With the advances in computing capabilities and data management technologies over the last decade, the role of artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly important in modern society. From self-driving cars to cashier-less grocery stores, Ai solutions are bringing innovations and challenging the status quo.
Major countries around the world have been actively studying and investing in the latest developments of Ai, namely U.S., Canada, China, Japan, Germany, and the list goes on. Notably, in South America, Brazil’s government also has big plans for Ai in this fourth industrial revolution.
Over the past few years, Brazil has been actively expanding its Ai developments. In 2019, the Brazilian government announced that it would work on building a network of eight research facilities focused on the applications of Ai.
Marcos Pontes, Brazil’s minister of science, technology, innovation, and communications, said the eight Ai-focused research labs would boost “the ability to reason, plan, and think about Brazil’s future and our ability to create tools to solve problems and improve the quality of life.”
One of the research centers will be working with the Brazilian Army to focus on the potential improvements in cyber security. The other seven centers will be supporting the latest research on the country’s IoT plan, with a focus on healthcare, agribusiness, manufacturing, and smart cities.
A number of multi-national corporations also see Brazil as a potential technology innovation hub in the future, and have opened Ai research centers as well. The São Paulo Research Foundation, a major scientific institution located in Brazil, has formed a partnership with IBM to launch the first Latin American institution of IBM’s Ai Horizons Network.
The IBM-run research center will be particularly focused on NLP, deep learning, and the potential industrial applications. Over the next ten years, the lab will receive $20 million in investment from multiple organizations.
In addition to an already established Ai research center in Brazil, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has also announced that it plans to invest one billion reais to expand its infrastructure in São Paulo over the next two years.
As the push for technological advancement continues, the demand for efficient and reliable computing power increases as well. The smoothness of Ai’s integration into the society will be a major area the government should pay attention to. Microsoft has recently published a study claiming that Brazil could achieve a GDP increase of 7.1% if it can achieve full Ai adoption – a four-fold increase in the current level.
While Ai adoption has a bright future, there are also major challenges along the way. Not too long ago, the Pew Research Center published a report on how emerging countries worry about job automation. A large proportion of Brazilian workers are afraid that jobs will be harder to find, and income inequality will grow.
To achieve digital transformation, education is a challenge that must not be ignored. The Brazilian society, especially the youth, must be prepared for the change and embrace innovation. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that the workforce has access to appropriate resources to get ready for the transformation of jobs.
One initiative by Brazil’s federal government is Mec Flix, a state educational platform. Mec Flix gives students access to educational contents based on their preferences, which includes topics related to the elements of artificial intelligence. The digital transformation is for sure one of the most important and fascinating developments in the coming decade.
Brazil’s economy is considerably smaller today with a GDP of $1.86 trillion, than a decade ago, when the GDP peaked at $2.6 trillion in 2011. Brazil’s large dependency on industrial production and natural resources makes the economy especially sensitive to currency swings and economic cycles. Over the last decade a price drop in oil, industrial and precious metals proved especially painful for Brazil.
To embrace technological advancements, Brazil has been actively positioning itself as a future innovation hub for artificial intelligence. To achieve sustainable adaptation to the world of Ai, it is important for the government to focus on both R&D of the latest technologies, and the smooth transition of its workforce at the same time.