What do the new policies propose? • Workers

What do the new policies propose? • Workers
What do the new policies propose? • Workers

In its recent meeting, the Council of Ministers approved the policies for digital transformation, the Cuban digital agenda and the strategy for the development and use of artificial intelligence in the country.

These topics were discussed this Wednesday at the Round table with Mayra Arevich Marín, Minister of Communications; Armando Rodríguez Batista, digital transformation, the Cuban digital agenda and the strategy for the development and use of artificial intelligence, Minister of Communications; Armando Rodríguez Batista, vice minister of CITMA; Jorge Legañoa Alonso, vice president of the Institute of Information and Social Communication, and Alain Lamadrid Vallina, general director of Information, Communication and Informatization of the MES.

“Digital transformation is not a disruptive element, but rather it comes to consolidate the computerization of society that we have been promoting for years,” said Minister of Communications Mayra Arevich Marín.

He also referred to the importance of policies responding to the fundamental needs of the population, as one of the essential precepts of the country’s development plan.

“The Ministry of Communications plays a leading role in the digital transformation policy, although this is transversal to other spheres. A cultural change is imposed where various organizations and the people themselves must participate,” said Arevich Marín.

The ministry will coordinate eight strategic axes that involve, among others, the regulatory aspect, infrastructure, innovation, cybersecurity, digital content – in line with our culture and identity -, and connectivity and access, an axis that is enhanced since the beginning of computerization, with 7.8 million Cubans currently with mobile service.

“The policy indicates what we must do and the agenda explains how we will do it,” said the minister.

Likewise, he commented that this agenda has driving projects, such as government portals and online procedures and services, which advocate facilitating processes and transparency of information.

He also referred to other projects included in the agenda, such as the development of the bank’s infrastructure, digital citizenship, the comprehensive transformation of tax activity, digital health, the smart tourist destination, etc.

“The digital agenda is a living document, which will be developed and updated as practice and society itself demand,” said the minister.

Regarding the artificial intelligence strategy, he explained that it cannot be separated from the digital transformation policy, but, since its use implies risks and benefits, it is necessary to think early about the ways in which the country will develop and take advantage of it.

An inclusive policy

According to Armando Rodríguez Batista, Vice Minister of CITMA, Digital transformation is the most paradigmatic element to produce in the short term the leap in innovation to which Cuba aspires.

“It is a very complex issue, although we are clear that it is one of the technologies with the greatest capacity to implement the government system based on science and innovation. In fact, these issues went to the National Innovation Council on two occasions, where issues regarding financing or links to Industry 4.0 were discussed,” he assured.

According to Rodríguez Batista, this policy has a national character, but does not ignore the role of the municipality as an entity capable of promoting the digital transformation closest to its needs. In this sense, the importance of the social component as an indispensable part of achieving true transformation also gains value.

“The policy’s mission is to prepare the country on the main lines of research in which we must work, which has a direct impact on obtaining concrete results. It also works on the incubation of people, projects and centers capable of contributing to the achievement of our purposes,” he commented.

The vice minister of CITMA recognized that currently the institutions linked to the use of new technologies have grown significantly, while pointing out the existence of two national programs associated with these issues, as well as several with a sectoral and other territorial nature. Issues such as automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and telecommunications are gaining great vitality.

“The Ministry of Communications has played a key role, especially from its leadership, but without a doubt we have seen the greatest growth in the health sector. Thus, for example, we already have projects to use artificial intelligence in the calculation of the lenses to be used after cataract operations, or the creation of an information and technology system for Parkinson’s disease,” he explained.

Likewise, he pointed out the decisive role that universities such as CUJAE, UH or UCLV have in the development and leadership of projects linked to digital transformation.

“The policy has the mission of promoting an ecosystem that boosts innovation, while consolidating a network of research centers, ministries and entities around the digital transformation that is of great benefit to the country. Today every actor has the ability to innovate and receive benefits, which also allows us to exploit the reserves we have,” he said.

Universities as driving entities

As part of his intervention, Alain Lamadrid, general director of Information, Communication and Informatization of the Ministry of Higher Education, explained that the design of the policy and strategy for digital transformation and its implementation always had the support of the higher education institutions. studies.

According to him, there is a relationship here in two senses: how universities participate in the research process associated with digital transformation and how researchers are inserted into this system. On the other hand, he recognized the essential role of coordination with general education institutions.

“There is no digital transformation without cultural transformation, which implies not only the existence of policies linked to artificial intelligence, for example, but also support in training and generating capabilities to apply it,” he commented.

“Nothing arises from scratch and the work of institutions and training organizations lays the foundations so that we can talk about a policy and an agenda for digital transformation. Here the third improvement of education since its conception included the incorporation of new technologies in the training process.”

The official explained how an area like computing has two essential perspectives: one closely linked from an early age to basic tools and another that has to do with the generation of capabilities in programming, which contributes to logical thinking and computational development.

“Already in higher education we have careers such as computer engineering, computer science or automation and telecommunications that adopt these premises from the curricula. This is a strategy that runs through the entire training process and in which the new study plans also include territorial interests and the developments that appear along the way.”

Finally, Alain Lamadrid valued work on digital transformation as essential even at the postgraduate level, while reaffirming the value of digital skills both at the level of society and even managers. “It is essential to generate digital skills in those who must make decisions. This must be addressed with intentionality and to do so we must create mechanisms, models and frameworks for action and research.

The general director of Information, Communication and Informatization of the Ministry of Higher Education, stated that an alliance has been consolidated between the Ministry of Communication, higher education institutions and Etecsa to work on strengthening capacities.

“We cannot think about transforming and generating skills if we do not have telecommunications and processing infrastructure,” he noted.

Where there is no possibility of growth in infrastructure, he said, it will be necessary to look for options and work with policies, strategies and actions.

According to Lamadrid Vallina, access to infrastructure, services and digital resources is essential.

He mentioned projects that are being developed in Cuban universities, such as UH, UCI and Cujae, based on digital skills.

He stated that not only training spaces are key to generating skills and advancing digital transformation through education.

“We have to create other spaces. In this it is essential that different actors are articulated,” he stated.

Lamadrid Vallina highlighted international cooperation: “How, through international projects and alliances, we can access infrastructure and know how”.

Social communication and digital transformation

The vice president of the Institute of Information and Social Communication, Jorge Legañoa Alonso, stated that “digital transformation without education, without innovation or communication, is a purely technological policy, and does not respond to a society like ours.”

He explained that it makes no sense to talk about digital transformation and innovation if there is no content. “It’s the content that people are sharing and posting. In this century we have the characteristic that citizens are prosumers: they consume and produce digital content.”

Legañoa Alonso said that more and more connectivity is being provided to citizens and that more than eight million Cubans are connected to the internet, “but the question is, what content are they consuming and generating?”

According to the manager, in what is generated there is still an ethical bias in what must continue to be worked on.

“But how to generate content if it is not with education for communication, for digital transformation from science and innovation,” he said.

One of the main challenges that our country has, he assured, is the generation of content. “Because we are going to ensure that this citizen generates more ethical content, with more value, if we prepare and educate him, if we give him digital skills so that the cell phone is not only an instrument, but an ally.”

He called Picta, Apklis and ToDus achievements.

AI in Digital Transformation Policy

The Minister of Communications, Mayra Arevich Marín, recognized the role of the Central State Administration bodies, academia and civil society in the development of the Digital Transformation Policy.

He pointed out that artificial intelligence is identified within the policy. “Like the rest of the world, we need to know what our development is going to be like, it is a topic that is talked about a lot.”

He reported that the Ministry, rector of the Artificial Intelligence Strategy, will be assisted by a council.

“We are going to test each of the algorithms that we are developing,” said the minister.

He explained that AI has many ethical risks that “we cannot fall into and we are taking into account what internationally conforms to our principles, to the socialist model.”

Arevich Marín mentioned the challenge of putting youth at the center of the strategy.

“These young people are the ones who are going to make the digital transformation, the agenda and the artificial intelligence strategy a reality.”

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