The technological waves that Latin America still does not see

May 11 2018
Executive Education INCAE

Technological waves come more frequent, strong and changeable, but the average Latin American company is a surfer who is too prone to stumbling or, worse, to miss the best opportunities to show off in the sea of ​​global competitors.

Here comes news of the 120 robots that work in the Tesla autonomous car factory, the nanotechnology projects or the Chinese building that they built using 3D printing technique, but in the Latin American context these information seem from another world. Put more positively: there are enormous (gigantic) growth possibilities.

This is the conclusion of the INCAE Business School professor William Cardoza, expert in innovation, competitiveness and business in emerging economies, with a PhD from La Sorbone and postdocs from Harvard University and MIT, in Boston.

After many years of academic practice and consulting in companies in the region, Professor Cardoza can recognize the areas that Latin America must debug for businesses to increase the possibility of harnessing the powerful waves of exponential technologies in the ability to compete.

Artificial intelligence, 3D, synthetic biology, robotics and nanotechnology they are developing with force and speed in what has been called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, but still far from Latin American waters.

Lagged behind in the quality of basic education, in investment in research and development, in government regulations and in the perception of probity in public or private management, Latin America seems the contrast of the dynamic Asian economies, such as Korea or Singapore.

The so-called "triple helix of development", governments-companies-academia, must be hooked into the technological cycle of the moment before it changes. It must have strategic investment as its central axis.

For Cardoza, Academic Co-director of the Senior Executive Program, strategic investment is a central factor in two virtuous circles. In one it activates education in research and development, which in turn provokes innovation and improves productivity, which increases competitiveness and income, so there may be more strategic investment.

In the other virtuous circle, this concept generates quality jobs, which increases the income of people, who can then save more or consume more and generate more resources in society for strategic investment.

This implies, of course, that the "triple helix" of development prepares for changes in the employment model, as technology will replace thousands of workers who are currently performing tasks susceptible to automation or artificial intelligence.

Although time is short, there are still margins for updating for the executives of an average company in Latin America to be trained in change management; so that they are not too surprised when they see that a car without a driver passes them on a highway ... and that a robotic machine certifies that they are right of the heart.

Extract from the webinar "Exponential technologies and their impact on business competitiveness in LA", by Professor Guillermo Cardoza.

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