FruitPunch makes Artificial Intelligence fresh and fruity

Maybe you have binge-watched some Black Mirror episodes. Is it scifi or just a matter of time? The possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are greater than many people think. Common sense is essential when using AI. And you can read that in two ways: as logical thinking and as common knowledge. It was a common thread during FruitPunch AI Connect that took place in the Auditorium on Saturday, June 15th. An event that makes technology more accessible and connects different interested parties, using bright pink socks with allover fruit embroidery…

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photo Fabian Lucas Luijckx

AI can be found in many sectors, but it is certainly popular with gamers. For example, Google DeepMind is making a bot that is so bright it can beat human top players. It already succeeded in AlphaGo. Technology is becoming so smart that people can sometimes no longer follow its logic, and that also worries some people. Cooperation and common sense appear to be the most important keywords. "Monitor the technology you use, detect issues and make adjustments," keynote speaker Jurriaan van Diggelen commented.

Researcher Zoltan Szlavik discusses ethics in his talk. "Face recognition with AI can be very dangerous," he notes. It should not run wild, like with a face recognition app which did not consider African American features when it was built, and that group was subsequently classified as ‘apes’ by the algorithm..

Keynote speaker Jurriaan van Diggelen explains the three different approaches to Artifical Intelligence: techno centrism, human centrism and the collective perspective. In short, there are people who believe that technology is more intelligent and can make better decisions than humans. Another group believes that people should remain to make certain decisions that are of a less framed context. And there is a group that believes that people should work together with technology to achieve the best result.

“The members of the FruitPunch foundation are more attracted to the latter,” founder Buster Franken believes. He is a bit reminiscent of Mark Zuckerberg: broad experience and interest, with guts and humor. And available for weddings and bar mitzvahs, if you are still looking for someone. But now coming to the point: during the event it soon becomes clear that FruitPunch has a right to exist. More than 150 interested people showed up during this second edition of the event. During the opening, everyone is asked whether they are researchers, entrepeneurs or students. The distribution is roughly proportional, with a small outlier among the students.

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“Recently the ‘war on talent’ has been a hot topic in the tight labor market. Instead of going to war, we want to create and feed that talent with FruitPunch AI,” Franken says. He founded FruitPunch in September 2018 and since then there have been all kinds of events. At the demo market there are partners with some striking examples of the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence. You can make a work of art on a laptop in a kind of Paint-like program, after which the computer changes it into a lifelike photo. Robot Pepper helps doctors with the diagnosis of diabetes and team Cyclone is working on the construction of an autonomous drone.

Fruity socks

We find FruitPunch PR manager Micha van den Herik at the merchandise stand. Because yes, that has also been thought of. Bright pink socks with delicious pieces of fruit can be yours for just 9.99. It is all fresh and fruity. "We want to make AI more accessible. An informal, colorful appearance like this helps," Van den Herik believes.

The name arouses: what does fruit have to do with AI? Van den Herik honestly admits that the choice of the name was fairly ad hoc. Some members of the current FruitPunch were together at an event where they were given a fruit punch. The name turned out to be a good match for the foundation: “A fruit punch has all kinds of fruits, which symbolizes the diverse FruitPunch team where all kinds of disciplines and people come together. Both students and researchers are involved, with backgrounds ranging from Industrial Design to Electrical Engineering and from Mechanical Engineering to Industrial Engineering. There is some AI to be found in every department and we want to help connect everyone. With such an interdisciplinary team you can do many interesting things in AI."

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