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Serbia, ICT sector is blooming and expanding - Serbia Business

Serbia, ICT sector is blooming and expanding

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It is expected that in 2023, the Serbian export of services in the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector will exceed last year’s result, which was a record and amounted to 2.7 billion euros, said Minister of Information and Telecommunications Mihailo Jovanović. Our export growth in ICT is among the highest in Europe, he said on Friday at the opening of the Tomorrow Conference in Belgrade. „In the first three quarters of last year, it was higher than in any country of the European Union.“

He also reminded that the value of exported services in the first two months of this year is 500 million euros, which is 44 percent more compared to the same period in 2022, and added that the main areas of development of our country in the coming period are artificial intelligence – AI) and biotechnology.

Not much has passed since the minister’s short address, and from the same stage a somewhat disturbing warning about the risks that the aforementioned AI carries can be heard. Namely, the panel that followed brought together representatives of three countries, and each of them shared – directly or indirectly – some advice or proposal that Serbia could also adopt. The Honorary Consul of Serbia in Singapore Calvin Cheng, Prime Minister of Montenegro Dritan Abazović and Strategic Advisor for Economy and Tourism of Dubai Marwan Alzarouni took part in the discussion.

“Instead of regulating crypto, regulate AI”

“In the short term, I think that in the case of many new technologies – even the Internet – the thing that drives innovation is sex. So I think that the first innovation in the field of AI will be in the porn industry, creating virtual girls… Just like in the case of the Internet , adult entertainment drives innovation. As you can see, I’m pretty pessimistic about AI,” Cheng said.

In his opinion, what could be a big risk in the long run are the potential security consequences of so-called self-aware technology.

“Instead of governments working to regulate crypto, I think they should work to regulate AI, because if we’re not careful, there’s a big chance that AI will become worse than nuclear weapons,” he concluded.

Think outside the box

Cheng pointed out that it is often difficult for governments to keep up with innovation, and that technologies tend to create disruptions in regulatory regulations. He also gave an illustrative example.

“Some time ago, an entrepreneur in Singapore came up with the brilliant idea of making a boat on wheels to be used for tourist tours,” he said, describing how it then became an administrative mess, as the vehicle and vessel registration agencies alternately referred to each other, trying to remove the authority from themselves for registering a previously unknown type of means of transport.

The case went to the minister of the country and it was finally solved, and the tourists got a new form of entertainment. “The bottom line is that entrepreneurs and innovators want governments to be flexible and think outside the box,” he said.

Abazović pointed out that it is of great importance for state institutions to change their approach to things and really start supporting those who think outside the box, calling for greater financial assistance from Montenegro for innovative projects than was the case before.

“And we shouldn’t expect everyone to succeed. All we need as a small country is to have one company or person that will succeed and be recognized at the world level,” he said.

“Serbia to try to send a satellite into space”

Speaking about the recently launched space program of Montenegro, within the framework of which it is planned to send the country’s first satellite called Luča into space next year, Dritan Abazović called on the Government of Serbia to try to do the same.

“We have to believe in ourselves more. If you have a good idea and approach, I believe that it is not that difficult to find a way to realize the idea,” said the Montenegrin Prime Minister.

The future of this region is undoubtedly in innovations, the Prime Minister of the neighboring country believes.


Alzarouni said that, similar to Montenegro, Dubai also relies a lot on tourism and earnings through providing additional facilities to the city’s guests. He emphasized that they are one of the leading destinations for remote work, but also very involved in the crypto field, boasting about the creation of the first regulator specialized in virtual assets in the world (Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority). However, none of this would be possible without strong focus and dedication.

“With the outlined strategies and deadlines, we have no choice but to focus on finishing things. I think many other regions lack focus and a clear path. We are investing a lot in new technologies, especially in the metaverse and AI,” he said, reminding that the United The United Arab Emirates is the first country to get a minister for AI.

Using the example of Singapore, Cheng pointed out how important it is for each new generation of leaders to think about the next innovation, thereby sustaining growth in a country that is quite poor when it comes to natural resources.

“We don’t even have enough water, all we have are human resources, we had to build knowledge as a resource,” he said.

Don’t wait for others

A conversation about new technologies and Montenegro could hardly pass without mentioning Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, who was granted citizenship by this country last year. The basic idea behind it, said Abazović, is to fearlessly keep pace with contemporary trends.

“One of the problems is that Montenegro has stepped deep into the process of integration into the European Union, where many countries do not have blockchain regulations. I think it is possible for us to be a country that will bring something new to the Union. We don’t always have to wait for others,” he concluded.


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