Fredi Vivas: “This census is historic and a great exercise in collective self-knowledge”

Fredy Vivasan expert in artificial intelligence and big data, was interviewed in Fontevecchia mode by Radio Perfil (FM 101.9) and Net TV, and highlighted that the census is “historic”not only for presenting the possibility of doing it through a format digitalbut also because of the value it has for the public and private sectors, allowing us to have a “more real picture” of who we are.

Do information technology and the progress made in technology in the last 12 years allow a census to be used for something more or for something less? Because the data can already be in another form.

This census is historical and a great exercise of collective self-knowledge. It implies understanding what it can serve us for in the planning. Whether it is the private world or the public world that wants to understand something, it will allow them to have a real photo or at least a much more real one of what is happening throughout the country. Many organizations use the 2010 census variables. It is key to understand the evolution from 2010 to 2022 in population terms. In itself, the census is important either from the digital or face-to-face point of view, its classic modality. From 2010 to today there are a lot of changes in the technological world.

In 2010 we were just with the iPhone 4, the 4G tests had just started. With the pandemic in the middle, it will surely bring us the dilemma that the comparison with the previous census will not be the same, because the world has changed in general and we will see that reflected in the information that is going to be generated. More than 85% of Argentines are connected to Internet, according to official statistics. That makes it very logical that there is a digital alternative for the census to streamline processes and save costs.

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You were one of the scholarship recipients from Singularity, Google University and NASA. The country, from Spain, published a leak revealing that the search engine detected 178 billion times, in 2021, real-time sensitive data from users in the United States and Europe in order to sell personalized advertising; and that Google checks the geolocation 426 times and we only once every ten years. Is there a contrast there with the tools?

The comparison sounds unfair but they are different things because of the technology used Google and for the services you provide us. there is a lot of trust in this type of services and we know that it gives us daily added value. Imagine that you use Google Maps to find a restaurant where you want to eat, the service that Google gives you understanding the geographical position where you are is much better than if it did not have it. Google uses the data to give you a best quality service, makes many users decide to allow that type of access. In this case, it is important to understand possible uses.

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The census serves both from the public and private point of view. For example, from the public the census is key to defining public policies. For example, if you can understand how an area specifically evolved, if the number of children grew, I could make decisions on how to improve the infrastructure more intelligently.

In the world, data is being used to make these definitions more precise, as in the well-known smart cities, in which you can use data and see how many people circulate in a certain area to be able to determine if in that area you need to increase the frequency of public transport. Or it is likely that if the number of children increased in that area, you need one more school or a kindergarten. Or if there are people with a specific disability in this area, it can be determined that it is urgent to improve accessibility on the streets or make health decisions that may arise.

From a private point of view, the census data allows you to have more variables to characterize geographical areas. That is used all the time. If you want to set up a specific business, understanding the characteristics of the area where you are going to set up that business is important and it is even data that can be used to replace classic market research which are expensive and complex. They are open data that allow us to better understand specific situations and make better decisions.


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