Carlo van de Weijer
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In a world rapidly evolving with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), Carlo van de Weijer, leader of the Eindhoven Artificial Intelligence Systems Institute (EAISI), offered a thought-provoking exploration of AI’s future and our role within it. Speaking to an audience of TU Eindhoven alums and industry professionals at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Van de Weijer delved into the essence of AI, its exponential growth, and potential societal impacts.

Why this is important

Carlo van de Weijer is an expert on the role of artificial intelligence in our society. He shared his knowledge with the audience in his talk at High Tech Campus Eindhoven. At the bottom of this article, you can read Carlo’s personal tips.

In his speech this Monday, Van de Weijer navigated the complex and rapidly evolving landscape of artificial intelligence with a blend of expertise, foresight, and a touch of humor. His speech, rich in insights and reflections, painted a vivid picture of a future intertwined with AI, emphasizing the critical question: “Who’s truly at the wheel of progress?”

According to van de Weijer, AI’s advancement is not merely a technological leap but a pivotal shift in how machines complement human intelligence. This evolution, he explains, extends beyond simple automation, challenging us to reconsider the nature of intelligence itself. With AI’s capabilities rapidly approaching and eventually surpassing human intelligence, van de Weijer prompts us to keep asking who is in control.

Carlo van de Weijer

Responsible AI

Van de Weijer began by reflecting on the institute’s inception, highlighting its mission to foster AI systems that are both technologically advanced and ethically responsible. “In all honesty, we think that AI needs our technical university to create these valuable but also responsible systems,” he stated, underlining the dual potential of AI to enhance human life and introduce ethical complexities.

Delving into AI’s technicalities and societal implications, van de Weijer said that “although there’s no fixed definition of artificial intelligence, something is happening that machines are becoming more intelligent than we are. And that’s happening somewhere shortly, at least.” This statement set the tone for a talk that ventured beyond the boundaries of technology into the realms of philosophy, ethics, and the human condition.

He peppered his speech with anecdotes and examples that brought to life the abstract concepts of AI. Van de Weijer used the metaphor of self-driving cars to explore our control (or lack thereof) over AI, asking, “Are we still at the wheel?” This metaphor extended to a broader societal level, questioning humanity’s overarching control in a future dominated by intelligent machines.

Machines to support your legs and your brains

Van de Weijer explained that we humans know how to innovate. “We come up with the solutions. It is not that we were the best species on earth; it’s the fact that we could, at a certain moment, come up with technology that gave us a head start over all the animals. We became machine builders. The first machines helped our arms and legs for the heavy work.”

The machines were welcomed, although they also came with a lot of anxiety and fear, Van de Weijer said while showing a picture of Luddites killing the weaving machines in Manchester 200 years ago because they thought these things were going to kill all the jobs. “Innovation always comes with many people who are afraid of innovation but never win. It’s always the innovation coming with a better product and leading to a better life.”

Just like now, with AI. “But now, and that’s the different thing, it’s not our arms and legs. Now, with this artificial intelligence, our brains are supported by machines. And again, some people think they will lose their jobs and control over their lives while others keep. It highlights the opportunities for human enhancement and societal advancement. “The essential thing is that it’s getting into your system,” he observed, emphasizing the need for a holistic approach to AI development that considers its systemic impacts. “So when Spotify gives you the wrong suggestion for the next song, that’s funny. When a car decides to go left instead of right, or they ask you to amputate your wrong leg, that’s not funny. A wrong song is not lethal. It would just be terrible music.”


The notion of AI surpassing human intelligence, leading to a future where machines might be capable of making autonomous decisions, was discussed with a mixture of seriousness and speculative curiosity. Van de Weijer pondered, “What happens when AI starts doing this just to impress other robots to have a higher chance on the female robots? Then it gets scary.”

Throughout his speech, van de Weijer advocated for a future where AI and human intelligence collaborate rather than compete. He envisioned AI as a tool that, when harnessed responsibly, could solve some of humanity’s most pressing challenges, from climate change to healthcare. “We have to innovate ourselves out of trouble,” he declared, urging a proactive stance towards leveraging AI for the greater good.

“Make it your hobby!”

The speech concluded on an optimistic note, with van de Weijer calling upon the audience to embrace the possibilities of AI while remaining vigilant about its ethical and societal implications. To illustrate this need, Van de Weijer took his audience almost 200 years back; when the first photographs were taken, people thought they wouldn’t need painters anymore.

“But immediately, the painters changed their job to become much more interesting impressionists. People started to paint their impression of the reality. That’s also what we have to encounter with this technology. It doesn’t come to take over the jobs. It didn’t come to take over the jobs of the painter. It made that job much more interesting. And it’s also what you have to think about yourself. The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like humans but that humans will begin to think like computers. Because if you do so, you don’t have any added value in the future. So think about what part of your job is just following the rules. Will you continue to do so? In due course, the computers will do that better. And if you like a repetitive job, it’s also fine. But don’t take that idea to your work. Make it your hobby!”

“We have to innovate ourselves out of trouble.”

Carlo van de Weijer

Creativity and ethical judgment

Such a decision would also improve your work, Van de Weijer thinks, highlighting humans’ irreplaceable creativity and ethical judgment. “It’s these strange thoughts that you have, these silly dreams, and these funny stories that pop up in your head – that’s the added human value that will be even more important in the future than today. So make those stories work because we need your strangest idea to innovate us out of trouble.”

Carlo van de Weijer’s address was not just a discourse on AI but a call to action for responsible innovation, ethical consideration, and human-centric technology development. As AI continues to evolve, Van de Weijer’s reflections remind us of the critical role humans play in shaping a future where technology amplifies the best of humanity, ensuring that we remain “at the wheel.”

Carlo’s afterthoughts

“For those who attended (and anyone reading this): here is the promised list of links with food for thought on the future of AI, with different angles between utopia and dystopia. Please follow EAISI – Eindhoven Artificial Intelligence Systems Institute for future events around AI or sign in for our newsletter at”

The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence:
The AI Revolution: Our Immortality or Extinction:
Yann Lecun recent interview:
Jaron Lanier: How humanity can defeat AI:
Nick Bostrom:
Meta’s view:
Lex Fridman: