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Francisco González: "The technological revolution will bring greater well-being, but the transition period creates uncertainty"

At the Atlantic Council in Washington DC, BBVA Group Executive Chairman Francisco González presented ‘The Age of Perplexity’ – the tenth installment of OpenMind’s book series, which explores the profound transformation brought about by the digital revolution. In his opinion, the combination of globalization and rapidly developing technology has led to an era of political and social change. This period is both the cause and effect of a state of deep uncertainty, which focuses primarily on the future of the economy and employment.

 

At the presentation of the book in Washington DC, BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman explained that we are currently experiencing an era of social and political change. This period is both the cause and effect of a state of deep uncertainty and anxiety affecting people. Globalization and rapid technological change have people concerned about the future of the economy and employment.

Although we may be living in challenging times, Francisco González defined himself as a “‘techno-optimist” – a firm believer “that the technological revolution will ultimately produce, in the medium term, greater well-being, growth and employment for all.” The transition period could be a difficult time for many, however.

In his opinion, it is vital to foster appropriate economic policies to accelerate this transition period and minimize its costs. One of these policies includes promoting the digital transformation of the financial system so that it contributes to greater and more inclusive growth. “A legal architecture needs to be built in order to guarantee that the well-being generated by new technologies reaches everybody,” Francisco González said.

Although this task could be too complex and risky for many, it also represents a huge opportunity for the financial sector, he maintained. “Exponential technologies have an enormous potential for transformation. We are already witnessing unprecedented, massive changes, but the future implications are almost unimaginable,” he noted.

Finally, he discussed BBVA’s role at the cutting edge of the global financial system. “There is still much to do. Technology changes constantly and competition is increasingly fierce, but we are contributing, through our daily work, to bring the age of opportunity to everyone.”

The new global (dis)order

‘The Age of Perplexity: Rethinking the World We Knew’ – the tenth installment of the OpenMind book series – is a collection of insights from more than 20 authors, leaders in different fields of knowledge, who explore the economic, political and societal challenges posed by the technological revolution and globalization. The book analyzes the challenges of the new world order, as well as the risks and questions raised by issues such as mass migration, climate concerns, populism, anti-establishment movements, authoritarianism, digital disruption, economic inequality and demographic change.

The book is part of the annual collection sponsored by OpenMind, BBVA’s digital knowledge community that provides a growing audience free access to books, articles, interviews, videos and infographics. “The Age of Perplexity” is available for download in Spanish and English in a variety of electronic formats.

Joining BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman at the book launch were Frederick Kempe, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Atlantic Council, and Charles Powell, Director of the Royal Institute Elcano. The event included two round table discussions with some of the authors included in the book. In the first roundtable, “The policy of discontent”, the authors shared their views on populism and its political, social and cultural consequences in the Western world. The second, “The new global (dis)order,” focused on identifying the key challenges to the new world order and comparing the different views of this new order, with a special focus on the role of Asia and Latin America.

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