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Unprecedented Challenges, Significant Possibilities. Brazil

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Lioudmila Batourina – International Partnership Consultant, ABMES. [email protected]

Disconnection of the Chinese corporation Huawei from the Android system demonstrates the disintegration of the global technological world, and indeed the world in general, into competing blocks. But the key to leadership and competitiveness in the future world are “brains” and their derivative – technologies.

Resources have always played a pivotal role in politics. All wars were for resources. The welfare of countries is determined by the resources that they have. Only the resources themselves have changed. If before we were fighting for land, for gold, for oil, now we logically go into a period when the main resources are derived from the minds and abilities of people.

In the outgoing “global” world, innovations could be bought from developers, as Japan and China, for example, did. All Japanese electronics were born from American patents. But buying innovation becomes no longer possible. One can buy production with technology, as it is being done in Brazil. Though these technologies will be already slightly outdated. Soon no one will share with competitors their advanced discoveries, key products. The world is on the verge of technological war, and therefore for the minds. It is the war, because the struggle, apparently, will be without rules, and even without respect for decency.

We are witnessing the division of the world into techno-economic blocks, the essence of which is in technological dominance and control of the markets and in preventing adversaries into their critical infrastructure, as a guarantee of own invulnerability in the future war – cyberwar. Daily news from Anglo-Saxon research and academic institutes about closure of access to laboratories for researches from the “sensitive countries” fall as avalanche. Chinese counterpart lifts editorial and academic restrictions similarly. Their battle looks like the exchange of missiles, like the genesis of a new Cold War. To think that it won’t concern other countries is a blind mistake. They have an advantage of time but not much.

Let’s go back to Huawei. Why haven’t global companies defended it? Apparently, the gap with Huawei is in the interests of technology giants. The problem is that Chinese corporations, the same Huawei, even in the production of advanced chips, are gradually moving away from international dependence in high-tech industries. Therefore, it is a preemptive strike. “Cutting off” Huawei from the global markets in the long run works for the benefit of Apple and chip companies such as Intel, Google or Qualcomm and others. Although in a certain sense, this is also a loss for the global technologies, but there is a choice: either they continue to raise a competitor for themselves, who will leave them anyway, or they will strike such a blow that Huawei will cease to be their competitor.

Brazil is not a serious competitor in the technology field. Nevertheless until recently Brazil had its own Embraer, Brazilian scientists contributed a lot to science. Only the list of findings in medicine is impressive, for example, researches about zika, leukemia, cancer, diabetes, and mental illnesses done in USP, UFF, UFC, URPF, UNISP and others.

But, based on the experience of mankind, national scientific institutions associated with high technologies are likely to be closed institutions. Such closed institutions existed for a long time in many countries, including the US, Russia, China, and, most likely, will increase. To maintain such universities is only possible for governments that are aware of the role of higher education for the country.

Of course, it is difficult to imagine the closure of science at all, full technological independence is a myth. For any country, even as large as China or the United States, it is no longer possible to have technological and scientific reserves at the highest level in all areas.

So, the time must be used to reinforce the partnership. After all, without partners, Brazil, as well as the other ambitious countries, simply cannot do. The enormous costs of developing and building new infrastructure do not recoup on the market of 210 million people. To do this, you need to build a large technological alliance, share responsibility and costs.

In the future war of minds and for minds, the most important thing will be not to lose one’s intellectual resources. It’s not too late to invest in education, increase the number of invited foreign professors, providing them with comfortable conditions for scientific activities; it is still possible to double or triple projects with leading foreign scientific institutes, to encourage the participation of the national industry by creating joint scientific laboratories. The time dictates the need of strengthening education.

Unfortunately, the current political situation in Brazil is not very favorable for education. A lot of ink is spilled on how to replace one party by another. In order not to see off the departing train, Brazil will have to solve the problem of its intellectual and technological independence in an emergency mode. Otherwise, Brazil will get the role of the “second hand” store, or at best, a silent producer in a given corridor of allowed technologies.

 

 

 



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Master of Arts in Political Science, California State University Northridge. Twenty five years experience in executive functions at Brazilian colleges and universities. Writer, lecturer. and consultant is, presently, educational editor for Brazil Monitor