Brave Conversations Brussels 2023

Brave Conversations Brussels 2023 took place on 12th May, 2023 in Brussels

Venue:Atelier 29,Rue Jacques de Lalaing 29, 1000 Brussels

“The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double-backwards-somersault through a hoop whilst whistling the 'Star Spangled Banner', but in fact the message was this: So long and thanks for all the fish.” (Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

“Everything's science fiction until someone makes it science fact.” (Marie Lu, Warcross)

“Science Fiction is escape into reality.” (Arthur C. Clarke)

Science Fiction, according to Yuval Noah Harari, is the most important genre because it shapes public opinion on things which will have the most important impact on their lives.  It gives us humans the chance to play with ideas, to experiment with thoughts about new ways of being, and to test out theories and concepts which are still in the imagination … just.

Brave Conversations Brussels 2023 was our first event in partnership with the Digital Enlightenment Forum, an organisation which has, for the past decade, sought to educate and influence policy within the European Union and help policy makers and researchers more fully understand the promise and perils of the Digital world.

It is based on Enlightenment ideas around Science Fact combined with Education but firmly linked to research and societal need which is expressed through government regulation and policy.

At the minute the most pressing area in need of Enlightenment thinking is that of Artificial Intelligence, the recent advances in which Bill Gates sees as

the most important advance in technology since the graphical user interface in 1980

On 30th March the Future of Life Institute released a letter signed by over 1300 AI luminaries and scientists calling on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4 stating that:

OpenAI's recent statement regarding artificial general intelligence, states that

At some point, it may be important to get independent review before starting to train future systems, and for the most advanced efforts to agree to limit the rate of growth of compute used for creating new models.

We agree. That point is now.

We are now in the era where

  • large language models and smart machines which learn from themselves
  • humans are going to need to become a whole lot smarter, both in the way we live our lives but also how we frame the rules by which we live

We met in Brussels, the heart of the European Union and the engine room of policy development around Artificial Intelligence in the modern world.

At this event we focused on us as humans and asked:

  • What is the definition of a human in the Age of the Smart Machine?
  • What is the role of a human in this Age of the Smart Machine?
  • How do we retain our humanity whilst harnessing the power of Smart Machines to improve life for all on Planet Earth?

We guided our conversations by the use of The Strategic Triangle asking:

  • What Can We Do?
  • What Should We Do?
  • What Ought We Do?

We had sixteen people from all ages and walks of life come and have those conversations with us and we look forward to many more.

Supported By

Event Information

12th May, 2023

8.30 am - 1 pm CEST


Atelier 29,
Rue Jacques de Lalaing 29
1000 Brussels