Nicolás Fernández, executive director of the Encuentros del Futuro Foundation: “It is probable, that endemically, we will live with the virus for the next 20 or 30 years” – La Tercera

Just like its name, Future Congress focuses its efforts on a look to the future through science, research, technology and society. Its eleventh version, to be developed on January 17 to 21 onlineIt will precisely try to project how life is structured after the pandemic.

Organized by the Future Challenges Commission of the Senate and the Future Meetings Foundation (FEF), the current edition will have as its main axis the motto “Learn to Live Together”, where precisely contingent issues associated with the “new reality” that we face, which modified the way we communicate and face certain problems, as well as intelligence will be addressed. artificial or the crisis produced by climate change.

It will have 80 experts from 20 different countries, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, main adviser to the White House for the health crisis experienced by Covid-19, Gonzalo Moratorio, virologist who designed the Uruguayan response against Covid-19, Harald Zur Hausen, Nobel Prize in Medicine, German scientist and physician, who discovered the role of the human papillomavirus, and Ko Barret, expert on climate policy and vice chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC).

Nicolás Fernández, executive director of the Encuentros del Futuro Foundation, analyzes and details how will this edition 2022 of the largest scientific outreach event in the country.

– What news does this version of Congreso Futuro offer?

In relation to the last year, more than news and innovations, we try to maintain the good that had been done in the context of the pandemic. Any type of design with a more participatory dynamic is limited to the maximum. So, without wanting to do more, because the pandemic has not allowed it, everything is maintained digitally. Although there is a face-to-face study, it will not have an audience, only some of the exhibitors.

A great novelty is that we are using an artificial intelligence system, which helps us translate and dub in real time the talks of the exhibitors, from English to Spanish. The system recognizes the exhibitor’s voice and allows us to see the translation on the screen, and once it is finished, it is loaded on our website, and we add the dubbing, which is a robotic voice, but which is humanized with certain parameters.

– How do you face this version, still in a pandemic, and online? Is it a big challenge?

The challenge for us in this sense began last year in the X version because it was the first time that we did it 100% digitally. We have the advantage that it was not the first time we used streaming or video calling platforms, we have done so many years ago. In fact, from 2017 onwards, attendance is 95% digital.

More about Future Congress

– The event will feature four Nobel Laureates and Tedros Adhanom, director of the WHO, among others. Which guest particularly caught your eye for his scientific work?

There is a person with whom this happened, who is Gonzalo Moratorio, the Uruguayan scientist who was the one who designed the first PCR test to detect Covid-19. What was surprising for us was that when we found him, we realized that he was Uruguayan, which allows us to promote Latin American scientific research. The magazine Nature cataloged it as one of the ten great inventions of the year. In that sense it was interesting, and he will come to talk not only about how he did the test, but also about how the virus has mutated, and how the tests will be in the future. It is likely that, endemically, we will live with the virus for the next 20 or 30 years.

Gonzalo Moratorio.

– How many of the things that were initially considered the “future” are already part of the present?

I would say that at the technological level is where one sees more concrete questions. There are two important elements. One is the fact that many exhibitors and people who came to the Future Congress spoke about how life would unfold virtually. It is something that one understood, but did not imagine it so quickly. Today you can work by video call, which makes a question a reality that five years ago, not even ten, did not seem possible so quickly. Today it is part of everyday life. I did not think, for example, that older people could communicate through these means.

The other has to do with the development of artificial intelligence, which was a bit more distant, but today we have the possibility through a phone call and two questions, that in a few minutes we can determine the possibility that a person has Covid -19. The platform, which is called Scanbox and it belongs to the Merlin Research company, only by listening to the voice, you can make a forecast. That is artificial intelligence. Through thousands of conversations of people who had the virus, He understood the type of sequence and sound they generated, which allows the data to be captured and crossed.

The system is part of the Future Congress, all people, officials and exhibitors, will receive a daily call, asking or saying things such as: Count to ten in a certain way. You answer by phone and automatically at the end of the call you receive an email stating the percentage and probability you have of being infected. If it is higher than 75%, an alert is triggered and the health system is informed, and you have to do a PCR. It allows to test work teams and to date it keeps us with zero contagions to the team. Only one person, external, showed more than 75% and was indeed infected. The process studies the audiometry of the voice. It does not tell you if you are infected, it is a probability. It could be a technology that communes or other establishments and institutions could incorporate. It even manages to discriminate between flu symptoms and Covid-19.

– Considering the current scenario, how is the motto “Learning to live together” applied?

It is an invitation to reflect on the way in which we have to deal with short-term problems such as the pandemic. But the concept goes a little further, it does not remain only in the pandemic. For us it means the possibility in which we are today, which in our opinion, is a super deep change, which on the one hand is triggered by the pandemic, but on the other, there are also a series of additional phenomena, which have been creeping up on a long time, like the social outbreak, for example, or the Arab Spring elsewhere, which were not the product of the pandemic. They are phenomena that society has incubated, that they burst, and that invite us to think about how we relate, coexist and even love. These phenomena will determine not only our stay for the next few years, but it will be permanent.

We want to give thanks to the writer of this short article for this amazing web content

Nicolás Fernández, executive director of the Encuentros del Futuro Foundation: “It is probable, that endemically, we will live with the virus for the next 20 or 30 years” – La Tercera