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Why are the underdogs the key to winning the future? Introducing LATAM 4.0

Why are the underdogs the key to winning the future? Introducing LATAM 4.0


Jean García Periche

Jean García Periche is the Co-Founder and President of GENIA Latinoamérica, a research and development (R&D) regional platform with the mission of including Latin America into the global development of Artificial Intelligence.

He is an Artificial Intelligence Research Fellow at the Center for AI and Digital Policy in Washington D.C., a member of the U.S. Department of State and the Atlantic Council’s AI Connect Network, and a Global Ambassador for the E.U. AI4Gov Network.

Jean is a Political Scientist and Economist with studies in Exponential Technologies and Public Administration, a Masters in Artificial Intelligence for Public Services, Masters in Cognitive Science, and is a PhD candidate in Complexity. He is a Fellow from Singularity University at NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, a member of the Global AI Ethics Institute, sits on the Global Advisory Board of the International Group of Artificial Intelligence, and is a former AI Policy Affiliate at The Future Society.


1- The discussion on Artificial Intelligence (AI) is centered around three global superpowers: the U.S., China, and Europe. However, Latin America is usually disregarded and not taken into account. What role do you think Latin America can play in global AI development?

Latin America could be decisive in deciding the future of AI. With a massive population that surpasses 650 million people, our region offers an extraordinary wealth of data- a critical component for the life and advancement of AI systems. Moreover, Latin America's cumulative GDP surpasses USD $6 trillion, positioning Latin America as a fertile ground for AI investment and innovation.

For example, India is frequently viewed as a rising global superpower. However, it's noteworthy to consider Latin America in this context. Despite having half of India's population, Latin America's economy is twice the size of India's.

Furthermore, with more than 20 states with voice and voting power in global governance institutions, the region could be key in influencing norms, policies, and human rights considerations with regards to AI. The region's collective voice in shaping AI policies can tip the balance of international AI norms, placing Latin America at the forefront of discussions that will shape the future of AI.

Nonetheless, for Latin America to become an AI superpower, it needs to act cohesively. National initiatives are necessary, but to actually scale the AI economy, we need to regionalize artificial intelligence. For that reason, GENIA is implementing theLATAM 4.0 Project, which is working with governments, private companies, civil society, academia and multilateral organizations to create a regional AI ecosystem.


2- How are you executing this?


We are establishing AI Hubs across various countries, branded as #YoSoyFuturo. These Hubs focus on empowering the workforce and producing AI technologies that tackle our shared challenges and compete in continental markets. To do that, we will train tens of thousands of new talents and develop technologies that impact the lives of millions of people.

A significant step in this direction was GENIA’s partnership with the Dominican Republic's government, which seeks to scale these Hubs across Latin America. Following this partnership, we are on the verge of scaling this to all of CentralAmerica.

We are engaging with key stakeholders from Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to open the #YoSoyFuturo Hubs in each of these countries in the following months. Moreover, our team is working closely with the private sector to scale our regional AI solutions platform - GALAPAGOS - to commercialize the technologies that fit the global market.


3- Why these countries in particular?


Our focus is on countries that are often overlooked in the global tech narrative. These nations are crucial to our mission. In fact, we firmly believe that these “underdogs”are not only crucial; they are the key to winning the future. 

Starting with a coalition from Central America and the Caribbean, we will then expand into South America and North America. Our goal is to integrate all of Latin America into a unified regional AI ecosystem across the hemisphere, positioning Latin America not just as an observer but as an active force in the global AI arena.


4- You mentioned the “underdogs”, what do you mean bythat?


An underdog is usually seen as a competitor thought to have little chance of winning, or someone who has little status in society. In the race for AI, Latin America fits this description perfectly.

The choice to start with Central America and the Caribbean, is a strategic move. These regions, home to over 90 million people, represent not just numbers, but a reservoir of untapped potential and innovation. Opening #YoSoyFuturo Hubs in these areas is more than a technological investment; it's a statement of belief in the inherent talent of these underdogs. By leveraging this significant market, we have an opportunity to showcase the power of AI when harnessed by diverse cultures and minds. 

Latin America is a colossal market that cannot be ignored. When unlocked, Latin America will have a transformative impact across the planet. This richness of cultural, linguistic, and intellectual diversity is waiting to be integrated into the global development of AI.


5- Why go for the underdogs?


The underdogs are the majority. The Global South represents a vast, untapped abundance of wealth. Regions like Latin America often face resource constraints which force people to find creative solutions to their challenges. That way, the underdogs become champions of innovation and resilience by harnessing exponential technologies like AI, social networks, and unconventional strategies to solve their issues. 

By investing in and elevating the capabilities of these regions, we're not just empowering the underdogs; we're leveraging the collective strength of the majority. This will be the key to winning the future. Latin America's role in this journey is not just as a participant but as a protagonist, demonstrating that the underdogs of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.

LATAM 4.0 Project unveiled.

Jean Garcia Periche. Artificial intelligence and the future of global governance. AI Policy Exchange, August 2020.

Ximena Mejía Gutiérrez.  **La position de l'Amérique latine dans le débat sur la régulation de l'Intelligence Artificielle (IA) : qui fixe les règles? Centre mexicain des relations internationales, Août 2023

Que fait-on en Amérique latine pour réguler l'intelligence artificielle ?, juin 2023.

Artificial Intelligence Can Contribute to Transforming Development Models in Latin America and the Caribbean to Make Them More Productive, Inclusive and Sustainable. Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), ****August 2023.

Antonio Garrastazu and Beatriz De Anta. The AI Revolution Is Coming for Latin America. Is It Ready? Americas Quarterly, August 2023.

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