Thinking about a Medellín 4.0 is a huge challenge for our city. It makes us reflect on how to make technology an inclusive space that will help us close social gaps and generate development opportunities for the city, for the country and for the entire region.
We must all remember that Medellín did not develop at the same time as the first three industrial revolutions were happening. These took a little longer to reach Colombia.
But then, how can the country, and especially Medellín, now be selected to host a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution? And how does Colombia share this challenge with countries such as the United States, Japan, China and India?
Getting here has not been easy. The journey has been challenging. We have faced the changes, difficulties and needs of a city that, historically, was growing rapidly in its population, but that saw the hope of progress as a dream frustrated by violence and lack of opportunities. Those difficult times that Medellín went through have made us what we are today: a resilient city that sees innovation as the engine for social change and wants to share its good practices with the world.
The United States, Japan, China, India, United Arab Emirates, Israel and Colombia are part of the Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Global Network.
The greatness of Medellín can be found in overcoming obstacles and how it has managed to turn them into opportunities, using tools such as creativity, co-creation and the articulated work of the government, industry and academia sectors. We call this innovation and our task is to put it at the service of our citizens.
We do not have a magic recipe for change, but we are aware that our transformation has guided us on the right path. Some years ago, Medellín decided to increase its investment in activities based on science, technology and innovation: we went from investing 0.7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015 to 2.27% in 2018, becoming the city of Colombia having the highest investment in these activities. Thanks to this, today Medellín is in the eye of the world and has gained international recognition from the World Economic Forum (WEF), organization we have been working with, as a team, for several years.
Having received the WEF’s acceptance as a partner, from Medellín, to promote the development and appropriation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the region, constitutes a major vote of confidence and reinforces our commitment to the responsible use of information technologies.
We know that the benefits will be incalculable, but this is not a revolution that will be measured in square meters. Belonging to this network of centres allow us, among other things, to develop tools to manage the governance of technologies, have expert advice, make our leadership role visible, connect cutting-edge technology with local needs and make the country a more attractive destination for investment and business development.
At the Affiliate Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Colombia, located in Medellín, we focus on the development of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; Internet Of Things, Robotics and Smart Cities, and Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology.
From Medellín, where the first Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Latin America has been established, we will concentrate our work on three of the nine emerging technologies: (I) Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; (ii) Internet of Things, Robotics and Smart Cities, and (iii) Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology.
Our task will be to define the use of technology to improve government processes, close the inequality gap and contribute to the compliance on the challenges that are contemplated on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as quality education, gender equality, access to work, the sustainability of cities and alliances to achieve objectives, among others.
Beyond a technological revolution, we need a human talent revolution, an educational and social revolution that allows us to generate quality jobs and raise awareness about such important issues as equality, common welfare and the environment. This is our opportunity to prepare for change, adapt to it and generate value for our citizens.