Industry, government, and civil society stakeholders from Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Panama, the European Union, and the United States convened in Cartagena, Colombia, on April 26 for the roundtable discussion "Towards a Common AI and Cyber Vision in LATAM," hosted by the Digi Americas Alliance.

Participants discussed the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on cybersecurity and how the region should capitalize on new innovative opportunities while protecting themselves from enhanced threat actors. The discussions emphasized the essential need for public-private cooperation and laid out several objectives to help advance the region's resiliency and position in the cyber ecosystem.

1. Leverage and Invest in Innovative Artificial Intelligence Solutions:

  • Enhancing Cybersecurity: Attendees recognized that while advances in AI have heightened malicious threat activity, AI has also proved to be a valuable tool for enhancing cybersecurity defenses. AI can automate processes, identify system abnormalities faster, and improve information exchange practices.
  • Strategic Investment: Participants agreed that the region must continue to invest in AI to capitalize on these innovative opportunities.

2. Establish Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs):

  • Multi-Level ISACs: Participants highlighted the need to establish ISACs at regional, national, and sectoral levels to leverage AI capabilities and promote greater regional cohesion.
  • Community Building: Discussions underscored the necessity of building a community with shared values for emerging technology, which collaboration and information exchange can help facilitate.

3. Focus on Workforce Development:

  • Educational Partnerships: All event attendees agreed that Latin America cannot implement or benefit from these technology solutions without a workforce equipped with the necessary skills. Participants suggested that regional governments increase collaboration with academic institutions to help schools develop curriculums that reflect the latest technological advancements.
  • Skills-Based Hiring: Promoting a shift towards skills-based hiring and promoting online certification programs was highlighted as a path forward to attract more talent in the security and technology industries.

The event underscored the importance of building secure networks in Latin America to leverage technological innovations in real time. With the recent increase in malicious cyber activity in the region, cybersecurity resilience has proven to be a critical business differentiator. A continued focus on enhancing regional security will help LATAM maintain its foreign direct investment potential. Achieving these goals will only be possible with robust public-private partnerships.

The Latin American region can build a resilient cybersecurity framework by investing in AI, establishing ISACs, and focusing on workforce development. This strategic approach aims to bolster LATAM's position in the global cyber ecosystem, ensuring it remains competitive and secure in the face of evolving cyber threats.

Belisario Contreras & Alexis Steffaro

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