Chile y las Industrias del Futuro | Arturo Herrera Sapunar | Pulse | LinkedIn

Chile y las Industrias del Futuro

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La semana pasada quedamos asombrados con el hackeo masivo a una serie de grandes corporaciones alrededor del mundo. Este es sólo un ejemplo de cómo la tecnología está cambiando radicalmente aspectos de nuestra vida cotidiana. Como país debemos tomar acción y anticiparnos hacia donde se moverá el mundo en las próximas décadas con respecto al desarrollo, adopción y uso de tecnologías emergentes. En este sentido, nuestra visión de los últimos 20 años de desarrollo de clústeres, beneficiosa para el surgimiento y potenciamiento de nuevas industrias como por ejemplo la industria del salmón, ya no es suficiente. En esta nueva era digital, lo importante es el conocimiento y el talento emprendedor para aprovechar a nuestro favor tecnologías como la robótica, inteligencia artificial, big data, IoT, biotecnología y también de las energías limpias. Éstas cambiarán el mundo como hoy lo conocemos, muy pronto.

Hoy, gracias a la adopción a gran escala de este tipo de tecnologías, se puede observar como en Estados Unidos está ocurriendo un desacople entre dos variables que siempre estuvieron fuertemente correlacionadas: productividad y empleo. Desde el año 2000 la productividad crece a una tasa mayor que el número de personas empleadas, lo que indica que se está obteniendo una mayor productividad con menos gente empleada. Desde 1970 la productividad total en Estados Unidos ha aumentado más de un 130%. Sin embargo, los ingresos promedio por hora de trabajo han aumentado sólo un 15%. Es decir, este aumento en productividad no necesariamente se ha traducido en un mejor ingreso para las personas. ¿Quién está capturando estos beneficios? Por una parte las empresas que han mejorado sistemáticamente sus resultados, los proveedores de tecnologías que están siendo incorporadas a gran escala en diferentes industrias y, por supuesto, los países productores de este tipo de activos a través de impuestos. Sin ir más lejos en agosto del año pasado Adidas confirmó la apertura de una nueva planta en Estados Unidos 100% operada por robots (una planta similar ya está en operación en Alemania). Esto parece ser una tendencia sin vuelta atrás.

La gran paradoja detrás de esto es que las maquinas no consumen. Por lo tanto, cada puesto de trabajo reemplazado por una máquina, o un algoritmo, implica un consumidor menos, lo que en el largo plazo puede traer consecuencias insospechadas para una economía en vías de desarrollo como la nuestra, debido a que existen muchas dudas de que seamos capaces de crear nuevos puestos de trabajo con la misma velocidad con la que éstos desaparecen. Países como Noruega y Suecia ya están incorporando en sus políticas avanzar hacia una jornada laboral de 6 horas/día y en crear un salario mínimo universal que permita subsistir a las personas que quedarán fuera del mercado laboral. ¿Cómo van a financiar esto? Puede parecer simplista, pero lo más probable es que con los impuestos que paguen empresas de base tecnológica que van a ofrecer sus productos y servicios a todo el mundo.

Los países que no tengan “la suerte” de tener una industria tecnológica pujante y global no contarán con los recursos necesarios para dar sostenibilidad a su actual modelo económico.

Uno de los mejores ejemplos de la definición de dónde un país quiere estar en el futuro es Estonia. Este pequeño país de poco más de 1.4 millones de habitantes quedó, con el fin de la Unión Soviética, desprotegido pero independiente desde 1991 y con un PIB per cápita de poco más de 72 euros. 26 años después, ese indicador está por sobre los 15.900 euros. ¿Cómo? Hace 20 años Estonia se hizo el propósito de conectar al país con una de las industrias del futuro, en este caso Internet, con el fin de transformarse en la primera ‘e-society’ del planeta. Fue su estrategia de desarrollo. Desde los años 90 comenzaron con la política de instalar computadores y conectar a Internet a todos los colegios del país. Desde los primeros años de estudio se les enseña a los niños a programar, formación que es clave en el programa educativo de cada colegio. A principios del siglo XXI fueron el primer país del mundo en declarar el acceso a Internet como un derecho básico universal. Hoy no parece simple suerte o coincidencia que Estonia tenga el récord de ser el país con más startups por persona. Ahí nació Skype, una de las mayores disrupciones globales en comunicaciones. Todo el desarrollo técnico de la solución fue creado por 3 estonios: Priit Kasesalu, Ahti Heinla y Jaan Tallinn. Skype se vendió a Microsoft en 2011 por más de US$8.500 millones. Los 3 reinvirtieron lo ganado en esa venta en el ecosistema de emprendimiento de Estonia, generando una oleada de nuevas empresas de base tecnológica. Esto es sólo el comienzo, pues meses atrás el país lanzó el programa ‘e-resident’, invitando a emprendedores de todo el mundo a crear y gestionar sus empresas “desde Estonia”, por supuesto tributando ahí.

Este es solo un ejemplo de cómo una visión y estrategia de largo plazo puede redefinir el futuro de un país. Tal como hicieron los estonios, es estratégico definir en qué vamos a ser relevantes, dónde enfocaremos nuestros esfuerzos y nuestras políticas públicas en las próximas 2 décadas. La avalancha de tecnologías emergentes ha abierto un mundo de oportunidades que otros ya están tomando. ¿Qué haremos nosotros?

Columna originalmente publicada en El Mercurio // Lunes 22 de mayo de 2017

Forrester’s Top Emerging Technologies To Watch: 2017-2021

Think back just a few years — social, mobile, cloud, and big data ruled the emerging technology landscape. Business and technology management executives wondered what big data meant, when the cloud would disrupt their companies, and how to engage effectively on social channels. In 2016, Hadoop turned 10, the cloud has been around even longer, and social has become a way of business and life. So what’s next?

As a refresh to my 2014 blog and report, here are the next 15 emerging technologies Forrester thinks you need to follow closely. We organize this year’s list into three groups — systems of engagement technologies will help you become customer-led, systems of insight technologies will help you become insights-driven, and supporting technologies will help you become fast and connected.

Why these 15? You might have noticed a few glaring omissions. Certainly blockchain has garnered a lot of attention; and 3D printing is on most of our competitors’ lists. The answer goes back to being customer led, insights driven, fast, and connected. Those of you that follow our research will recognize these as the four principles of customer obsessed operations. The technologies we selected will have the biggest impact on your ability to win, serve and retain customers whose expectations of service through technology are only going up. Furthermore, our list focuses on those technologies that will have the biggest business impact in the next five years. We think blockchain’s big impact outside of financial services, for example, is further out so it didn’t make our list, even though it is important. Maybe by 2018, when I update our list next.

Since I don’t have room here for details about all of our technologies, I’ll focus on five that we think have the potential to change the world. That’s ⅓ of our list by the way – which means a lot of change is coming; it’s time to make your technology bets.

  • IoT software and solutions bring customer engagement potential within reach. Theses software platforms and solutions act as a bridge between highly specialized sensor, actuator, compute, and networking technology for real-world objects and related business software. This technology gives firms visibility into and control of customer and operational realities. By 2021, technology for specific use cases will be mature, but protocol diversity, immature standards and the need for organizational changes will still stymie or delay many firms. Want more info? Schedule an inquiry wtih my colleauge Frank E. Gillette.
  • Intelligent agents coupled with AI/cogntive technologies will automate engagement and solve tasks. Intelligent agents represent a set of AI-powered solutions that understand users’ behavior and are discerning enough to interpret needs and make decisions on their behalf. By 2021, we think that automation, supported by intelligent software agents drivng by an evolution in AI and cogntive technology will have eliminated an net 6% of US jobs. But the loss won’t be uniform. There will be an 11% loss of jobs that are vulnerable and a 5% creation of jobs in industries that stand to benefit. Want more info? Schedule an inquiry with Craig Le Clair on AI in the workforce or my colleague Jennifer Wise on intelligent agents.
  • Augmented reality overlays digital information and experiences on the physical world using combinations of cameras and displays. While we cover both VR and AR, we find that while a lot of attention has been placed on VR, AR has more play, for enteprises in the short term and eventually for consumers as well. By 2021, we will be fully into a transition period between separated and tightly blended physical and digital experiences in our work and lives. Want more info? Schedule an inquiry with my colleague J.P. Gownder.
  • Hybrid wireless technology will eventually ereate connected cverything. Hybrid wireless technologies are the interfaces and software that allow devices to simultaneously leverage and translate between two or more different wireless providers, protocols, and frequency bands, such as light, radio, Wi-Fi, cellular, and Sigfox. By 2021, a virtual network infrastructure will emerge to weave together wireless technologies that globally connect IoT and customer engagement platforms. Want more info? Schedule an inquiry with my colleague Andre Kindness.

To go deeper, listen to Forrester’s What It Means podcast episode: The New Tech Revolution, or if you are a client, please read the report. Lastly, I want say thank you and acknowledge all of the great analysts that helped with this report. Too many to name, but here are a few (check out their blogs!) – Frank Gillette, JP Gownder, Rusty Warner, Ted Schadler, Dave Bartoletti, Andre Kindness, Jeff Pollard, Fatemeh Khatibloo, John Rymer, Brendan Witcher, Dan Bieler, Michael Facemire, Rowan Curran, Noel Yuhanna, and Tina Moffett.

Los títulos universitarios están dejando de tener valor en Silicon Valley y este es el motivo | Foro Económico Mundial

The Apple Campus 2 is seen under construction in Cupertino, California in this aerial photo taken April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Noah Berger - RTSE2L7

Los gigantes de Silicon Valley están contratando a gente que no tiene estudios universitarios, cada día es más habitual. No es sorprendente, pensaréis. Todos hemos escuchado como Bill Gates dejó la Universidad de Harvard para fundar Microsoft o como Steve Jobs solo pasó seis meses en el Reed College. También Serguéi Brin y Larry Page dejaron Stanford para lanzarse a construir “el buscador universal”.

El mundo tecnológico lleva décadas cultivando la idea de que “la universidad y el genio creativo no se llevan bien”, pero si nos fijamos en los trabajadores de esas grandes compañías, nos daremos cuenta de que la inmensa mayoría salió de una universidad de élite. Eso es algo que ha empezado a cambiar.

El talento está ahí fuera

Cale Guthrie Weissman acaba de publicar un reportaje en Fast Company sobre este tema. Sobre como las empresas están empezando a dejar de mirar los expedientes y están empezando a fijarse, esta vez de verdad, en las habilidades. “Hemos tenido mucho éxito en los Bootcamps”, explicaba Sam Ladah de IBM. Llevan años haciéndolo.

Leyéndolo, uno no deja de preguntarse si la famosa escena de La Red Social en la que Zuckerberg contrataba a programadores usando una competición de código, alcohol y velocidad reflejaba en algo el mundo tecnológico o era parte de la mitología startupil. Al fin y al cabo, escoger a los desarrolladores más versátiles del MIT no es precisamente “pensar fuera de la caja“.

Es verdad que el mundo tecnológico tiene unas características particulares en las que las habilidades personales y los recursos que hay disponibles hacen que un título no marque la diferencia. Por eso no es raro que empresas como Github, Intel o, incluso, la Casa Blanca han iniciado programas para buscar esas ‘habilidades personales’.

Intel, por ejemplo, tiene dos programas para esto: un programa de becas para estudiantes de instituto o que cursan los primeros años de la Universidad; y un programa llamado CODE 2040especialmente enfocado en minorías subrepresentadas.

La tecnología frente al espejo

Esa quizá ha sido la lección más importante que ha aprendido la industria tecnológica en estos años: al mirarse al espejo se han dado cuenta que el relato que se contaban, la meritocracia disruptiva del talento y la creatividad, sencillamente no se corresponde con la realidad.

Sí, las grandes tecnológicas se han enfrentado a las políticas inmigratorias de Trump y han defendido a centenares de sus empleados internacionales. Pero aún así, aún con políticas explícitas hacia la diversidad, en IBM calculan que solo entre un 10 y un 15% de las nuevas contrataciones cumplen esos requisitos de diversidad.

¿Formar para el futuro…

Hace unos días, José Manuel Martínez, profesor de derecho en Harvard, explicaba su punto de vista sobre la educación universitaria. Más allá de frases manidas y clichés como “ninguna pregunta es estúpida”, Martínez decía que la formación universitaria está demasiado encasillada.

“Si uno se va al Nasdaq -el mercado de valores norteamericano- comprueba que el 75% de las empresas no existían hace 10 años. Los empleos del futuro no están claros y por eso la especialización por sí sola ya no sirve. Hacen falta perfiles muy transversales”, decía con (aparente) convencimiento.

Y es un nudo central: según una reciente estimación del Departamento de Trabajo de Estados Unidos dice que habrá al menos un millón de puestos de trabajo de programación y desarrollo sin cubrir en 2020.

…o señalizar para el presente?

Yo, en cambio, no creo que sea un problema de contenidos. Si nos fijamos con detalle en los grandes mitos tecnológicos, la idea de que “la universidad (o la formación) es una pérdida de tiempo” solo se puede sostener con muchos problemas. Gates estudió en algunas de las mejores escuelas de Estados Unidos, Jobs fue miembro del Hewlett-Packard Explorer Club desde los 12 años; tanto los fundadores de Google como los de Facebook tenían un talento natural que, bueno, fue pulido en algunas de las mejores universidades del mundo.

No es un problema de contenidos (que también) sino, sobre todo, es un problema de señalización. Tradicionalmente, las universidades han sido un sistema para señalizar gente, a la “gente adecuada”. “Adecuada” para el tiempo, la sociedad y el equilibrio político de cada momento. Un concepto de lo adecuado que, muchas veces, choca frontalmente con nuestro sentido de lo adecuado.

Es decir, nunca fue capaz de señalizar a todos, pero ahora que vemos que el mundo es mucho más plural, diverso y dinámico que antes; ahora se hace mucho más evidente. Más aún cuando los problemas del sistema universitario norteamericano parecen una bomba a punto de explotar.

Pero por muy evidente que sea el problema, cambiar no es sencillo. Weissman lo explica en Fast Company, la industria de la tecnología está combatiendo duramente para atajar sus problemas de homogeneidad cultural y de género. El problema es que es parte de un bucle que, por su mismo funcionamiento, deja fuera un talento que solo ahora han comenzado a ver.

¿Se puede salir del mundo que uno mismo ha construido?

Parece cierto que Silicon Valley está contratando fuera de los círculos habituales, están buscando a gente que no cumple los estándares tradicionales de formación de alto nivel, está intentando salir de la burbuja que ellos mismos han creado.

Pero lo que se lee entre líneas, es algo más interesante y, quizá, perturbador. Que, entre tanta retórica y tanta actitud positiva, no hay certezas, solo una duda. Una duda que se recorre los departamentos de recursos humanos del “centro del mundo tecnológico”: si ese cambio será posible.

Chatbots for customer service will help businesses save $8 billion per year – IBM Watson

Posted in: Cognitive Enterprise, Customer Engagement, News, Trends

Chatbots for customer service will help businesses save $8 billion per year

businesses-save-$8-billion-per-year

A new study releases this week by UK-based Juniper Research supports our prediction that chatbots will redefine the customer service industry, with healthcare and banking industries expected to benefit the most.

The new report titled “Chatbots: Retail, eCommerce, Banking & Healthcare 2017-2022,” estimates that chatbots will help businesses save more than $8 billion per year by 2022, which is a huge increase from the $20 million estimated for this year.

Call centers and customer service departments should already be investing in these new conversational technologies if they want to stay competitive and cost-effective as companies across industries grow their investment in building chatbots to help service customers faster, across any channel, device or platform, 24×7.

Advancements in technology continue to transform customer service interactions. From improvements in loyalty and brand reputation to new revenue streams, the pathway to real-time self-service in customer service brings huge opportunities to forward-thinking businesses.

Juniper also forecasts that the success rate of bot interactions in healthcare sector, completed without the assistance of a human agent, will increase from the current 12% to over 75% in 2022. In banking, Juniper expects this to climb to 90% in 2022.

Banks & Healthcare Providers to Profit

Juniper Research’s report estimates significant savings in the healthcare and banking as customer service resolution times are reduced at a much lower cost than before.

The report predicts that healthcare and banking providers using bots can see time savings of about 4 minutes per customer query, which can help save an average of $0.50-$0.70 per interaction.

Juniper found that chat bots are especially great for healthcare diagnosis questions where bots assess health issues and recommend a course of action to users. As these new technologies continue to evolve they are expected to help with more sophisticated diagnostics like mental health analysis.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 2.27.49 PM

[Infographic source: Juniper Research “Chatbots Infographic – Key Statistics 2017”]

Rise of new types of bots

The report also touches upon the less popular SMS chatbots, which don’t generate as much in revenues as app-based bots, but offer an efficient tool for mass messaging at a low-cost. One example in the report is of how governments, for example, could use chatbots in times of emergency.

You can purchase the full report here.

Juniper Research specializes in identifying and appraising new high growth market sectors within the digital ecosystem. The firm is also offering a free whitepaper, “Chatbots – Critical To Businesses: Here’s Why,” that examines how companies can benefit from using chatbots to help with “traditional human-to-human operations.”

Build your own bot in minutes

Read our “How to build a chatbot” post to get started with your own bot in minutes.

 

Fuente: Chatbots for customer service will help businesses save $8 billion per year – IBM Watson

Five Highlights From Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report

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Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers general partner Mary Meeker unveiled her 2016 Internet Trends report on Wednesday. (Forbes)

At 213 slides, Mary Meeker’s anticipated annual “Internet Trends” report was a gold mine of data on everything from debt-to-GDP ratios by country to U.S. Internet advertising growth.

The Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers general partner unveiled her report on Wednesday at tech blog Recode’s Code Conference in Dana Point, Calif. While you can read the entire deck here, below are five trends from Meeker’s report that we found especially notable.

1.Slowing global Internet growth: Global Internet user growth was flat from 2014 to 2015 at 9% year-over-year, and down from more than 15% in 2009. Why? Meeker said it’s harder to acquire new Internet users globally now that such a high portion of people in developed countries are already online. Internet users in less developed countries are more challenging to gain because of the high cost of smartphones relative to people’s incomes. The cost of a smartphone, for example, is 15% of per capita income in Vietnam and 10% in Nigeria and India, a McKinsey study found. The notable growth anomaly is India, where Internet growth accelerated by 7%. This boost helped India surpass the U.S. to become the second largest user market, after China. The growth of global smartphone users is also slowing.

2.“Easy” economic growth is over: Global economic growth in six of the last eight years is below the 20-year average of 3.8% (from 1996 through 2015). Meeker says the cause is the decline of five of the biggest growth drivers of the past two decades: Slowing connectivity growth (Internet users have reached 3 billion, up from 35 million in 1995), falling GDP growth in emerging countries, rising government debt, plummeting interest rates and a global population that is aging and growing more slowly. The opportunity? Meeker said the slowdown creates opportunities for companies that create efficiency, add jobs, lower prices and innovate. By region, China and emerging Asia made up 63% of total real GDP growth and America, Europe and Japan together made up 29% of GDP growth.

3.The era of the image: Images are growing in importance and use, while text, and specifically textual search, are fading. Meeker said in five years, at least 50% of searches will be made through images or speech. The rise of images has a lot to do with users’ increasing use of smartphones for storytelling, sharing, messaging and creative expression. Advertising will naturally continue to be built into visual experiences through methods such as user-applied filters. Meeker says Generation Z (people age 1 to 20) will be known for their use of images. Video is becoming increasingly social (think live sports events.) And among social network users now, Facebook FB -0.52%, Snapchat and Instagram as the leading platforms for engaging millennials.

4.Messaging as the new mobile home screen: Over time, messaging apps could overtake the home screen on mobile devices. This is believable given that 80% of users’ mobile time is spent in three apps, and the average global mobile user accesses just 12 apps daily. The most commonly used apps in 2016 globally are Facebook, WhatsApp and Chrome. Messaging will shift from being simple social interactions to increasingly expressive over time and will include more and more business-related interactions. Meeker lists WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat as the current messaging leaders.

5.Rise of voice interfaces: Meeker said voice should become the most efficient form of computing input, largely because it is hands and vision-free. Voice lends itself to an “always on” way of life. Humans can speak 150 words per minute, for instance, but can type only 40 words per minute. The conversational aspect of the medium lends itself to personalized experiences with computers understanding context from previous questions the user has asked and the user’s location. While many voice recognition tools can be frustrating to use now, Meeker said when speech recognition reaches 99% accuracy, people will go from barely using the tool to using it all the time. Speech recognition accuracy rose from about 90% in 2016 from about 70% in 2010. And the use of voice has been risen noticeably. Google GOOGL +0.67% voice search queries, for example, are up 35 times since 2008. Sales of voice-based devices such as Amazon Echo could be just about to take off, compared to more text-dominated devices such as the iPhone, whose sales peaked in 2015.

Follow me on Twitter @kchaykowski and e-mail me at kchaykowski@forbes.com.

Fuente: Five Highlights From Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report

The Portals Project: This gold box is ‘better than Facebook’

The Portals Project: This gold box is ‘better than Facebook’

Los Angeles (CNN)Thousands of commuters buzz by it; dozens more see it from the Starbucks line less than 100 feet away. But only a few enter this gold box in the middle of downtown Los Angeles’ Grand Park.

“That was amazing,” Bernadine Harris said as she stepped out of the shipping container covered in gold paint.
Moments before, she was speaking live to an Iraqi refugee standing in front of her — on a large video screen.
The city of Los Angeles paid for the Portals Project for two weeks.

“What we’re seeing over here on the news, I had the opportunity of actually talking to someone who’s experiencing this,” Harris said.
And that’s the goal of the Portals Project, which connects parts of the world through a network of shipping containers outfitted with video conferencing equipment.
“To connect people who wouldn’t otherwise meet,” said Amar Bakshi, who started the project in 2014 with boxes connecting New York and Iran.
“This is a time when people see each other as ‘types’ too often,” Bakshi said. “This adds a level of depth that can break up those hardened narratives.”
It’s more than a glorified use of Skype, he pointed out. The floor-to-ceiling screen inside the dimly-lit container gives users the feeling they’re talking to someone in the same room.
A card on a message board next to the box reads “This is better than Facebook!”
Ari Saperstein agreed. He heard about the Portals Project and came from Hollywood to try it out.
This gold box is 'better than Facebook'

This gold box is ‘better than Facebook’ 01:27
“I know I’m at fault for not exposing myself to people who are different from me and have different points of view,” Saperstein said.
When he steps into the box, he introduces himself to a 19-year-old man named Rahmi, sitting in a portal inside a refugee camp in Irbil, Iraq.
“How did you learn English so well?” Ari asks.
“From going to school and listening to American music,” Rahmi says.
Ari’s face lights up: “Like what?”
“Rap, and Justin Bieber,” Rahmi replies.
It was a moment of culture shock for Ari. “I think I’ll go home and listen to a little Justin Bieber in a new light now.”
After nearly a half-hour, the conversation led to a potential friendship as the two exchanged Facebook and Instagram information.
“I was really grateful,” Ari said of his portal experience. “It helps you grow and talk to people who can share new experiences with you.”
There are 24 permanent portals around the world, from Afghanistan to Germany, Mexico to Milwaukee.
Bakshi said his group is getting calls from people all over the world wanting their own portals. The cost of the project is offset by payments from US and European locations that can afford the staff and technology — for instance, the city of Los Angeles, which paid to have the portal for two weeks this month. Money from those locations is used to set up free portals in underprivileged parts of the world.
In Irbil, for example, the Portals Project funds the portal with assistance from UNICEF, Bakshi said. It serves 2,000 refugees at the camp and has a full-time curator who can translate individual conversations and organize recurring events.
In all, the portals are available to 10,000 refugees in Irbil, Berlin, Gaza City and Amman, Jordan.
“We are working to expand to six more refugee sites this year,” Bakshi said. “There are plans to put one inside a prison … and outside of a hospital in Liberia.”
Bakshi says the idea came from his days as a foreign journalist. When he returned to the United States and left journalism, he realized he missed the conversations he once had with strangers all over the world.
The portals have been to many cities and countries. This one is at the University of Maryland.

Then his grandmother told him she always regretted never re-engaging with the Pakistani homeland she fled in 1947.
“Even though the technology is at our fingertips there was no moment with which she could have just walked in, shared tea and just re-engaged a country she had fled all those years later,” Bakshi said.
She died in 2014. That same year, Bakshi started the Portals Project.
The shipping containers themselves have evolved from clunky spaces to house technology to near-empty boxes with only a screen on the wall. The leftover space allowed musicians and artists to enter the portals to share their work.
“We have people making a rap album in 15 countries, now being produced out of Milwaukee,” Bakshi said. “And kids in Mexico City have regular classes with kids in Burma.”
Milwaukee is one of four permanent locations in the United States (Baltimore, Chicago and Brooklyn are the others), with temporary installations coming to Detroit in May and San Francisco in June.
In Los Angeles, city officials said the two-week run there attracted them because it tapped into the global makeup of the city.
“Normally we’re connecting Angelenos to other Angelenos,” said Julia Diamond, Grand Park’s director of programming. “But this was a way to connect them to the world.”
Bernadine Harris was one of the first Angelenos to use the portal. As she wrapped up her conversation with an Iraqi refugee, she was determined to make a difference through her words.
“I told him, ‘God or Allah is good’,” she said. “‘You’re in our prayers and know that we’re concerned about you.'”
It appeared to work, she said. “He was smiling and jubilant and said ‘thank you so much.'”