“With astronomy the eyes of the world are on Chile and the Coquimbo region”

“The future is full of opportunities and that is why we look at it with optimism,” those were the words of President Gabriel Boric to refer to the science, technology, knowledge and innovation agenda in his latest Public Account.

To address some of the most relevant projects for the Ministry, Diario El Día spoke with the minister of the portfolio, Aisén Etcheverry, who had on her agenda to visit the Coquimbo region, but unfortunately problems with the landing of the plane prevented her arrival. .

One of the objectives of his visit was to visit the Vera Rubin project facilities, installed on Cerro Pachón, which will house the largest camera in the world, with 3,200 megapixels, it will help researchers immerse themselves in the universe with unprecedented detail.

What does the installation of this camera mean for the development of astrophysics in the region?

“This camera is going to exist in the Vera Rubin observatory that is under construction, it is an enormous digital camera that has never been built, it weighs six tons, it is 10 meters in diameter, it also has a data collection spectrum that is very broad, it has an impressive technology, but it has something that is little talked about, which is that it is coming to revolutionize the way we do astronomy, because what this camera is going to achieve is to see a complete mapping of the sky and in a collaborative way we are working with other observatories to be able to identify where anomalies occur or are seen that are then studied in depth by other instruments. These capabilities show how technology and scientific knowledge go hand in hand. Astronomers pose a scientific question, technology builds the tools that allow us to answer that question and as new questions and new technologies emerge. I think it is evident in a very good way with this camera and what is talked about is the role that Chile has as a fundamental actor in astronomical development, but also the role that science has in pushing the limits possible in the technological field. .

As a country and as a region we have been able to carry out this relationship seriously for many years and it is the combination of these geographical, social, economic factors and the capabilities and talent of our researchers that allows us to have this position. of global leadership with astronomy, the eyes of the world are on Chile and the Coquimbo region and that is something we should be proud of.”


In his public account the president referred to the science, technology, knowledge and innovation agenda. What are the main axes on which the Ministry is working?

“The Ministry has three main axes, which have to do first with the strengthening of our science and technology system, We have very good universities, internationally renowned researchers in all areas of knowledge, but it is still small. We invest 0.36% of GDP in R&D and that is something that we have to reverse. That is why, along with identifying financing models or structures that can be improved, how we work to improve the working conditions of professionals, to keep all areas of knowledge covered and to increase the participation of women, are part of our diary. In that logic, when it points out that a significant percentage of lithium resources are going to go to science, technology and innovation, they point precisely to that, to that demand.

The second pillar has to do with technological development, science works hand in hand with technology and in Chile very good technology is made and that allows us to be at the forefront in topics such as artificial intelligence, quantum technology and it was also part of the public account, from what interests citizens, which is how we make technology benefit the well-being of Chileans and that is why the advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI)

And finally, in terms of scientific dissemination, we need a culture around science to exist, for us to understand and feel proud that Chile is a country of science and technology.”


-What are the scope of the AI ​​bill?

“The project is already in process. It is a project that we worked on with many inputs that helped us in the process. The project seeks to take charge of the risks that AI has today and at the same time promote innovation and for this tool to be used as a co-pilot that helps the development of the country and not against the well-being of Chileans.

The project establishes a risk categorization, there are uses of AI that are unacceptable, high risk, medium risk and some without any risk. Depending on the category, different obligations are established, such as transparency, cybersecurity, and having data policies. In addition, the project considers the creation of institutions, powers are given to the future Data Protection Agency, a permanent advisory committee on artificial intelligence is created and tools are also provided so that all public services that want to promote the use of “This technology can be done in controlled test spaces that help and facilitate innovation processes in this area.”

-Although Chile is making progress in terms of Artificial Intelligence, how is work protected in some professions?

“That has to do with the actions of the State and that is why the mission behind technological development is so important. One can not intervene and let the technology develop and be used as it happens. But, when as a Government we identify, for example, there is potential to increase the productivity of workers, reconciling work and family life, these are opportunities that we want to take. When we see that the use of AI can generate concern in educational models or even in parents, we are concerned about providing schools with tools to address this issue. This is the way in which the state helps and guides a little in how this technology is incorporated into the different tasks in a positive way and that helps us advance in development.”

Cases such as what happened in an establishment where students created images of naked classmates using AI and made them viral. How to work on regulating its use in Chile and avoiding this type of situation?

“It is a very sad example, but it also allows us to explain how the law operates. One thing is the use itself, which in this case whether it is done with AI or some other platform does not change the seriousness of the matter, and another thing is the developers of the technology. The bill refers especially to the second case and how, without creating parallel rules or a set of rules that replace the regulation that exists today in matters of civil, criminal or administrative liability, what it does is place responsibility on those develop or implement these technologies to ensure that some uses are not available and in the case of AI tools that allow these ‘deepfakes’ of sexual content to be made, in the case of the bill, it is a use declared as inadmissible, unacceptable and therefore that technology provider would have a penalty that could even reach 20 thousand UTM.”


-At what stage is the technology and knowledge transfer project and what are its main objectives?

“It is a project that seeks to facilitate the use of available knowledge and does so in three ways. The first is by eliminating all the obstacles that exist today so that both researchers and universities can relate more fluidly with the private sector. Today, if a researcher from a State university also wants to collaborate with a company, he or she has to choose one, when in reality what we should be able to do is allow that person to be in both places in order to facilitate that conversation and so that there is more research. and development in the company and more links from the industry to the university. Even when a university develops a patent, we must allow this university to commercialize it and make it available to the market so that it can be transformed into new products.

The second thing is that there is a lot of knowledge, which is financed with public funds that is not necessarily protected by a patent and in those cases this obligation of the State is created to manage that knowledge and make it available so that everyone can use it and that in that way way the country advances hand in hand with knowledge.

And finally, it also defines the activity of research as a permanent activity of universities in connection with society and connected to the needs of the country and that is something that was not incorporated in our regulation until now and we wanted to put it in, because universities are the main place of generation of new knowledge and that must be highlighted.”

-How is the work you do with the universities in the region?

“We work permanently with universities throughout the region. In fact, part of the reason for the visit to the University of La Serena had to do with learning about everything they have developed in the area of ​​mining, chemistry, but above all in the field of physics and the topics of astronomy. The State universities are essential in regional development and the University of La Serena has done a lot there.”

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