A few weeks ago, when we were witnessing the victory of the ultra Jair Bolsonaro was inevitable, the Colombian writer Héctor Abad Faciolince I remembered in EL PAÍS a phrase by Carlos Monsiváis to describe his state of mind: "Either what I understood no longer happens, or I no longer understand what is happening". In recent years, the world has suffered an earthquake with countless consequences, that of a technological revolution that has transformed everything, from the workplace to democracy. To analyze it, Materia, EL PAÍS and OpenMind, BBVA's knowledge community, held an event, The era of perplexity, in which three of the world's leading experts participated in the consequences of the evolution of technology and intelligence. artificial: Luciano Floridi, from the University of Oxford, Jannis Kallinikos, from the London School of Economics and Nuria Oliver, director of Research at Vodafone.
In that context, the first question became clear: Are we really in an era of perplexity, that is, a time when we do not have guidelines or instructions to operate? "The perplexity as a first step may be a good idea, but do not remain stagnant as the end of the trip," he said in the first place. Luciano Floridi, director of the Digital Ethics Lab and Professor of Philosophy and Information Ethics at the University of Oxford. Floridi explained that the attack on the Twin Towers generated perplexity about security, Lehman Brothers on financial stability, then Trump on Twitter, May on Brexit … All this caused an exceptional increase in perplexity. "But this should serve to encourage action," settled.
"It has changed our ties with other humans and also ties with the rulers and institutions. Is it something positive or negative? I believe that the answer is probably somewhere in between, "said Jannis Kallinikos, Professor of Information Systems in the Management Department of the London School of Economics. "We can not dissociate this state of perplexity from technological progress. Every time the great milestones of the technological advances happen every less years, from agriculture to the sequencing of the human genome ", explained Nuria Oliver, Director of Research in Data Sciences at Vodafone, which has made it more difficult to adapt to the changes it generates. "We understand little, every time we understand less, and that causes fear. And that fear causes populists to emerge, because they feed on that fear, "he added.
Another unavoidable question is how citizens can adapt to this new era. To introduce this concept, Patricia Fernández de Lis, editor of Materia y Tecnología of EL PAÍS, gave way to the intervention of Spanish Manuel Cebrián, head of scientific research at the MIT Media Lab, one of the different specialists who wanted to participate in the event through a video intervention. Cebrián believes "that the key is going to be the alphabetization in the algorithms". "The more society understands how they work and is able to build them, even from the moment we go to children's school, I think we will be able to better control our future as these technologies and algorithms enter our lives," he said. the MIT expert.
In that sense, Oliver insisted that there should be an educational reform that includes preparation for programming, but that also prepares for creativity. "The young people of the future are not going to have a career, they are going to have to change many times of career," he said. "And that will need temperance so as not to panic when they discover that they have to reinvent themselves", because according to Oliver, "the professions that can be automated will be automated". "If you are not able to edit Wikipedia, not read it, edit it, that is the limit of your world", summarized Floridi, on knowledge in the digital age, when all wisdom is accessible, but we must have tools to contribute something.
"Governments are very slow and all institutions have their own interests. I do not think we can trust governments to save us, "Postverdad author Lee McIntyre later said in a video recorded for the event. For this researcher at the University of Boston "it is important that citizens take part in our democracy, but I think we have to think about how we spend our money. If we do not like what Facebook, or Uber or Airbnb are doing, we can respond with our dollars. " Floridi considered that this idea is naive, only superficially true, because when there is no competition regulated by governments, as with many of these companies, this personal option would not really influence. "Self-regulation is very good if it is carried out, but whatever money they win, we must force the rules of the game to be complied with," he insisted.