experience Centre of the VUB is dedicated to emerging as an enabler by connecting academic expertise of the EU AI Framework with relevant stakeholders.

We strive to support an effective European AI Innovation Ecosystem by facilitating the cross-fertilization and exchange between stakeholders and to create new AI-powered value chains that can positively improve business and society and deliver benefits to citizens. A productive European AI Innovation Ecosystem is an indispensable element in overcoming key adoption challenges.

Our Mission

The AI Experience Centre relies on the idea that successful Artificial Intelligence (AI) can only exist if it is built on collaboration. Benefitting from the backing of leading research groups (Artificial Intelligence Lab, BruBotics, ETRO, and SMIT) in the field, it is supported by a world-class infrastructure creating a space where questions are answered by expertise. The Centre functions as a high-tech test, demonstration, and meeting platform which welcomes companies, policymakers, tech entrepreneurs, researchers, and the general public to experiment with AI and cooperate to develop and produce technological solutions. The multidisciplinary associations present in our work serve as a gateway to the successful creation of AI applications.

We are committed to becoming a world-renowned digital innovation hub for Artificial Intelligence by opening up the unique opportunities of AI and Robotics companies, startups, non-profits, and other universities and knowledge centres. The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) offers a unique environment to underscore the work of our organisation due to its worldwide recognised experience in AI (since 1983), its dedication to interdisciplinary tradition, its central location in Belgium and Europe, and its close ties with global economic players as well as with the Flanders Innovation ecosystem. The Centre aligns with the idea that collaboration of different levels with a variety of partners improves European competitiveness in the field of AI.

Challenges

The Report from network organisations EURobotics and the Big Data Value Association of mid 2019 drafted the components of the EU AI Framework, in which AI Innovation Ecosystem Enablers play a crucial role. However, the rapid growth of AI related applications has also raised various challenges that await appropriate solutions.

Our Strategy

The Services we offer are currently developed in a stage gated approach. Accordingly, our initial focus revolves around developing the knowledge and the necessary skills for your organisation. Once it is clear what AI & Robotics innovation and skill development mean for you, we can in the second phase focus on setting up test & data activities in the context of research, and innovation, or a go-to-market project. The final step is an iterative process where tests allow the fine-tuning of an application to ensure that its safe deployment can be set up. For the latter, we work together with industrial partners and other Digital Innovation Hubs. Each of these phases present different opportunities for your organisation, which can be addressed by our services. They are overseen and facilitated by our academic experts in AI & Robotics and caters as such to industry, policymakers, NGOs, and researchers.

The strategy of the Centre reflects the values considered in the outline of Strategic Research, Innovation and Deployment Agenda for an AI Private-Public Partnership by addressing defined fields of interests. First, it corresponds with the European AI Framework by comprehending the legal and societal ramifications both for private and public stakeholders as well as the general audience. The Centre relies on the fundamentals of AI Innovation Ecosystem Enablers to achieve successful innovation and adaption. Finally, we integrate the concept of the CrossSectorial AI Technology Enablers to ensure we work with the most relevant technical competencies required for advancing AI systems. The interests together are the principal areas to consider for research, development, and deployment.

Artificial Intelligence

The AI Experience Centre employs a definition formulated by the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence set up by the European Commission to describe Artificial Intelligence (AI):

“Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to systems that display intelligent behaviour by analysing their environment and taking actions – with some degree of autonomy – to achieve specific goals.
AI-based systems can be purely software-based, acting in the virtual world (e.g. voice assistants, image analysis software, search engines, speech and face recognition systems) or AI can be embedded in hardware devices (e.g. advanced robots, autonomous cars, drones or Internet of Things applications).”

If you wish to find out more about AI familiarise yourself with the 8 concepts that often occur in conversations about AI.