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Generative AI: A Social and Business Challenge in Latin America

By: Emmanuel León Vázquez
 / Original Note: LINK 

Generative Artificial Intelligence is growing daily. Sora, the latest product unveiled by OpenAI, can generate hyper-realistic videos from a text command or prompt. Just three years separate Sora from Dall-e, the Sam Altman-led company’s first attempt at converting text to image, and the progress is remarkable. 

From creating primitive images of people with deformed faces and extra fingers, generative AI can now create videos of a dalmatian walking among windows or an urban environment covered in snow. Such power represents opportunities for users and companies, but in areas like Latin America, it has faced some obstacles. 

Andrea Padilla, Angélica Figueroa, and Nazly Borrero, experts in marketing, technology, and cybersecurity, respectively, have been on the front lines alongside Latin American companies and have noticed interest in products made with generative AI. They have also noticed general resistance and concerns about implementation costs. 

At the panel «A Future Written with Generative AI: Perspectives for Companies,» the specialists provided an overview of the evolution and adoption of generative AI in Mexico, but also discussed perspectives from across Latin America. 

Padilla, founder and CEO of Square Root Marketing Services, stated that one of the resistances to adopting Generative AI in regional companies is the generational gap, as decisions typically fall to Baby Boomers or Generation X. 

«We launched a tool in October last year called SquareScribe, an AI-based tool for optimization and content generation, and it was not immediately adopted and has been delayed for several months,» Padilla said. 

«The younger ones are being the agents of change in this process,» she added. 

Padilla also considered the educational aspect, questioning the need for a more active role from regional public institutions and cited the United States as an example, where degrees are focused entirely on teaching about AI. 

For instance, the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a focus on Artificial Intelligence offered by Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, USA. Although at a slower pace, education focused on AI has advanced in Mexico. 

In collaboration with Intel, Conalep, a high school-level educational institution, launched the Data Science and Artificial Intelligence career in March 2023 and recently integrated the Practical Application of Artificial Intelligence subject, which will be available in some campuses in Nuevo León, Jalisco, Querétaro, and Estado de México, according to a statement. 

Borrero, a cybersecurity specialist, added to the conversation the issue of costs. She has observed that when discussing investing in AI, the most prominent question among executives is: ‘and when will that investment in cybersecurity pay off?’ 

«It’s not just about implementing the AI part; there’s also the investment in protecting the infrastructure and the tools to be used,» Borrero stated. 

«Companies often don’t have this awareness, this concept. For them, the first thing is to invest in what brings profits, and then, if possible, pay for protection,» she added. 

Borrero explained that, although expenses in generative AI require strengthening cybersecurity systems, in the long run, with increased productivity and process optimization, the investment pays off. Otherwise, if protection services are not paid for, the consequences could be even more costly. 

«We are all vulnerable to cybercriminals. We are always in the sights of a tracker, a possible fraud, or we will always have some information leak,» Borrero pointed out. 

Figueroa, marketing director of the agency Toga and a technology specialist, expressed that generative AI represents an attractive option for increasing company sales through data analysis on their customers to improve loyalty. 

«If I have limited resources at the human level, generative AI becomes a fundamental tool,» Figueroa said. 

«The more you know your customer, why they buy, when they buy, how they pay, and you have a complete mapping of that customer. With AI, you will be able to make more strategic decisions about your own business,» she emphasized. 

Padilla considered that for a smooth adoption of this technology for companies and users, there must be a consensus between the public and private sectors. 

For her, the national companies in Mexico investing in AI, as well as the multinational ones coming to Latin America, must sit down and dialogue with the public sector. Additionally, authorities in each country must push for education on the topic. 

«If corporate sector adoption is currently at 60 percent, in the government sector it’s at 30 percent. If we don’t understand what AI is, we won’t comprehend its importance,» she concluded. 

According to the study ‘Exploring AI as a Driver of Change in the Latin American Digital Frontier,’ conducted by NTT Data and MIT Technology Review, in 2023, 71 percent of companies in Latin America had adopted AI in their operations. In contrast, in 2020, only 58 percent had done so. 



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