At the moment, the largest cab company in the world has no cabs: Uber. Similarly, the largest lodging company, an aspect that should be of interest to countries like Guatemala and Costa Rica, where a significant percentage of their gross domestic product (GDP) is tourism, has no real estate: Airbnb.

To top it off, the largest telephone company has no infrastructure: Skype, and the largest department store has no inventory: Amazon. The largest bank, and this should be on the radar of Panama's financial sector, has no money and no branches. Paypal.

This is the world we live in, a digital world, as defined by Ignacio Hernández Medrano, a neurologist and winner of the NASA-Silicon Valley Innovation Award, who predicts the future or at least has enough elements to know where the world of technology may be moving.

For him, the big trends that will change our reality as we know it are: genetics, artificial intelligence and robotics, big data and predictive analytics, printing of any material and social networks.

Some of these advances we see as still a long way from our daily lives, but they are happening right now and will define the future, according to the expert.

"There are more than 600 products that can already be 3D printed. Food is what will revolutionize gastronomy, fabric will revolutionize fashion, prosthetics, which is considered a very important step in biotechnology, will make a difference, since they are becoming so perfect that when they were put on an athlete they didn't know whether to let him participate in competitions because he ran faster than a normal runner," Hernandez explains.

We are in a world where through technology we are going to start improving human capabilities, because today they are legs, but tomorrow they can become memories, since this is being developed; for example, today we are working on human memory transplants.

We see big data, or the ability to predict things, almost every day, but an example of this is what happened at the World Cup Brazil 2014. Germany, who came out on top of the competition, used big data to be more competitive. The team partnered with software company SAP to create a match insights tool. This tool analyzed thousands of videos with player positions, strategies and more.

But it is not only in sports that it is being implemented. The Berlin police are also using all this information to predict where crimes are occurring and anticipate them by putting officers in those areas.

Love is not far behind. Asians are increasingly using the services of online companies to find a partner. In India, 60% of marriages are online, they work because they choose a partner better than we do. Big data goes beyond whether they are brunettes or tall, it observes what you put in Google, what time you get up, where you go and even if you have a mole on your face, because it scans Facebook photos.

In Latin American realities, the introduction of all this technology will also be rapid due to exponentiality. "Cognitive centers we incorporate them so fast into our culture that we actually obviate them and it seems that they have not arrived, but in reality it is that we are thinking about what is coming in the future."

One of the examples is the incorporation of Uber, Whatsapp, Internet, technologies that we have assimilated so easily that we do not take time to reflect on how they have changed our lives.

But many of these trends also let us see that the world is moving away from producing things to digitizing them. "We are very close to having a demand for automated cars, 3D printers, but also to owning less and renting more, as in Netflix, Spotify," says the scientist.

But how do you deal with this? According to Hernández, with social and ethical debate. One of the main challenges for Central America is to be prepared for it, because all the people who are thinking about this agree that the current generation will be key for the future.


Excerpt from the article published by Forbes Centroamérica magazine, Volume II - Number 28.