Microsoft Blockchain Webinar
Ambassador Jean Manes
Tuesday, April 8, 2018, 10:00 A.M., ILEA
Remarks by Ambassador Jean Manes at Microsoft Blockchain Webinar
April 8, 2018
* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish language text should be considered authoritative.
Good afternoon – I love seeing so many talented and ambitious young people, and it fills me with energy to be in this event with all of you.
Join me for a moment to remember what the latest technology was a few decades ago. This is a HW-28 teletype model. I know that now it does not look like much, but in 1950 it was considered very advanced technology. What’s more, it was so revolutionary that we used it in the State Department until the 1980s! And now there are people who do not even know how it works. And then we went to the first IBM, to Wang’s system, and to Apple computers that looked more or less the way you are.
Happily in recent years my organization has become better at keeping us up to date, and now we use technologies that reflect the changes that have occurred in the world. But these examples demonstrate something else, and that is that technology evolves exponentially.
Advances are happening faster and faster and the time gap between one technology and the next is getting shorter and shorter. And now we are here, working on something so new that most people do not know what it actually does, but we know that it has the potential to radically change the world in many areas, not just information technology.
And – I have to admit – this past week I went to search on twitter for a podcast about blockchain, to try and understand a little about what it really is. And I found several in English and I heard them not just once. I listened to them once, twice, three times, to try to understand what we are talking about.
Nowadays we would not even imagine using the same technology for 3 years, much less 30. It does not even cross our mind, because it’s not only technology that has changed, but also us as a society, and you know better than anyone else that the use of technology now is totally different from what it was ten years ago.
In 1760 the steam engine revolutionized the industry. And one hundred years later in 1870, there was a second industrial revolution with mass production. This revolution, by the way, is called the technological revolution. And then came the third revolution, the age of the internet, and it happened so fast that we barely even noticed.
In less than a generation, the internet completely revolutionized our concept of doing business, of interacting with people, of running a business. Just look at the amount of industries that were created with the internet: amazon, facebook, netflix. And the new jobs: programmers, web designers, social media managers, and blockchain designers.
I do not have to explain the impact of social networks for business, it is evident in digital marketing. I do not have to explain the impact that social networks have for politics, as it amplifies the visibility of important issues for the population.
This afternoon we are not here to talk about the third revolution, because in reality the world is on the verge of a fourth revolution. It is a moment that we can not let pass, because systems like Blockchain are going to drastically change the way we do business, the way in which as a society we interact with data and guarantee its security, the way in which we transmit and keep information.
There is a saying that goes: luck is something that happens when preparation meets opportunity. And you can be part of the preparation that El Salvador needs to take advantage of the opportunity in computing, and create your own luck.
The future depends on the actions that are taken now, preparing for education, exchanging knowledge and ideas, to be able to make the most of the opportunity when it is presented, and not be late for the party.
Because I have witnessed that Salvadorans have a lot to offer in technology, they have the potential to be pioneers. This year, in the entrepreneur student award, the winner was a young student from Don Bosco University and his team, with an Artificial Intelligence project. Moreover, four of the five finalists presented technology projects.
El Salvador has a lot to offer in this area, there is a lot of talent, and with technology it is worth dreaming, because technology has no limit, only those of imagination and ambition, and Salvadorans have much of both.
At the United States Embassy, we have called 2018 the Year of Innovation, and I hope that this event today will help cultivate innovative ways to do business in El Salvador tomorrow.
And to close: defy everything. Think different. Create the future.