Saturday, June 25

People’s time

We live exceptional moments that require exceptional responses. Nobody left us a manual on how to deal with a pandemic. Nobody prepared us to attend the greatest technological revolution in the history of mankind. We have to build the path because it is not laid out.

To build that path we need to remember who we are, where we come from and what we want to achieve. I’m 57 years old. I was born in Madrid in 1963 and throughout my life I have seen my country achieve incredible goals. The last forty years of Spain are, simply, the best in our history, now almost a hundred years old. During these years we have multiplied per capita GDP fourteen times; we have increased our population from 36.7 to 47.4 million people; we have reached 82 years of life expectancy (the third highest in the world); infant mortality stands at 2.7 per thousand births (one of the lowest); we have the third best healthcare system; we have almost tripled the number of cars and the number of passengers visiting our ports. And, if you will allow me, youWe have one of the best digital telecommunications networks in the world.We are one of the most supportive countries, outstanding leaders in organ donation and an undisputed reference in vaccination rates. Telefónica, the company that I have the honor to preside, has gone in just a few decades from being a medium-sized national operator to being a multinational with a presence in more than twenty countries and having more than one hundred thousand people. What took the United States 88 years and the United Kingdom 118 years, Spain has done in just four decades.

Things don’t just happen. None of this has happened by magic. The arrival of democracy in 1977 and the entry into Europe in 1985 changed our history. But there was something else. For the first time we started to use our full potential. The literacy rate went from 91 to 99 percent and the number of college students increased nine times. We have come this far because we understood that the future was built between all, without fear of moving forward, innovating to change for the better, to conserve and expand knowledge.

It is true that the emergence of a pandemic coincides with the greatest technological revolution. It is true that the era of Artificial Intelligence is going to change everything.

But it is equally true that we are well prepared. Our country comes out of the best forty years of its history. It is the first technological revolution that finds us at the forefront. Europe has taken a step forward in its project of integration and Next Generation EU funds offer us the opportunity to prepare for the next fifty years.

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The challenge remains enormous and it is up to us to imagine, design and build what we want to be, and build the bridges there. With confidence, decision and anticipation. It’s time for values ​​and not just technology. It is the time of the people. People are the great challenge. We are the people and not the machines who have to decide where this new and accelerated digital world turns where there is no longer an analog room to shelter in, and which presents the paradox of having to enter animatedly into a terrain full of opportunities and, at the same time , sto preserve many things that cannot and should not be digitized: a hug, a knowing look, a hand on the shoulder or a smile. It is the time of the people in the age of the algorithm.

It’s the perfect time to keep doing things together and remember that almost always we must dream the impossible before we can achieve it.

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