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The Artificial Intelligence Revolution in LATAM: What skills do you need in today's digital world?

Updated: Aug 13


What is your relationship with technology like? Up close and personal developing ambitious growth projects together? Or was your last call with IT a month ago when your screen opportunely turned multi-color? If the latter, it’s time you gave that interaction some serious TLC

​In this highly interconnected world, artificial intelligence (AI) is undeniably influential, revolutionizing how we work and live. What kicked off as a “fad” and spoken about only by mad futurists is now slithering into our lives in full force and the ubiquitous impact it will continue to have on the world’s social and economic landscape is incredibly shocking. The Inter-American Development Bank states that economic growth of countries that embrace artificial Intelligence is expected to be 25% higher and has the potential to boost Latin America's current 3% GDP significantly by 1%. Its importance lies in how we develop with AI as a region to create value, as a hybrid productive force. How are we to overcome our boundaries, transcend our limitations, and proactively stay ahead of our environment in view of this imminent trend?

As LATAM becomes highly attractive to investors looking for the perfect combination of lean processes through AI and cost-effective, skilled labour, our region is hard-pressed to adjust and revamp its educational system to address market demands effectively.

AI proves to be an efficient tool to increase productivity and reduce human exertions by standardization and optimization of repetitive tasks. Traditional sectors in LATAM including agriculture, mining, infrastructure, and healthcare will benefit through AI's operational efficiency, already seen in Brazil and Argentina in fin-tech and banking, Chile in service, and Costa Rica in back office.  Nevertheless,  AI comes with side effects of ‘technological unemployment' reaching up to 50% of current job displacement, affecting developing countries where the bulk of employment is in these same transactional, low-medium skilled jobs that will become redundant through AI. To maintain leverage, human beings must strengthen emotional intelligence, persuasion, interpersonal and communication skills, all trademark characteristics of LATAM’s culture of openness and social intelligence. (Accenture AI report.)

Encouragingly for new age labour, ​this automation era favours freelance and entrepreneurship and opens a new gamma of technical skills and adjustability required to mature with AI. Advantageously, unburdened by daily work duties absorbed by AI, human capacity is liberated to engage in higher analytical, problem solving, and strategic thinking. To thrive in a hyper competitive, 'cyberdelic' world, a 'superhuman' workforce must unleash human capability that machines cannot match, affirms technology guru and serial entrepreneur, Elon Musk, who just last week launched his neuro-technology startup. Pioneers that have broken the mold such as Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Walt Disney concurrently denote that their grand attributes are precisely the human nuances that machines cannot replicate: their imagination, creative vision, and human passion to question and pursue insatiable curiosity.

I maintain that education is pillar to our development; yet in my home country Nicaragua, government has not shared this view and seldom mentions education in its political agenda, quite typical in Central American countries. With AI fast approaching, this needs to change. Our neighbours in Costa Rica have aptly positioned themselves as exemplary and the most economically sound country in Central America by staying at the vanguard of education, technology, and investment climate. Having worked closely with the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency, I encountered their successful forecasts of skills required by incoming multinationals and equating this with academia to ensure labour availability for sectors of planned growth.

​As self-creating species, we are entering an education revolution to stabilize AI's labour impact, where research, innovation ecosystems, and educational curriculums must be catered to address current skills deficiencies in LATAM. This decisive action opens opportunities to properly equip the population with the necessary expertise rising to industry demands, foster innovative application of pragmatic knowledge, challenge conventional schemes, and catapult us into our highest peak of thought leadership and economic growth as a region, leveraged by AI.

Have you wondered to yourself how you are personally preparing to stay relevant in your industry alongside AI? Don’t fall behind, failure to do so might just put you in the archives with cassettes and floppy disks!



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