24 penguins stood behind the SABF three-feet cardboard letters, shirts all starched, to take the year’s inaugural picture. Once again, the SABF launched a new edition of the conference that saw thousands of brilliant students and hundreds of speakers walk its stages in its now nineteen years of history.
Very special. Yes, that is the word I heard most, I think. Special. After two years on a screen, we got the chance to see Rob Britton stand behind the podium and pass the microphone again. One hundred students from all around the globe made it to Buenos Aires to discuss the topics that are a priority to the world. Thirty speakers presented their ideas and their experience. Flags were exchanged. The community was there. The universe healed.
So when last December Lucila Bettiga picked up the mic to present the new SABF authorities, we knew it would not be with the shyness and caution of an uncertain future that it may have been in the two years past. Lucila, 2018 to 2020 ex-organizer, opened the SABF 2023 launch event with a welcome to the new team.
“It is amazing to see all these new faces. This is the best thing that can happen to me, seeing new people in this room. It means that the community is growing.”
Lucila then reminded us of the brilliant people that passed through this thing we call the SABF: incredible speakers that accompany us every year, like Diego Luzuriaga, Daniel Leslie, and Faustino Arias; amazing advisors like Rob Britton, Rick Dow, and Félix Peña; and brilliant participants and organizers that became leaders in their communities or went on to found billion-dollar start-ups.
Martina Souto and Iván Chayer, 2023 SABF Co-Directors, then presented Lucas Díaz, Co-Founder & COO at Mudafy —- a Y-Combinator accelerated start-up—, and an active member of the SABF community. He spoke of how the SABF shaped his career and of the value of accessing this community of people that are a single e-mail away.
“To me, the SABF was like a master’s degree in professional life.”
Martina and Iván then presented the rest of the team — the other 22 young students that decided to take on the challenge of organizing a three-day world-class conference that is free for all of its participants, relevant in its themes, and rich in its discussions.
Finally, the 2023 topics were announced. The edition will be titled A Matter of Trust:
Trust is an integral part of society and the functioning of any human organization. Trust systems create connections between individuals and organizations, which enables them to work together and achieve shared goals.
Under this concept, what would happen if these systems break apart? The rapid advancement of technology and the constant flow of information allows us to reconsider and transform the value we place on our relationships. In an increasingly digital world, where do we place our trust? What are the sources of trust? What do we sacrifice when we succumb to predetermined trust systems?
The three subtopics were also presented:
About 200 years ago, the concept of Nation-state arose as the predominant form of political organization. This concept is supported atop three pillars: a territory, a population, and a government. However, as societies quickly digitize, it is critical to ask ourselves if it is necessary to continue to keep global order and organization subject to lines drawn on a map. Is it appropriate for the Nation-state as a concept to keep its predominance in the decades to come?
The purpose of a border is to separate us from others. How much trust we hold in concepts such as our national identity and the institutions which rule over it will be key to keeping or forfeiting borders in a context in which information exchange deems frontiers obsolete. Under a new paradigm in which decentralization is the norm, is it sensible to keep the current systems? Are we willing to reduce physical borders as virtual ones soften? Speaking in more human terms, in societies where technological development seems to drive us further away, how many borders can we tolerate?
The Price of Privacy
As technology develops at an ever-increasing rate, new ways of connecting and sharing information have become vital in our daily lives. In these new networks of information, the worth of user data began gaining traction. As a result, businesses began capitalizing on it by exchanging free services for our data.
However, the abundance of data available also brings risks. Data leaks, abuses, and inefficiencies in the handling of the data just to name a few. Therefore, the question arises as to what personal data we are willing to share and for what purpose it is used. Nowadays, the discussion revolves around rethinking our relationship with the data collected by public and private digital service providers and the value we assign to it. What are the limits for the use of our personal information?
Human Singularity: an Enigma
As a society, in order to work synergistically we depend on great measure on expression tools that connect what is personal to what is collective. Culture, language, and the concept of identity bring us together. However, it is the values of trust, belonging, and belief that offer different perspectives and levels of importance to these tools we use daily to interact.
It is of utmost importance that we do not lose hold of human essence as we continue to develop new technologies and become immersed in a digital world. It is technology that, in an attempt to maintain said essence, ends up redefining the individual and the collective to integrate it accordingly. The following question then arises: Are human qualities unique or could they be replicated by the breakdown of an analyzed behavioral pattern?
The South American Business Forum will be held on July 28th, 29th, and 30th in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The application period will be open from February 11th through apply.sabf.org.ar.
The community welcomes you all, team 2023, to this wonderful project that has been alive for nearly two decades now. Congratulations to all of you for accepting the challenge to make A Matter of Trust an incredible conference. Let’s sure hope Billy Joel does not lawyer up.
And to all of the aspiring participants: here is a Google Calendar link you may find of help.