Meet us at #WSAI17

The AI brains are coming to Amsterdam… the first ever “World Summit AI” taking place in Amsterdam. A great place for new inspiration and new connections.

Our team will be there for the full two days! Make sure to find Michiel (CTO) at our booth (right next to the main stage, can’t miss it!) or Jim (CEO) in the panel session on the second day.

Also, check out some exciting news that came out of the event.


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Fraiday #6: AI for Good

Fraiday is the monthly meet-up for professionals who are AI-curious. We have a simple format: involving beers, a theme, lively debate and a group picture.

Fraiday #06 AI for Good 29-09-2017 photo by Mike Breeuwer 19

On 29 September we gathered at the Startup Village to hear from an all-star at the 6th edition of Fraiday. YouTube celebrity Siraj Raval, Jan Kees Schakel from Sensing Clues and Rutger Hofste from the World Resources Institute took the stage to shine some light on the ways that NGO’s are using Machine Learning to improve the world.

The stacked containers of the Startup Village at the Amsterdam Science Park provided the decor for this Fraiday. As people gathered at the bar in anticipation of the speakers it quickly became clear that Fraiday’s turnout is steadily increasing. 85 AI enthusiasts came to hear how they could make a difference.

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Fraiday #5: Let’s Get Practical!

Fraiday is the monthly meet-up for professionals who are AI-curious. We have a simple format: involving beers, a theme, lively debate and a group picture.

Fraiday #05 Lets get Practical 25-09-2017 40

Photos courtesy of Mike Breeuwer. Click the photo for the whole album!

The 5th edition of Fraiday was all about practical application of AI. Bart Vredebrecht from Aiir Innovations and our very own Michiel Berger were there to educate participants on all the ins and outs of AI projects.

For a change of scenery, this edition of Fraiday was at Freedomlab. Upon entering it was immediately clear that it is a place that defies definition. Co working-space, maker-space and innovation hub are all lables that sort of fit the bill at this “Institute for Redefinition” that is all about improving the way we life, work and relate to one another.

Bart gave us an overview of the triumphs and pitfalls that a real life AI project entails. He is the CEO of Aiir Innovations, an AI company that helps airlines with inspection of aircraft engines. He highlighted that a team of human + AI will outperform either of them alone.

After this introductory talk the group split into two breakout sessions. One group, meant for people who are already implementing AI, went with Michiel and discussed practical issues relating to that. The other group, which consisted of the AI curious, was introduced to the Machine Learning Canvas by Bart. The Machine Learning Canvas, which is based on the Business Model Canvas,

Fraiday #05 Lets get Practical 25-09-2017 47

Photos courtesy of Mike Breeuwer. Click the photo for the whole album!

After all that learning the group needed some nourishment, which duly arrived. The post-event discussions were held under the enjoyment of pizza and drinks. If you’d like to see the pics that were made during the day. Click here for the Facebook album.

At the next Fraiday, on 29 September, we’ll find out about all the different ways that AI can be used for good in non-commercial settings. Curious about the possibilities? Join us!

> Read full Fraiday #5: Let’s Get Practical! post

Join us: AI FOR GOOD

Are you interested in Artificial Intelligence and creating a better world? Come to the next Fraiday on the 29th of September!

How can we use AI for the greater good?

During the next Fraiday we’ll discuss how Artificial Intelligence can be used for humanitarian causes. Expect many students, startups and NGO’s + a surprise speaker. Warning: you might be accused of being overly “optimistic” after you attend this meetup.

  • Date: 29th Sept 2017
  • Time: 6 pm
  • Location: Venture Studio, Science Park, Amsterdam

Interested? Sign up here!


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Live from Taiwan!

The largest computer fair in Asia: Computex. Not surprisingly AI was an important theme this year! Our COO Eiso Vaandrager represented Aigency in this browsing environment. He occupied a popular booth in the AI-section and took the stage on day #2.

Computex: AI“We spoke with a lot of different interesting parties and presented the AI concept of Aigency. This resulted in conversations with a lot of interesting Taiwanese companies where cooperation is possible. All the big players where there, like IBM Watson, Google, Intel, and NVIDIA. They were all there to see what is happening in the AI area” says Eiso.

Taiwan is a huge producer of electronica and leader in the AI area, therefore it was an interesting place to present Aigency. Another Dutch company called Travis the Translator, was also present. Travis is a bot that speaks 80 different languages.

Moreover, Eiso says he was “definitely impressed by the whole event, and once again overwhelmed how fast all this is going. Even if you are following the AI updates, you are still behind”.

An interesting insight was that the gap between some big companies who are really going for it, and some others who are staying behind is getting bigger and bigger. An opportunity for us is that we can help these companies, because they have no clue where this is going and they will wake up in a new world.

Besides that, it is remarkable that in Asia there is much more willingness to go and experiment and implement with AI versus here in Europe.

In Europe, there is so much discussion. We have to be careful with this, because in Asia they understand the sense of urgency better. Here in Europe we also have to experiment, that is the way you learn and be able to implement things that are working. In the Netherlands when you have a conversation about AI, it is most of the time a shallow conversation about: “we have data”. In Asia however the conversations are far more in depth, about data and privacy for example. They are one step ahead of us.

A last quote from Eiso: “It was a really nice experience in Taiwan, especially since they are totally electronica crazy over there!”


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Fraiday #4: AI & Creativity

Fraiday is the monthly meet-up for professionals who are AI-curious. We have a simple format: involving beers, a theme, lively debate and a group picture.

This location of Fraiday #4 was spectacular in many ways. Our friends at Osudio were kind enough to lend us their office, including the rooftop terrace. And as you can see in this exclusive behind the scenes footage Jim went trough quite some trouble to take the group picture. Now there’s someone who is not afraid to loose his job!

The theme this month was “AI & Creativity” and we invited Erik van der Pluijm to introduce this subject. Erik is the creative director at 30x and the co-author of the best selling book “Design a better business”. Erik did a great job of asking questions (How creative can a machine get? What is the future of value?) and answering some of them. Read More

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SXSW: AI highlights

This year there was a lot of AI to discover at the SXSW festival in Texas. For example, AI and emotional intelligent machines, AI and food and much more. We talked with Michiel Berger and in this blogpost we will give you some of the AI highlights of this year. We will discuss the possibilities of AI and give some remarkable examples!

First it is important to mention how good AI already is. It is amazing to see what we can already do with AI. At the SXSW conference there were a lot of examples that show this very well. Some examples are: emotional intelligent machines, image recognition from the sky and mayday voice forensics. These three examples will be discussed more in depth to show how good AI is working already.

Emotional intelligent machines

How do machines understand why someone is mad? Or when someone is making a joke? And how will machines respond to this? This is a very interesting thing to think about. On SXSW there was an example which showed that there already is a lot possible to analyze from spoken language. It is possible to detect very precisely how someone is feeling and what their emotions are. Machines can detect whether people agree or disagree, understand or don’t understand. This is done by word and face recognition, face impressions, micro impressions, voice recognition and biometrical measurements. An important question is how will the system respond? How do you expect a machine to respond to you? There are some different options:

  • Option 1: The system doesn’t detect a feeling but only facts. For example: the machine says ‘your heartbeat is high’.
  • Option 2: The system recognizes feelings. For example: the machine says ‘I can tell you are angry’.
  • Option 3: The system responds like a human, it interprets feelings and gives advice. For example: the machine says ‘I can tell you are sad, maybe you should take a walk?’.

It is possible that we as people have the feeling that you first have to get to know the machine. The expectations of the response can differ in time. Maybe people will get used to it that machines can detect and respond to emotions. Brands can use this to make a connection with consumers in a new way. Important to keep in mind here is: ‘Design only what you can understand, don’t manipulate emotions you don’t understand’.
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Fraiday #3: The future of Work

Fraiday is the monthly meet-up for professionals who are AI-curious. We have a simple format, involving beers, lively debate around a theme and a group picture.

This evening featured a fire side chat with Maarten Lens Fitzgerald, former co-founder of Layer and currently on a mission to augment the workplace. Maarten looked back on his adventure with Layar and drew some nice parallels with the current hype around AI. Also Maarten explained how the future of organizations depends on how they put together their teams.

We hope to see you at our next event?

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Fraiday #2: Race against the Machines

Fraiday is the monthly meet-up for professionals who are AI-curious. We have a simple format, involving beers, lively debate around a theme and a group picture.

Last January our theme was “Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity”. We shared a lot of funny anecdotes about how algoritmes are often considered silver bullets and that -although we’ve seen major progress in the last 5 years- real A.I. is still far, far away.

For the February-edition the theme was “Race against the Machines”. All attendees were divided into groups to discuss the aspects of what it is to be human in a world that is rapidly becoming more and more machine driven. What are things that a machine will never replace? And what kind of tasks should (or could only) be done by algorithms?

Musk vs Page
The teams were then given the ultimate assignment: they should argue why AI will eventually save us (Team Page, named after Larry Page who has been quoted saying that AI will give us better lives and more free time) or will destroy us (Team Musk, named after Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking who warn about the downside of given power to machines).

Our lovely assistant Alexa flipped a coin and started the timer for the first round:

  • Team Musk warned us that AI will create an automated form of humans, this AI will learn from the humans, humans are imperfect so this makes the imperfections larger. Moreover, we cannot control AI, because we can’t understand it, we can’t go back if something goes wrong. Another point was that AI carries no responsibility, they can’t go to jail for example. AI becomes anti human and the bad comes before the good, can we really survive AI?
  • In their response, Team Page promises us that AI will bring us a modern paradise. We have to see it as the dog principle, we had dogs as hunters, but now they are social animals. There will be a good system, like health for every person on the globe, global stability, no problems in financials systems, no funny transactions and eliminate abundance. Paradise!

Some quotes from the second round:

  • In the second round of the debate Team Musk came back with counter arguments as: AI is a black box, we can’t learn from AI, we don’t understand it, the software runs on its own. They also mentioned that they didn’t want to be walking on a lease like a dog of AI. You always have to make mistakes to learn, this is dangerous. Last one-liner: Stay on top of the food chain.
  • Team Page responds and says AI reprograms itself and humans are going to learn from AI. To exist together in this beautiful world, to be a better human. Also there are laws for AI. We are in a bad place right now, so we can only go up! Last one-liner: AI is evolution into enlightenment.

And the winner is
In the end the jury had a really hard time to decide on who the winners were. In their wisdom they concluded that the debate itself was the grand prize. As we (technologists) are often accused of techno-optimism it can be very insightful to put ourselves in the shoes of the non-believers. In the end, we have to work it out together.

See you next month?

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Fraiday #1: The very first

‘The buzz was here!’ said Kevin van Blokland, one of the attendees of the first edition of Fraiday. Fraiday is the monthly meetup for professionals who describe themselves as “AI-curious”.

The meeting was on Friday the 13th of January at the cozy cafe of Startup Village Amsterdam. Many people with different backgrounds were present but all with the same interest: Artificial Intelligence. As Eiso Vaandrager said: ‘This meeting is the proof there is interest and need for A.I., together with everybody we want to build the ecosystem’.

The next meeting will be on the 17th of February. The theme will be “Race against the machines”. Together we’ll discuss the aspects of what it is to be human in a world that is rapidly becoming more and more machine driven. What are things that a machine will never replace? And what kind of tasks should (or could only) be done by algorithms?

We hope to see you next month because, like Jim Stolze said: ‘We have only just begun!’

> Read full Fraiday #1: The very first post