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Symposium on Artificial Intelligence Showcases Excellence of Slovenian Researchers in the USA

March 01, 2024 | 3:22 pm |

The Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Washington, in collaboration with the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad and the American Slovenian Education Foundation (ASEF), organized a Symposium on Artificial Intelligence that highlighted the exceptional contributions of Slovenian researchers who work in the United States. The event took place on Monday, 27. November 2023, at the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Washington.

The symposium kicked off with exploring the historical roots of Slovenian cultural and intellectual achievements in the United States. Guests were given a warm welcome by the Slovenian Ambassador to the United States, Iztok Mirošič, who said: 

“Extremely rapid developments in AI and other disruptive technologies are revolutionizing scientific research and beginning to have an impact on our daily lives. While such technologies provide many benefits and opportunities, they also pose certain risks.”

Ambassador also added: 

“Regulating AI is of strategic importance as it involves finding the right balance between innovation and risk management. Transatlantic cooperation is crucial for AI governance”. 

Following this welcome, a video speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Slovenia Tanja Fajon added a layer of appreciation.

Minister Fajon expressed, “I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the dedication of you, Slovenian researchers who have come together in Washington from all corners of the United States. It is heartening to witness our talented researchers contributing to the development of AI in a country where AI is at the forefront of development. I am confident that the knowledge and experience gained will be a valuable asset, benefiting not only the United States but also our beloved Slovenia.”

A heartfelt video speech by the minister of Government Office for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon expressed: 

“the power is in knowledge, and young people are the ones who possess the ideas, creativity, and potential to shape a better world.”

The event centered around AI discussions led by distinguished speakers: Dr. Marinka Žitnik, Assistant Professor at Harvard University and Director of ASEF. Dr. Žitnik discussed how generative AI can provide insights that might not have been possible using traditional methods alone. In her talk, she stated:

“We are laying the foundations for AI to enhance the understanding of medicine and drug design, eventually enabling AI to innovate on its own and acquire knowledge autonomously. We are using AI to help develop new kinds of therapies such that the right patient gets the right treatment at the right time and that effects are consistent from person to person and with results in the laboratory.”

Dr. Luka Počivavšek, a highly skilled vascular surgeon from the University of Chicago, shared insights into innovative treatments and techniques for better outcomes in vascular care. Dr. Andrej Prša, from the Villanova University discussed AI overcoming computational bottlenecks in astrophysics and modeling eclipsing binary stars. How AI can transcend mere entertainment games and impact player experience has been presented by Dr. Alenka Poplin, an Associate Professor at Iowa State University. Dr. Jernej Barbič from the University of Southern California shed light on how AI can rapidly generate and animate digital humans in the Metaverse.  And finally, Dr. Urška Velikonja, Professor of Law at Georgetown University, addressed how generative artificial intelligence is transforming legal education and practice. 

In closing, H.E. Ambassador Iztok Mirošič expressed gratitude, underlining the significance of such gatherings in fostering innovation and collaboration. The symposium underscored the excellence of Slovenian researchers in the USA, highlighting their influential role in advancing knowledge and technology globally.

You can read more about the event on the Delo newspaper portal.

*For media inquiries, please contact: bostjan.persin@gov.si or kaja@asef.net 

About ASEF

The American Slovenian Education Foundation (ASEF) is dedicated to fostering educational, scientific, and cultural ties between Slovenia and the United States. Dr. Marinka Žitnik, Director of ASEF, stated, “ASEF bridges the gap between research and practical applications, enhancing Slovenian education activities and uniting scholars globally. This symposium exemplifies the impactful work of Slovenian researchers in the USA.”

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