50 speakers, 10 panels and 9 hours of debate are a lot of work. National and international leaders left their mark in an event in which he spoke of many things and gave voice to all kinds of positions, but in which there were more coincidences than discrepancies. From different approaches, each of the experts presented their views on the major issues of concern to the technology sector. And although we cannot speak of agreements because we are not trying to design a programmatic document, we can draw some of the main ideas or trends that the great majority of the sector agrees on. These are some of the conclusions that can be drawn from DigitalEs Summit 2018.
1. Technology will not destroy jobs
Never has so much employment been created as in recent years. It is true that jobs will be destroyed, but it is also true that new jobs will be created that will require high qualifications. According to data presented at the Congress, by the year 2030 in Spain, 23% of the working hours performed today will be replaceable, which should result in a higher quality of life. The major challenges facing the sector are to avoid precariousness, adapt labor regulations and provide society as a whole, young and old, with the appropriate training for these new jobs.
Representatives of the four national parties with the largest parliamentary representation agreed at the round table to affirm that the irruption of social networks has changed the way of doing politics. And although they highlighted as positive the fact that politicians can approach citizens «without filters», they also expressed their concern about the increase in Fake News, the abuse of emotional language and the lack of regulation in this regard.
3. It is a good time to create a start-up in Spain.
At the table dedicated to investment trends, the speakers agreed that the Spanish ecosystem is becoming increasingly attractive to international investors. Spain is, it was stated, the second favorite investment destination in Europe. Corporations need start-ups because they cannot generate innovation at the pace demanded by the market. And the speakers agreed on one premise: there is no bubble in the start-up world.
4. Empowering women’s talent is a priority.
The Secretary of State for the Digital Agenda, Francisco Polo, said: «empowering the talent of women is a strategic opportunity for Spain». In this sense, she assured that the State has to make a great country policy to build a start-up nation and transform Spain into a place that attracts women’s talent at an international level.
5. Same rules for all
This was one of the most recurring themes throughout the two days of debate. The need to harmonize legislation so that all stakeholders have to follow the same rules and there is no discrimination against any of them.
6. The importance of the learnability concept
We have to learn and unlearn from the cradle. Young people finishing their studies this year will have to retrain between 10 and 14 times in their working lives, which requires a very broad learning capacity. This is what is known as ‘learnability’, a concept that was very present in all the debates and which, as DigitalES CEO Alicia Richart reminded the audience at the closing ceremony, is based on the need to reform education and training.
7. Over-regulation hinders progress
In the opinion of many of the speakers, there is excessive regulation at the European level in many technological matters, which is aggravated by decision-making times, which some described as «anti-digital». In general terms, many of the participants demanded greater agility in the European regulation of matters concerning digitalization, in order to be able to compete with other countries that are leading this revolution, such as China or the USA.
8. Hypermobility requires networks
The rise of smartphones is now joined by the rise of wearables, and very soon by the rise of Internet of Things connected elements or the so-called connected cars. As Helena Herrero, president of HP Spain, said, «soon, instead of carrying our cell phones, we will be wearing our cell phones». All of this will require networks and necessitates investment in 5G, a revolution in itself that will be an enabler of other technologies.
9. Education as priority number 1
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, the president of DigitalES, Eduardo Serra, and practically all the speakers, from the opening to the closing, agreed on this point. All participants stressed the need to invest in training and talent to meet current and future needs for employment based on new skills and knowledge The technology sector is a sector with a strong unmet demand for jobs due to a lack of qualified candidates.