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AI. Future with/ without brains.

Drones that inspect crops in a greenhouse and independently decide whether to warn people, or doctors who draw up treatment plans in consultation with a computer system. AI is everywhere.

There is a lot of discussion about the definition of AI but also about its future impact. As the editorial team, that is something we definitely noticed when we carried out a survey at the start of this year about what researchers from a wide range of disciplines estimate the impact of AI to be on society, science in general, and their own research field. ‘I don’t understand why NWO is chasing such a hype’, was the response of some people. Or: ‘Old wine in new wineskins.’ At the other end of the spectrum, we also saw enthusiastic and positive expectations: ‘It will add depth to my research’ and ‘The use of AI encourages multidisciplinary collaboration’. There were also more cautious responses: ‘AI still needs to prove itself in my discipline’. And should somebody still have any doubts: ‘AI is not the answer to everything.’

If nothing else, it has taught us that opinions in Dutch scientific circles are also (or: possibly quite rightly!) highly diverse. Therefore AI is a superb theme for this magazine, which was established precisely for this purpose: providing a platform for dialogue within the scientific field. In the five theme articles, experts from a wide range of disciplines grab that opportunity with both hands.

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