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It was an easy decision for me to join the newly introduced Honours programme of the VUB, since the topic was aligned to my field of interest, “Artificial Intelligence, Cognition and Creativity”. Just the semester before I had finished a course on “Techniques of artificial intelligence (AI)” and my thesis on a very specialized branch of machine learning. Hence, I thought to be well equipped to take part in this program.
This turned out to be partially true. While I could assure people that our current AI techniques are far from taking over the world, I was quite naive in my thoughts about privacy. Throughout the different discussions, I’ve felt how I gradually started changing my opinion on privacy concerns. This however did not change the fact that I remain to be a fervent supporter of AI, since I strongly believe that it will bring benefits to even larger groups of society, than previous waves of industrialization have brought. As long as scientists are taught to think about privacy concerns (and ethical concerns in a broader sense), I am assured that AI will develop in an as humane as possible manner.
The Honours program was also a gateway for me to join the Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi music festival, an annual event under artistic direction of Philippe Herreweghe, a world renowned conductor from Belgian soil. This year the organizing team decided to involve more youngsters and hence, along with nine others, I was part of the first masterclass students of the Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi. The masterclasses led by different esteemed and well-established persons, brought forth many profound discussions about art and even thoughts about life. The masterclass students were all from different academic backgrounds and also different cultures, which truly made the experience even more thrilling.