Can Mexico develop an AI action Plan for 2030?

Author: Cristina Martínez

The 10th Mexican Congress on Artificial Intelligence (COMIA) took place from June 5-8th 2018 in Merida, Yucatan. The event was organized by the Mexican Artificial Intelligence Society (SMIA) in partnership with the Polytechnic University of Yucatán (UPY), the first public university in Mexico to be specialized in IT.

C Minds was invited to speak on the Artificial Intelligence in Mexico: 2030 Action Plan panel, together with representatives from IBM, CANIETI, SMIA, UPY and the State’s Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Higher Education (SIIES). The dialogue was moderated by Miguel Gonzalez, SMIA’s President. I had the opportunity to discuss the main findings of our report Towards an AI Strategy in Mexico: Harnessing the AI Revolution, commissioned by the UK Embassy Prosperity Fund and written in collaboration with Oxford Insights. I shared insights about the current status of the AI ecosystem in Mexico, as well as some of the policy recommendations provided to advance the AI agenda in the areas of governance, government and public services; capacity, skills, and education; R&D; Data and digital infrastructure; and ethics. I also highlighted the need to foster collaborations across sectors and spoke about the #IA2030 coalition, which we are leading as a means to follow through on our own recommendations. It is a multidisciplinary group of practitioners that seeks to inform a comprehensive AI Action Plan for Mexico in light of the political and social changes that are approaching.

Both Alberto Muñoz, President for CANIETI Southeast Region and Raul Godoy, Yucatan’s Minister of Research, Innovation, and Higher Education discussed an ambitious plan to establish an AI Center in line with the State’s Special Economic Zone, which is focused in the promotion of the development of the IT industry locally. This center would build upon the strengths of the State (its geostrategic position, connectivity, and pool of talent) to offer a unique approach to attract investment from the private sector. They are looking at AI Cells that connect experts and students with industry needs in projects that generate tailored solutions and added value, in parallel to a Fellowship program to attract global and national professionals and a career development plan for students to become highly specialized in AI. Gildardo Sánchez, UPY’s Dean, is a key partner of this project. He sees an urgent need to rethink the content of academic plans in order to meet the needs of the workforce of the future. Moreover, Leobardo Morales from Systems Hardware IBM Mexico explained how the company is also sharing online learning tools and open code for students to upskill for the digital age.