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Francisco González: "Supporting education is of paramount importance"

BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman was in Barcelona to participate in the forum, ‘Education in the Digital Age’, organized by OpenMind and the Spanish daily newspaper La Vanguardia. During his participation, Francisco González stressed the importance of education and underscored the need for new policies and standards to foster the fulfillment of the significant opportunities of the digital age.

Catherine L’Ecuyer, educational researcher and associate on BBVA’s ‘Aprendemos Juntos’ initiative (Together We Learn) and Robin Shields, expert in higher education and one of OpenMind’s contributing authors also participated in the event. The forum in Barcelona was used to present the book, ‘The Age of Perplexity. Rethinking the World we Knew‘, the tenth book published by OpenMind, a non-profit project run by BBVA to spread knowledge and contribute to the debate about today’s big events.

In a conversation with Màrius Carol, head of La Vanguardia, Francisco González reflected on our immersion in the Fourth Industrial Revolution; a scientific and technological revolution that nonetheless, “is built on foundations that are essentially the same as those of the industrial age.”

BBVA’s chairman made a general appeal to political leaders to prioritize education, as it is “of paramount importance” for our ability to adapt to the digital revolution. “But not just education in the traditional sense, but also teaching innovation, supporting research, promoting the entrepreneurial spirit and change, not being afraid of the future.”

He affirmed that new professions are being created and education has to adapt to this new reality. He also advocated the adoption of new ways of working. “The digital transformation phenomenon has to be understood and responded to so that everyone comes out winning.”

Furthermore, he called for regulation to govern data ownership and its use. Regulation that would enable productivity improvements and better quality of life, while at the same time protecting individual rights and privacy

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BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman was in Barcelona to participate in the forum, Education in the Digital Age.

A techno-optimist

In the opinion of BBVA’s executive chairman, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is no different to its predecessors. “But, yes, it is the most accelerated in history,” he indicated, “given the speed of technological changes.” It is the speed of transformation that causes insecurity, which then becomes uncertainty and perplexity, especially in this transition phase.

He compared today’s revolution with the previous three. He asserted that they all originated with technological changes, and each brought “increased productivity and growth,” and ultimately, “better prosperity” for the people. For these reasons, Francisco González professes that he is “clearly a techno-optimist” convinced that once this transition has run its course, and thanks to its profound technological changes, we will enter a phase of high growth and better well-being for society as a whole.

BBVA’s Transformation

BBVA had foresight and early understanding of the challenges presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and therefore has dedicated more than a decade to the transformation process, aiming to become a digital company that has maximized technology for the good of its customers.

Francisco González stressed that the future of the banking sector lies in understanding “the importance of data” because data is what feeds artificial intelligence, which will be the key in the development of personalized solutions that respond to customer needs.  “Data will be what determines the winners and the losers,” he concluded.

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