12th Annual BE-terna Croatia Conference: AI Beyond Hype

12th Annual BE-terna Croatia Conference: AI Beyond Hype

4 min read Oct 26, 2023

For this year’s topic “AI Beyond Hype”, the 12th annual BE-terna Conference gathered leading experts, managers and business decision-makers from various companies and industries to discuss artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and future trends.

On Wednesday, 25 October 2023, the Esplanada Hotel in Zagreb was host to the 12th annual BE-terna conference under the title AI Beyond Hype. The conference brought together local and international AI experts showcasing positive examples and opportunities, as well as the possible risks of AI.

AI technology is currently in the second stage of development in the form of generative AI such as ChatGPT, Microsoft Copilot and other chat models. We are seeing a crucial growing trend with leading local companies quick to follow suit, which is evidenced by BE-terna data showing an increase in the average growth rate of AI implementation – over 60 percent in the region.


Krešimir Mlinarić, director of BE-terna Zagreb

Director of BE-terna Krešimir Mlinarić opened the conference by emphasizing the importance of following digital trends such as AI for businesses:

Believing today that AI will turn out to be just a passing fad is the same as companies deciding not to implement computers in their operations when they first appeared some 20 years ago. Currently, we are seeing a great number of Croatian businesses implementing the second phase of digitalisation by using AI to optimise their inventories, plan production and for other activities. We don’t know what the third phase will bring, but businesses that don’t implement AI solutions will fall behind their competitors.

This is supported by research conducted by Deloitte showing that 94 per cent of managers believe that AI will play a crucial role in business performance in the next five years. Their survey among senior managers across the world demonstrated that 76 per cent of those in leadership positions plan to increase their investments in AI in the coming fiscal year.


 Alan Štefanac, Deloitte

“AI is the fastest adopted technology in history” – pointed out Ratko Mutavdžić, Regional Technology Officer at Microsoft. The technology is fairly recent and still in development, so its full potential will become evident only in the future.  On the other hand, the impact of AI on jobs is already apparent, as Aco Momčilović from Future AI Consulting points out two examples: translators being increasingly replaced by AI, and graphic designers, whose work is becoming more and more automated. AI is already more capable than humans in certain aspects; for example, it is better at piloting drones and often shows more empathy than a human would.


Aco Momčilović, Future HR Consulting

Chief Digital Officer at Spanish communications giant Telefonica S.A. and leading European digitalisation expert Chema Alonso discussed the risks of AI technologies. Chema Alonso is a YouTuber with 350,000 followers who covers topics such as ethical hacking, i.e., hacking systems to improve their security. Alonso highlighted the importance of cybersecurity in the AI age as well as the risk of identity theft using deepfake technology generating realistic videos and manipulating what was said by the speaker. Chema Alonso shared his insights into strategies that can help distinguish the authenticity of the speaker:  

During the past couple of years, we have witnessed the evolution of deepfake technology as it is becoming better and more sophisticated. We’re developing advanced algorithms to distinguish authentic videos from fabricated content, for example by analysing blinking speed and frequency.


Chema Alonso, Telefonica S.A.

Experts debated the application of artificial intelligence in business during a panel discussion. Moderated by Dragan Petric, Executive Editor at BUG magazine, the panel included Milan Listeš from BE-terna, Josip Kelava from Tokić, Marin Grgurev from Studenac and Ratko Mutavdžić from Microsoft, who shared their experiences and insights, concluding that the implementation of AI represents a great challenge for businesses but also the potential for returning the value of the investment. Currently, the greatest challenge that companies face concerns the quality of data, which are being mass collected but need to be processed in order to be used in AI solutions. For those just embarking on their AI implementation journey, the panellists agree that the main thing is to consider current business needs and adapt solutions to the specific requirements of the company.


Panellists Josip Kelava, Milan Listeš, Marin Grgurev and Ratko Mutavdžić

To reap the benefits that AI offers, businesses must be prepared to work with experts in the field and invest both time and effort to develop and adapt AI solutions to keep up with new market requirements.

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