ABES – Brazilian Association of Software Companies took the participants of the ABES COnference 2022 reflection on where they will be in 2023 when discussing the constant changes in the technological landscape. During the event, four protagonists from the ESG scene (Environment, Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance) told how they are practicing stakeholder capitalism and creating long-term value with a positive impact for all stakeholders and the planet. 

Kelly Silva Baptista, Executive Director of the Movile Group's 1Bi Foundation, has been working with social responsibility for 21 years. Currently, it works to bring technology to people in extreme social vulnerability through education. “Most children from peripheral families did not have access to school content during the pandemic. Many public school teachers have more than 1,200 students. As much as we say that Brazil is at the forefront of technological development, 30 million Brazilians are below the poverty line. Therefore, it is urgent that we think about technology for those who support this country”, said Kelly.

“It is no longer sustainable to generate 1 kg of waste per inhabitant per day, as we do in Brazil. We are very responsible for this, both as citizens and as representatives of the companies in which we operate.”, said Cristovam Ferrara, Head of Social Responsibility at Rede Globo. According to him, Globo understands that both innovation and ESG must be composed of teams from across the organization so that there is commitment to the agendas and, for the commitment to be serious, it needs to be sealed with goals. Among Globo's commitments are the Social Impact of content, Diversity and Inclusion on and off screens, Employee Development and Well-being, Biodiversity and Environmental Awareness, Transparent and Responsible Governance and Education as a vector for transforming the country. 

Rodolfo Fücher, Chairman of the Board of ABES, spoke about the importance of correctly disposing of electronic equipment and the responsibility of associations in disseminating knowledge to companies. “Technology evolves very quickly and, consequently, devices become obsolete very quickly. We need to have a special look at the disposal of electronics”, he explained. The association joined the UN Global Compact Brazil Network, which aims to mobilize the business community in the adoption and promotion of good corporate practices, with a commitment to support 9 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through the Mobilization for the Reduction of Inequality and the An Ethical Company initiative. The Global Compact platform includes the monitoring of public commitments already disclosed by companies related to sustainability and the production of knowledge on progress towards the SDGs.    

Open Innovation and Corporate Ventures were discussed during the event, where Fernando Freitas, Research and Innovation Superintendent at Bradesco; Beatriz Claudino, Digital Transformation, Open Innovation and Innovation Projects at Suzano; and Cassio Spina, Leader of the ABES Startups Committee spoke about how the use of corporate capital can accelerate innovation in companies. “In practice, ambidexterity, that is, looking at the short term while gaining space for an eye on the future, in addition to disseminating and decentralizing innovation, so that all areas keep in mind the concepts of innovation and see , in practice, the results of innovation allow us to have disruptive proposals.”, said Beatriz Claudino.

Another topic was the next big wave of startups in which DeepTechs, CleanTechs, HealthTechs and AgTechs have changed the economy and solving big global problems. To debate this issue, ABES invited Mona Oliveira, Founder and co-CEO of BioLinker; Jorge Pacheco, Founder and CEO of STATE Innovation Center, Center for Innovation and Acceleration of Deep Tech Startups; Ana Zucato, CEO and founder of fintech Noh; and Eduardo Felipe Matias, Leader of the Startups Committee at ABES, who explained that “there is a need today to protect these companies and foster impactful businesses, which are for-profit, but also have a positive impact on society. Recent research shows that we have more than 70% of growth for this type of company in Brazil. The bigger the problem to be solved, the greater the chance of making money from it, so often companies that are looking for this have a technological base, conditions to scale the solution and can serve the investor in the short term or with the support of the State". 

Also this afternoon, mediated by Eduardo Paranhos, leader of the AI working group at ABES, Luke Gbedemah, English journalist, specialized in Artificial Intelligence and corporate responsibility at Tortoise Media; Ashley Casovan, Executive Director of the Responsible AI Institute; Diogo Costa, President of ENAP (National School of Public Administration); and Miriam Wimmer, Professor and Researcher spoke about the global perspectives and best practices of responsible AI. According to them, there is a worldwide consensus on the need for a regulatory debate on the subject and Brazil is taking part in this process. “Brazil has the opportunity to play a leading role in this debate, standing between European pessimism and North American optimism.”, highlighted the president of ENAP.

“Algorithms cannot fall in love, so there will never be an Artificial General Intelligence”, says Barry Smith during ABES congress

To build an Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), technology with an intelligence that is at least compatible with that of humans would be needed, which implies creating a mathematical model that would allow the prediction of behavior. As the human neurocognitive system is complex and therefore impossible to translate into mathematical models, it is not possible to create an emulation of human software. These are the reasons an AGI is impossible, according to Barry Smith, Director of the National Center for Ontological Research (NCOR) and a professor at the University of Buffalo. The author of “Why Machines Will Never Rule the World: Artificial Intelligence without Fear” is in Brazil to attend the ABES Conference 2022.

Smith explains why it is not possible to emulate human feelings and why AI will continue to be more efficient than humans along certain paths, such as pattern recognition, but will never be able to learn about prediction: “AI only works when there is a certain distribution and in simple systems where the prediction can be made via Newtonian mathematics and logic. We are a complex system, where there are new elements, forces, interactions all the time. Each of our 100 billion neurons is a complex system.”

As an example, Smith talks about online translation systems that don't understand the meaning of words. “If you translate something from English to Portuguese, from Portuguese to German and then to English again, there will be no semantics and the sentences will lose their meaning”, he summarized. According to him, these systems use 213 million parameters that will never be “explainable” and create simplified models of languages. “They do a good job, but they fail in front of a human translator, because there are many aspects of linguistics that are not conscious, they have many parameters and variations. The online translator works with what is static and not with cognitive semantics”, explained the professor during the opening of the ABES Conference 2022.

Following, Marc Etienne Ouimette, Global Lead, AWS AI Policy; Aline Oliveira Pezente, Co-founder and Chief of AI & Product Strategy at Traive; and Caio Guimarães, Partner of the Boston Consulting Group GAMMA (Artificial Intelligence division) talked about how they use active intelligence in decision making, the importance and results in ensuring people's data literacy and how to transform AI, Big Data results and Analytics in Actionable Business Intelligence. According to them, active intelligence is not just for large companies, but it is necessary to change culturally so that decisions are made based on data. And for that, hiring and training talent is essential for active intelligence to be real. 

The training, retention and attraction of professionals was also a highlight of the second roundtable, which discussed how to have an abundance of talent in a world without borders. For Eva Pereira – Alianças, Marketing e Legal da WOMCY (Women in Cybersecurity), focusing on diversity, equity and softskills can be the key to the growth of talent in a company. Izabel Branco, Vice-President of Human Resources at Totvs believes that in addition to technical skills and business vision, looking at what each one can deliver is essential: “Careers in Y are very important. It is necessary to know how to recognize a person who is technical and does not want to be a manager and, in addition, to recognize what is important for that role, not necessarily for that career”, he explained. On the other hand, David de Oliveira Lemes, Director of the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies at PUC-SP and Guilherme Neves Cavalieri, Academic Director of XP Educação defend that technical training combined with the development of soft skills should be a basic premise for the training of students in the technology.

The full event can be seen on ABES channel on Youtube.

About ABES           

ABES (Brazilian Association of Software Companies) aims to contribute to the construction of a more digital and less unequal Brazil, in which information technology plays a fundamental role in the democratization of knowledge and the creation of new opportunities for all. In this sense, it aims to ensure a business environment conducive to innovation, ethical, dynamic, sustainable and globally competitive, always in line with its mission to connect, guide, protect and develop the Brazilian information technology market.

Currently, ABES represents approximately 2 thousand companies, which total about 85% of the revenue of the software and services segment in Brazil, distributed in 24 Brazilian states and in the Federal District, responsible for the generation of more than 210 thousand direct jobs and an annual revenue of the order of R$ 80 billion in 2020.

Access the ABES Portal or speak to the Relationship Center: +55 (11) 2161-2833.

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