Top AI trends, impact and funding. New: AI Policy Series from Bucharest, Romania

Alexandra Petrus
Mar 28, 2018 · 6 min read

Notes from the Bucharest.AI Meetup 7.0

🙌 Snowed under again. And once again an amazing effort from all of you that joined us and contributed to our talks. Kudos to everyone and exciting to see our local ecosystem growing in knowledge, connections and AI interest. Our venue location was exquisite and we’re grateful to have had the opportunity to take on the Commons experience wheel.

Powerful things happen when like-minded people connect.

From left to right: Iulian Craciun, Wheel-X Founder; Yolanda Lannquist, AI Policy Researcher, The AI-Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School; Florin Soare, Accenture Technology Romania Lead; Eamonn Carey, Managing Director, Techstars London.

As EU is looking to build the ‘European AI Alliance’ (broad, diverse community of stakeholders) to set ethical guidelines for AI (fairness, safety, transparency, the future of work, democracy, impact on Charter of Fundamental Rights), we couldn’t see more fit that we allocate a full meetup event towards understanding more on the topic. AI Policy, Trends, Markets and AI-based products investment-ready, were the topics discussed on the 21st of March @Commons.

This edition we focused on:

Challenges — Wheel-X, the self driving wheelchair

Iulian Craciun, the one behind the product and developing the product, has 15 years programming experience on languages like C#, PHP and Python and has worked on both small and enterprise projects. By working on Wheel-X, which is a concept of a self-driving wheelchair, he has found the best way to mix his first love, electronics with his second, programming.

His challenges are:

  • Build a system able to fit specific needs of every person
  • Keep the cost as low as possible

Incredible to hear the story and the early beginnings of Wheel-X, and how the first test was made with a Raspberry Pi, the interface with Phone via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and the edge detection with OpenCV.

As sectors of use cases, Iulian sees: healthcare (hospitals, nursing homes, travelling (airports & commuting) and every day personal use.

👆Click for slides deck.

Intro Series — The AI Policy (6 episodes)

Yolanda Lannquist is an AI Policy Researcher at The AI-Initiative within The Future Society, based at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She has a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University. Yolanda is Turkish-American and recently relocated to Bucharest.

Yolanda’s series will cover topics among government, industry, civil society and non-profits for the followings:

  1. technological unemployment;
  2. algorithmic bias, transparency and liability;
  3. ownership, access and geopolitics of AI;
  4. cybersecurity, data integrity and malicious use of AI;
  5. weaponisation of AI, drones and surveillance;
  6. safe AGI, superintelligence & existential risk.

Join us at future Bucharest AI events to debate and understand more on each of the topics above.:) This edition we just got a feel for the type of info Yolanda will host during her AI Policy Series. Exciting to see so many of you contributing and wanting to debate the topics already. :) 🙏🏼Grateful to have Yolanda running such a powerful series with us.

👆Click for slides deck.

Keynote: Citizen AI — Raising AI to Benefit Business and Society

Florin Soare is a Senior Manager at Accenture for more than 11 years with a strong knowledge and experience on solution architecture, Telco OSS, system integration and Java ecosystem.

Florin’s intervention covered Raising AI to benefit business and society. As Artificial Intelligence expands further into society, the business accountability around raising a responsible and explainable AI will rapidly grow. By raising AI for responsibility, fairness, and transparency, businesses can create a collaborative, powerful new member of the workforce.

Florin’s session put in the spotlight the top 5 IT trends of the moment, discovered in Accenture’s 2018 Tech Vision and a little curious demo interpreting and analyzing pictures.

AMA: AI, Investment and more — 8 simple questions

Eamonn Carey is the Managing Director at Techstars London. He was previously the Managing Director at Techstars Connection in partnership with AB InBev in New York, and has been a long-term mentor @Techstars and other programs around Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Eamonn gave us a honest and down to Earth sneak peak into what is an investor looking for when it comes to AI ideas/products/services.

Eamonn covered the following questions:

  1. What’s the difference between accelerators, angels and VCs?
  2. When should you approach accelerators?
  3. What are some of the big opportunities for AI/ML?
  4. Which products are overhyped?
  5. Is ‘AI’ a buzzword for investors?
  6. How do we (Techstars) assess AI/ML companies?
  7. What are some of the issues AI companies have when it comes to building and launching products?
  8. Which AI companies have you invested in before?

If you want to apply or connect to Eamonn directly, you can do so via Twitter, Email, or check the website directly. It certainly was fantastic to hear such a down to Earth perspective from an investor with such a healthy consideration and experience. Fantastic effort from Eamonn to join us as well. Great things happen when like-minded people connect for sure.:)

Who attended Bucharest AI 7.0 and who won the Google IO complimentary tickets?

Our venue, limited to 80 seated chairs, and the weather outside, heavy snowing, took its respective toll. But despite all these, almost 80 of you, AI practitioners and enthusiasts, joined us for talks and exploring. Fantastic seeing more and more AI centered entrepreneurs gathering to share experiences and thoughts. Amazing seeing students wanting to be part of a growing AI ecosystem and wanting to practice and get further applied AI use cases knowledge. We heart the proactivity and kudos for the amazing effort. Keep it up.

From time to time we offer complimentary tickets, trainings and consultancy for AI focused products. This time, supported by Google Developers, we managed to offer two complimentary tickets to Google IO’s amazing annual event in Mountain View, California, United States. Valerica Plesu [Mobile App Developer & Mobile Trainer] and Ciprian Borodescu [Co-Founder & CEO Appticles | Organiser BucharestJS | Co-Organiser JSHacks]are the happy winners of our complimentary Bucharest AI — Google IO tickets. We’ll hear back from them and get the chance to listen to their takeaways from the event.:)

When’s the next meetup & workshop?

23rd of April at Impact Hub Bucharest, save the date.:) It’s double special as it’s our anniversary 1-year edition and we can’t wait to share it with you all (live streamed or directly at our venue).:)

Topics and speakers to be announced soon. Follow our Facebook page for updates.

🔥We’ll host a ML — Recommender Systems Workshop in mid May too. Stay tuned for more updates and info around the number of seats available and trainers.:)

Have any feedback or recommendation for us? Ping us directly at or Alex, Mircea, Raoul, Ioana and Silviu. Fancy more a feedback form? Fill it out.:) Every support and feedback matters, don’t hold it, kindly share it.:)

✌️See you on 23rd of April. Anniversary Edition here we come.

Bucharest AI

Cluster for Romanian AI practitioners and enthusiasts…

Bucharest AI

Cluster for Romanian AI practitioners and enthusiasts, startups, academia, curated global AI use cases, challenges and lessons learned. Join us to understand, ignite and refine transformative ideas, products and services in the applied Artificial Intelligence sphere.

Alexandra Petrus

Written by

New Tech Product Strategist & ENFJ-T | @BucharestAI |@Women_in_AI | ex-VP Products @reincubate | ❤#products #innovation #emergingtech #AI

Bucharest AI

Cluster for Romanian AI practitioners and enthusiasts, startups, academia, curated global AI use cases, challenges and lessons learned. Join us to understand, ignite and refine transformative ideas, products and services in the applied Artificial Intelligence sphere.