Holding a global event like the Mobile World Congress, although decaffeinated by the pandemic and mobility restrictions, is a great showcase. It is to detect technological developments and future trends, but also to see what political, geostrategic and ethical debates entail the paths that technology opens.
At the inaugural conference that Mobile premiered this Monday, a senior Chinese and a Spanish executive agreed. The first, Yang Jie, president of China Mobile, assured that his country will lead in an undeniable way in technology in five years; the second, José María Álvarez-Pallete, president of Telefónica, called for changes in European regulation that allow attracting more investment, precisely so as not to be left behind in the digital race against giants such as China or the United States.
Pallete called for a new regulatory framework and new competition rules to “build a strong digital Europe.” This will be built, in his opinion, on the basis of the great technological trends that are beginning to dominate the debates and will soon do so in the market: 5G technology (and everything that entails, from everyday objects connected to the internet to the car. autonomous and connected), artificial intelligence and big data. The president of Telefónica identified data management and the transformation that artificial intelligence can carry out on information as two elements with great potential. “This is an extraordinary opportunity that we cannot miss, but it is also a great challenge. Governments need to attract investment in the smart digital infrastructure that will make all of that possible. And that answer must come now, ”he said. The aim is for Europe to have “a sustainable telecommunications sector”.
The one who already has a strong investment in digital infrastructure is China. The president of China Mobile said that in five years, technology-related activities will account for 50% of Chinese GDP (currently 38.6%). Jie highlighted the support of the Chinese government so that companies in the sector have sufficient financial capacity to grow without having to look at the income statement. Those that develop solutions with 5G technology, a much faster connectivity than the current one that will allow sending and receiving information without latency, are the most strategic according to Jie, due to their applications for clients but also for health, mobility or energy infrastructures. In addition to new uses that are to be developed, such as digital finance, 3D applications or holographic images. Precisely, one of the main attractions of the congress has been the hologram project based on 5G technology that Mobile World Capital has shown: a 3D image that reproduces in real time what was recorded next to it.
The president of Telefónica assured that these innovations can bring together the current digital revolution, “which, if well conducted, will transcend its dimension and reach an intelligent revolution. But, to be complete, the manager asked to go further: “We need a new digital agreement to manage the digital transition with values and people at the center.” A conference was held about this need to provide ethics for technology, in which the economic vice president, Nadia Calviño, and the writer Yuval Noah Harari debated. Calviño stressed the need to “have an adequate regulatory framework” for digital transformation, and to ensure that it has a “humanist” vision. Harari, an Israeli historian and essayist, expressed concern for the future of democracies with the advancement of artificial intelligence and data management. “Artificial intelligence will change our culture and politics in the next 20 years,” he said.