The eMerge Americas technological forum began today in Miami Beach with messages about the ability of technology to unite the world in a time of division and the weight that Latin America will have in the digital transformation despite having an investment below average.
The event, which is presented as a technological bridge between Latin America, the United States and Europe, brings together in its fifth edition executives of technology companies, public officials, thinkers, entrepreneurs, innovators and a broad public interested in technology and the latest trends.
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox was the first speaker of the event held at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
According to the founder of eMerge, Manny Medina, Fox was chosen, because we are in a time when “walls are being built” and what technology does is “destroy them”.
With this philosophy, on the first day of eMerge, a two-day forum that expects to receive the visit of some 15,000 people, the challenges faced particularly Latin America and how technology can contribute to its progress were discussed.
Former President Fox pointed out that technology is the key to “building bridges in the world” in the face of “isolation” phenomena such as Brexit in the United Kingdom, Catalan independence movement in Spain or the border wall between Mexico and the United States.
“The future has to be technology, because it unites us instead of building walls. The last step for Latin America to advance definitively is to get rid of dictators,” said Fox.
He gave the example of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who, he said, is “imposing his will while closing the door to innovation and individual initiative.”
Before dozens of businessmen and entrepreneurs, Fox said the progress that Latin America has made in the past 30 years is “incredible”; all thanks to “technological minds” who have led the process and predicted that in the near future robots “will produce for us”.
Diego Dzodan, vice president of Facebook and Instagram for Latin America, agreed that the future that awaits Latin America is “brilliant”.
“Innovation in the coming years will come from Latin America,” said Dzodan, who mentioned the advances that have emerged in the region, such as the development of the artificial heart carried out in Argentina, despite the lack of investment.
Even Brazil, the Latin American country that devotes more resources to research, is below the world average, but Dzodan says that this circumstance has not created a barrier to the development of technology in Latin America.
“The digital revolution is taking many platforms from Latin America, but we have to invest to take advantage of these opportunities,” Dzodan said.
One of the main focuses of the forum, the so-called eGov, brings together public representatives from North America, Latin America and Europe to discuss issues such as the transformation of urban communities into “smart cities” and digital government.
Antonio Mugica, founder of the Smartmatic electronic voting company, said that “democracy 2.0” is in progress and will “allow” society to “regain confidence” in its institutions and overcome the low participation rates.
“All the fear of ‘hacking’ (piracy) and ‘fake news’ is part of the transformation of society,” said the Venezuelan businessman.
He reaffirmed that in the ten years in which there have been experiences of electronic voting “there have been no breaches” and attributed criticism of this method, that will be used in seven of the nine elections this year in Latin America, to conspiracies.
“We have to make sure that there is transparency and security, what is ‘hacked’ is not the systems, but the speeches,” said Mugica.
The Republican congressman, Carlos Curbelo, accompanied the president of the University of Miami, Julio Frenk, in a conference on the future of leadership, where the situation of the “dreamers”, the young people who arrived in the United States during childhood, was referenced. They may lose the immigration protection that protected them since the presidency of Barack Obama.
“I met with President Trump last Thursday and told him that the most important thing Congress can do is to finalize the immigration law that provides permanence to dreamers,” he said.
Frenk, who said that every great innovation throughout history, from antibiotics to the Internet, was born in universities. He advocated facilitating the mobility of youths in the Americas, as in Europe, to share the youth power and their experiences and “demolish prejudices”.