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Second Lecture on AI

Second Lecture on AI

On Wednesday, July 5th 2023, the second lecture on artificial intelligence took place at the Matica Srpska. The lecturers were Dr. Ivan Tanasijevic and Presbyter Dragan Popovic.

Continuation of the Artificial Intelligence Dialogue

The dialogue on artificial intelligence, initiated by introductory lectures from Dr. Branislav Kisacanin and Dr. Oliver Subotic, continued with presentations on artificial intelligence in medicine and pharmacology, as well as the challenges of artificial intelligence from the perspective of the Orthodox Church bioethics.

The second session of the lectures was organized by the Matica Srpska, with co-organizers being the Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the "Petar Mandic" Endowment. After the completion of all planned lectures, a proceedings collection on this topic will be published by the Matica, according to Prof. Dr. Dragan Stanic.

Dr. Ivan Tanasijevic

Dr. Ivan Tanasijevic

"Artificial Intelligence in Medicine and Pharmacology"

The first speaker, Dr. Ivan Tanasijevic, is a scientific researcher at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence of Serbia, whose research focus revolves around the application of artificial intelligence in health and natural sciences.

Dr. Ivan Tanasijevic | Institute for Artificial Intelligence | lecture in Matica Srpska

Dr. Ivan Tanasijevic acquainted the audience with the application of artificial intelligence in medicine, emphasizing that it is used not to replace doctors, but as a valuable algorithm that collects data and assists in prognosis, diagnostics, and early disease detection.

Regarding the Institute for Artificial Intelligence's work in the field of medicine, Dr. Tanasijevic highlights the crucial role it played in image reconstruction (applied during the COVID-19 pandemic), diagnosing rare diseases, and detecting cardiac pathologies from ECG recordings by developing algorithms for early detection of cardiac issues.

Personalized - precise medicine is emphasized as the ultimate goal of applying artificial intelligence in medicine. With the advancement and cost reduction of technologies like sequencing, it will be possible to precisely design medicine for specific individuals or groups, which will be far more effective than existing ones.

Dr. Tanasijevic explains the state of pharmacology using Rum's Law (an inverted Moore's Law, where technological progress grows exponentially). He points out that the cost of developing a single medicine exponentially increases over time, regulations for new medicine development are stricter, complexity is greater, and the failure rate is higher.

According to Tanasijevic, artificial intelligence aids pharmacology by identifying biomarkers - targets for medicine - adapting to new discoveries, discovering new molecules, ranking drugs, and predicting success probabilities.

To showcase the achievements of artificial intelligence in pharmacology, the speaker mentioned the recent discovery of the antibiotic abaucin against "superbug" bacteria and the achievements of Insilico Medicine, a company designing drugs solely using artificial intelligence.

Dr. Ivan Tanasijevic concludes his presentation by discussing the attitudes of major pharmaceutical companies toward AI technologies, highlighting that artificial intelligence is seen as desirable and popular among pharmaceutical market leaders but is also considered very risky due to high project failure rates.

Presbyther Dragan Popovic

Presbyther Dragan Popovic

"Challenges of Artificial Intelligence from the Perspective of Orthodox Bioethics"


Presbyter Dragan Popovic is a priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church, who has been professionally engaged in bioethical issues for over a decade. He is considered one of the foremost experts in this field among the clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church. He is the author of the monograph "Bioethics of Death: Utilitarianism and Orthodoxy" (2022), which has set new standards in addressing bioethical challenges among Serbian theologians.

Presbyter Dragan Popovic | orthodox bioethics | artificial intelligence | lecture in Matica Srpska

Dragan Popovic based his lecture on attempting to understand two features of artificial intelligence mentioned in the previous lecture by Dr. Branislav Kisacanin: the idea that artificial intelligence has the autonomy to develop itself and the task to replicate human thinking to a great extent.

The attempt to contemplate these features of artificial intelligence is divided into three parts:

  • Artificial intelligence as the most significant contemporary scientific-technological discovery of humanity;
  • What artificial intelligence is not and what we should not expect from it;
  • Proposing boundaries for the use of artificial intelligence.

The speaker emphasized that artificial intelligence has determined the direction of today's culture and civilization, which is oriented toward the West. He believes that the Orthodox Church has the responsibility to guide this direction and to view artificial intelligence as if it were not value-oriented, as if it were neutral, and to steer it towards the benefit of human salvation.

Explaining the perspective of artificial intelligence as value-neutral, the archpriest clarifies that our attitude towards it determines whether it will be used for good or evil. He considers this to have ontological implications for artificial intelligence.

The emergence of AI technology is explained from a historical perspective, delving into the development of modernism and postmodernism. The archpriest sees its roots in a shift in the perception of nature and God, where humanity replaced God as the measure of all things, the idea that truth is not solely owned by God but exists in nature, and the separation of humans from God.

Popovic believes that, in terms of understanding, artificial intelligence will reach and surpass humans in terms of reason, becoming superior, but it will never be able to match humans in terms of mind or spirit. It will never be able to achieve communion with God that is eternal. 

Aligning the use of artificial intelligence with the imperative preservation of human dignity, father Dragan Popovic deems necessary at the legislative level in order to control this new technology. He believes that if artificial intelligence does not impact or threaten human dignity, then it is desirable, good, and truthful. However, if it in any way jeopardizes human dignity or freedom, it is not good.

Public Debate

At the end of the lecture, a public debate was held where attendees had the opportunity to ask questions to the presenters.

Following the lecture, a private conversation with the presenters continued in the presence of Academician Dragan Stanic, the President of the Matica Srpska, who is also a member of the Expert Council of the "Petar Mandic" Endowment.

Artificial Intelligence | Dr. Ivan Tanasijevic | Presbyter Dragan Popovic | lecture in Matica Srpska

The lecture and subsequent discussions were attended by Mr. Vladimir Obucina, the Manager of the "Petar Mandic" Endowment, Mr. Nikola Puric, the President of the Endowment's Managing Board, Presbyter Dr. Oliver Subotic, the founder of the Endowment, and Mr. Zeljko Gajanovic, a member of the Endowment's Expert Council responsible for information and communication technologies.

The programming team from the company hoQMee, which designed, developed, and maintains the portal of the Endowment, was also present.

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