Split Tech City is a community composed of well-intentioned and progressive companies, startups, associations, initiatives, institutions and individuals. Together we encourage and develop the IT sector of Split and the surrounding region.

Support our community

The first-ever CroAI meetup in Split was an event that did not last long enough!

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč


AI – embrace the power or ban the threat? Shall we ask ChatGPT to answer this question? Joking! We decided to think for ourselves and have an open discussion about the hot topic of today. And that would actually be the conclusion of this particular panel discussion, as well – critical thinking, lots of learning, and open discussion. Not fear, threats, or bans.

Learning and openness instead!

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. After all, we’re supposed to give you a brief overview of the first-ever CroAI meetup held in Split, not just give you its conclusion and call it a day. So, what was all the fuss about Wednesday evening at Smartspace?

Well, to recap, Split Tech City collaborated with CroAI and Green Future Conference in organizing this event whose goal was to promote education as the key to the demystification of artificial intelligence. We hoped to give you an event where you will get the chance to discover how AI is influencing and re-shaping our day-to-day lives, as well as our work and more.

And, if the feedback provided by the attendees is anything to go by, we succeeded in doing just that!

And we have our panelists to thank for that as they were instrumental in achieving this goal:

  • Nikola Bojić – a designer and researcher at the forefront of technology and the future, involved in international projects and initiatives presented worldwide
  • Federico Cristoforoni – co-founder of Net Zero Insights, driving climate tech market intelligence
  • Mislav Malenica – founder and director of Mindsmiths, with expertise in AI, human behavior modeling, and game theory
  • Ivica Puljak – Mayor of Split, a physicist, professor, and advocate for promoting science and its value in Croatia

All of them offered interesting insights on the topic of artificial intelligence, but also on a variety of other real-life topics AI is becoming more and more intertwined with.

Led by the moderator Karla Alfier, the panel was so fruitful with information that it lasted quite a bit longer than planned. However, by the final remarks and audience questions, we still felt as if we had just started taking part in it.

So, what key points did the panelists bring to the table? We’re going to do an out-of-the-box recount of the panel by offering you a summary of the key points of each panelist instead of a retelling of an entire discussion.

We hope some of these thoughts and points of view they shared with us will make you reflect on not just AI, but life and the future in general.

Nikola Bojić

Nikola describes himself as a designer, researcher, and educator exploring relations between space, technology, and future(s). He offered his point of view on a variety of topics – from politics to education. One key criticism of politics and policies is that they are too late when it comes to technology.

The way Nikola sees it, they are all about preserving the status quo, and as such the process of development of any regulatory frameworks is slow and incapable of keeping pace with innovation. On another note, deploying technology innovations quickly due to fear of missing out in the market is not without its problems – and Nikola highlighted this with TikTok as an example.

Another key area he touched upon is education. In his opinion, we need to think about how to work within the educational system to educate children in the development of skills and knowledge that AI will never be able to take away. Nikola believes that improving education, together with battling climate change, is one of the central topics of the time we live in.

And that education should be instrumental in creating humans who have the skills to create value for themselves, others, and the planet.

Federico Cristoforoni

Federico’s background as a panelist on this particular panel is an intersection of AI and tackling climate change. He is passionate about climate innovation and through his work, he also supports the development of the startup ecosystem. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Net Zero Insights, an AI-powered platform that offers access to information on climate startups in Europe, including insights on climate impact, patents, and much more.

The idea is to accelerate the transition toward a more sustainable economy by providing data, insights, and software tools to help policy-makers, investors, and corporations make more informed decisions. AI can be of great help in this – by harnessing this technology, we could increase efficiency which would lead to greener practices overall.

According to Federico, AI is a new technology and any new technology is an opportunity – in this case, he believes it is an opportunity to do something good and bring improvements to society as a whole.

Mislav Malenica

The young audience here in Split is familiar with Mislav already because of a great talk he gave during NEXT Youth Conference in March. Even back then he tried to encourage the young minds in the audience to a shift in their mindset – from asking what can go wrong to asking what can we do to make it right.

If you ask him, the way all of us should operate is by wanting to create and be surrounded by people who want to create as that is our natural state – a creative mind in a creative person. No matter what form that creativity takes. Mislav is also a firm believer in trying a hundred times to make something only once that you can be proud of.

He advocates, for Croatia as a whole and its startup ecosystem especially, working and developing new technologies now to improve things tomorrow. And to go globally – startups in particular should do this and not stay in their comfort zone.

Another thing he touched upon is education and the need for its improvement. We teach children skills to get a job and earn a paycheck, not to be happy and create something that will help them and others. And we don’t nurture the attitude of believing in ourselves enough.

According to Mislav, Croatia may have missed the go-time for the Internet back in the day, but we absolutely shouldn’t miss going for and developing in the spheres of AI – we should be creators, not just consumers.

Ivica Puljak

Let’s put aside for a moment the fact that he is the current mayor of Split and remember that he’s also an elementary particle physicist who participated in one of the most significant scientific discoveries of this millennium – the Higgs boson, the smallest particle in the known universe. You know – the particle whose research sparked both controversy and fear at the time.

Therefore, the first insight Ivica shared with us is that we should not fear new discoveries, we should learn about them, familiarize ourselves with them and use them to the best of our ability to ease and improve our everyday lives. We need to understand AI and learn about it and how to use it to be able to adapt to it quickly enough.

Being a university professor, he also touched upon the topic of education stating that, while there are certain things that aren’t optimal and could be improved, not everything is completely wrong. And when it comes to teaching kids and young adults, Ivica stressed the importance of teaching them balance. Balance in life and balanced life: just enough of everything – nature, technology, etc.

He believes our kids are better people than we are – more empathic than us. They are better connected with the world and we should trust them more because they deserve that trust.

It left us wanting more…

A lot was said during this panel discussion and this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to this particular topic. That’s not to say that we stayed just on the surface – we actually delved deep into the impact artificial intelligence has on our lives and not even the networking afterward was enough to satiate curiosity and halt the discussion.

This only means one thing – we should repeat the CroAI meetup in Split once more!

Actually, we do believe a certain Split Tech City supporter from the audience took it upon themselves to start the initial arrangements for the second edition of this meetup in Split. And don’t we love it when our tech community is engaged and proactive! So – we’ll definitely see you at the next CroAI meetup in the near future!

In the meantime – be bright, be bold, and go make a positive impact on the world!

Photos: Ivan Gracin


About author:

Nikolina Kukoč

Researching is woven into my DNA, but I am a musician at heart. Interested in too many things and always curious. Forever in love with Split and enchanted by people who teach me new things. When I am not creating content about Split's tech community, you will find me in singing rehearsals, somewhere in nature, in the theater, or with my head stuck in a book. I do my best to live by the verse from the opera "Fedora" by Umberto Giordano: "Love forbids you not to love."

Subscribe Subscribe

Related News