Press event: Exhibition 40 Years AI Lab at VUB 

Press event: Exhibition 40 Years AI Lab at VUB 

The AI lab at VUB was created 40 years ago, a fact that’s celebrated on 19 December combined with the pop-up exhibition SCIENCE ON THE EDGE OF CHAOS: The AI Avant-Garde in the 1990s. If you want to know how AI came into existence and what the technology has in store for us, you are welcome to join us at the Royal Library of Belgium. We have organised two press events where you can interview specialists in the field. 

Professor of maths Ann Dooms: “For many people, AI seems to be a mysterious machine that will gradually regulate its own actions. To put those fears at rest, you have to go back to the heart of the matter: AI is an ode to nature in the language of mathematics.” 

Ann Nowé, head of the AI Lab, says: “In the AI research world, we talk about summers and winters, but now we’re experiencing a real heatwave. Fortunately, we can call on 40 years of experience to steer governments, the business community and citizens through this hype.” 

“AI isn’t only technology. It’s also a science that explores fundamental questions about the human mind and how groups of people work together, supported by information systems,” says Professor Luc Steels, curator of the exhibition. “In the revolutionary decades of the 1980s and 90s, complex natural phenomena were seen as self-organising, dynamic systems, which led to an emerging science of complex systems. Tornadoes, rivers, ant colonies, chemical oscillations and zebra hide patterns became an integral part of this approach.” Steels adds. 

The influence of these ideas on artificial intelligence and artificial life is demonstrated in the exhibition through videos of interviews with pioneers such as Nobel Prize winners Christian de Duve and Roger Penrose, and mathematicians like Benoit Mandelbrot, as well as 1990s devices like LEGO vehicles and Sony Aibo robots. These are complemented by unique classic scientific texts from the Royal Library on subjects such as the solar system and brain networks.  


The pop-up exhibition opens at 14.00 on Monday 18 December and runs until 15.00 on Friday 22 December. The celebration takes place on 19 December and showcases current AI research. 

Entry is free thanks to the collaboration between VUB, the Royal Library and 

Location: Royal Library of Belgium, Kunstberg 28, 1000 Brussels 

Two press events 

  1. On 18 December from 11.00-12.00, the press are invited to an avant-premiere of the exhibition with the possibility of scheduling an individual interview with Luc Steels (12.00-16.00). Find more information and register here
  2. On 19 December from 17.00-18.00, a second press event will take place with the chance to interview current professors at the AI Lab. These include Ann Nowé, head of the AI Lab, and Ann Dooms, head of the Mathematics and Data Science Lab. For more information and to register, email or 


Anca Stefana Florea:, 0473 84 49 93 

Tim Brys:  

Koen Stein
Koen Stein Perscontact wetenschap & innovatie




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