AI as an agent of change



Palace of the Academies

AI as an agent of change

Activiteit in het kader van de Denkerscyclus 

In 2023, the KVAB Thinkers-in-residence Programme has reflected on the most recent developments in the field of artificial intelligence and on the question of their implications for our view of humanity: autonomy, self-determination, the need for a 'digital humanism'.

From strategic research and training needs to ethical challenges and outreach to the general public: we aimed to develop advice on new policy objectives for Flanders. During the symposium, our Thinker-in-Residence Helga Nowotny will present her findings and open the floor for questions and discussion. 

Recent advancements in AI have also strongly impacted the arts. This facet will also be highlighted, through  intriguing crossovers between AI and visual arts, poetry and music. 

A unique one-day exhibition with works from Danny Devos can be experienced the day of the final symposium, during registration at 9 am and during coffee and lunch breaks. 



AI & 'La revolte des machines ou la pensée déchaînée'

Visual artist Danny Devos explores the use of AI in art in an exhibition of works generated by Artificial Intelligence Machine Learning Models resulting in sculptural objects produced by 3D printing and CNC milling, involving electric motors and microcontrollers, based on the illustrations of Frans Masereel for 'La Révolte des Machines'.

Danny Devos (°1959) lives in Antwerp but carries out his artistic endeavours the world over. Since 1979 he has carried out 160 performances in over 40 cities across 12 different countries. For nearly 40 years he has acted as performance, sound and “forensic” artist, purposefully making it his objective to remain a critical voice within and opposed to the art scene.



In 2021 hebben kunstenaar Luc Tuymans en AI wetenschapper Luc Steels samengewerkt om het proces van kunstcreatie en kunstperceptie en kunstinterpretatie te doorgronden. Het resultaat was te zien in een tentoonstelling in Bozar in april 2021. Hier tonen we videos van Tuymans en Steels die deze resultaten toelichten en de bredere implicaties ervan bespreken.
Dit project kwam tot stand via het EU Starts programma en met de ondersteuning van Gluon (Brussel) en Bozar. 


Poem Booth

Maarten Inghels (former city poet of Antwerp) will present his "poem booth" during the symposium: an experiment with generative AI, raising issues to the audience. Language: NL.

Maarten Inghels debuteerde in 2008 met Tumult in de Sandwich-reeks onder redactie van Gerrit Komrij en ontwikkelde zich sindsdien tot een originele kunstenaar, dichter en schrijver. Zijn roman Het mirakel van België over zijn ervaringen met de grootste meesteroplichter ter wereld verscheen in 2021. Met zijn boek Contact verbond hij poëzie, beeldend werk en acties. Van 2016 tot 2018 was hij Stadsdichter van Antwerpen.

Een voorsmaakje:

Kus elkaar, verliefden, onder de kruin,

Gegiechel galmt, vanuit de massa tuin.

Plots, een snorvogel schiet voorbij!

Herhaalt dit lied, dit zoete vrij.


AI Musicking 

Andrew Claes and Frascati Symphonic will provide a live performance of new composition generated with AI and played by classical musicians.

Andrew Claes is a professional saxophone player and composer associated with the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp. One of his main projects AI Musicking is exploring innovative approaches to musical co-creation through machine learning. Frascati Symphonic is a collection of musicians from Leuven. They are well known for their performances of the classical repertoire ranging from symphonic works, operas to chamber music. The orchectra is lead by conductor Kris Stroobants. The musicians that will be participating in a brief performance are Hrayr Karapetyan(violin), Delejan Breynaert (viool) en Shuya Tanaka (cello).




How is Flanders doing in AI ? 

Prof. Dr. Bart De Moor, KU Leuven. Co-coordinator FAIR (Flanders AI Research program) and Chairman VAIA (Flanders AI Academy). Chairman Athumi (Flanders Data Utility Company) 

As AI will be pervasive in all dimensions of society, we can call it a new system technology. Five years ago, an ambitious multi-year Flanders AI Research program was launched. It involves the five universities, the four Strategic Research Centra, several employer’s organisations and government administrations in Flanders. We will provide a conscise survey on its content and organisation. We will also elaborate on how the Flanders AI Academy facilitates the AI demand articulation for potential AI users, and delivers a wide spectrum in life-long learning activities. Last but not least, we will discuss the future deployment of the newly estabilished Flanders Data Utility Company, athumi, that is to build intelligent personalizable data vaults, where data will flow smoothly between business, public administrations and citizens.





9:45 Opening

Presentator/moderator: Jan Hautekiet

Welcome and opening words
Christoffel Waelkens, President KVAB

An introduction
Ine Van Hoyweghen
, KU Leuven

Presentation of the Thinker's report
Helga Nowotny, Thinker-in-residence


10:50 COFFEE


11:10 Impact of AI on art

Panel discussion with artists followed by a Q&A with the audience
Chair: Luc Steels (in Dutch)

  • Danny De Vos, visual artist
  • Maarten Inghels, poet
  • Andrew Claes, musician
  • Kris Stroobants, conductor Frascati Symphonic

12:10 Insights of researchers on impact of AI 

Panel discussion followed by a Q&A with the audience

  • Ann Dooms, VUB
  • Johan Wagemans, KU Leuven
  • Walter Daelemans, UAntwerpen


13:00 LUNCH


14:00 The experience and outlook on future policy

Lucilla Sioli, Director for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Industry of DG CONNECT, European Commission


14:30 How is Flanders doing in AI?

Bart De Moor, KU Leuven