AWAI (Away With Artificial Intelligence) is a yearly event organised by the NSVKI (Nederlandse StudieVereniging Kunstmatige Intelligentie).
For this year’s AWAI, we have planned a trip to Berlin. The trip took place from the 29th of May until the 1st of June. The original plan was to go to Berlin by bus with 50 participants from CognAC (Nijmegen), Cover (Groningen), MSV Incognito (Maastricht) and USCKI Incognito (Utrecht). There were some problems regarding the bus however. Last minute the bus company told us that they were already fully booked and that we had to find a different bus company. We found one, but the price was a lot higher. Eventually we also had a setback regarding the interested participants. We therefore had to decide whether we wanted to cancel the trip or go by car with the amount of people that were interested. CognAC and MSV could not got a hand on cars, but Cover and USCKI could. Eventually we visited Berlin by car, ten people in two cars from Groningen and one car with 4 people from Utrecht. The trip was a lot smaller than usual, but very fun nonetheless.
We travelled during the night and arrived around 8 in the morning at our hostel. There we bought tickets for the U/S-Bahn and went to the Freie Universität Berlin. Tim from the university welcomed us and gave us some lectures about the university itself, about the projects they were working on there and he also gave us a quick tour through the robot lab and some other interesting sites in the building. Eventually we were invited to a BBQ with him and some of his students. We have been talking with them for some hours, which was very fun and interesting. The rest of the day was free to spent.
On Friday we had two companies scheduled. We have visited SO1, a marketing company that uses AI to predict data and uses data to find tailor-made offers for costumers. They were a small start-up company and it was very interesting to see what vision they had to achieve the following years. After SO1 we went to Big Point, one of the biggest game companies in Germany. We got a tour through the building and all working places. Eventually we got a presentation about one of their biggest games and the AI they use in games. The rest of the day was free to spent again. There was however a optional activity in the evening. During the BBQ, we were invited by some of the students to go to a local beer festival.
The next day we had to pack our stuff and leave the hostel. After that Davey gave a cultural tour through Berlin. The tour took a few a hours and showed most of the major attractions of Berlin. We started early in the afternoon and were finished in the course of the evening. After watching the football match of Holland versus Ghana in a local pub everybody travelled back again by car and we were home at around 9 in the morning again. We have had a great time in Berlin and learned a lot. It was not of the usual size, but nonetheless we can remember Berlin as a great trip!