Web Summit: Global Platform of ideas and dreams to be fulfilled

José Jorge Letria

Portugal has moved from the aftermath of the fires, with many dead to mourn and arduous accounts to make, to the superior level of modernity of ideas, technologies and business with the Web Summit that brought to Lisbon representatives from 170 countries, more than 2,500 journalists and 1,200 speakers. It’s noteworthy
We need such events, with the added and ever-exhilarating weight of the big names such as Al Gore, François Hollande and António Guterres himself, the UN secretary-general in a time of great uncertainty and worldwide uneasiness, so that we can pronounce the word “future” with the conviction that we are talking about something that we can build and that we can still watch.

If I spoke at the beginning, about the aftermath of the fires, it was to remember that no matter how wide the wings we dare to fly about the certainties and doubts of this global world, we can never forget that the lack of planning and order, in critical moments, leaves Portugal in the grip of human and material tragedies  of very difficult overcoming.

It is important to have in Lisbon people from all over the world, from all ideas and dreams, capable of converting ambitious and innovative projects into businesses that can help transform the time and the way of this immense collective reality that is also ours.

But you have to be careful. Modernity, when based on the highest flights of technology and thought, can never forget a warning that came from one of the most striking and influential figures in all history of mankind: Albert Einstein. He said that “it became shockingly obvious that our technology exceeded our humanity”. It’s a dramatic truth that no one can ignore.

And speaking of Einstein, we beed to talk about the remarkable and unorthodox Karl Kraus who, in a similar line of thought, wrote that “technical development will leave only one unresolved problem: the weakness of human nature.” They both knew the tragedy of Nazism, both saw Germany transforming itself, combining technology and the ideology of the extreme right wing politics, but they nevertheless did not stop believing that man would be able to find the solutions, the questions and, above all, the new responses.

In Lisbon we have the leaders of great ideas and great new businesses, we have those who want to start and soon want to succeed, we have the generations who believe in bringing with them the construction and transformation prospects that could create more jobs, more wealth, more tax revenue and more horizons for a world that ignorance, radicalism and lack of solidarity obscure. There is everything for all tastes and sensibilities. And above all there is a legitimate and uncontrollable desire to bring modernity as far as human beings can go, whether on Earth or far from it. To a large extent, the world’s tomorrow also passes or passed these days through Lisbon.

Looking at the agenda of the debates, we have to look at the central issue of intellectual property that is of great concern to the World Intellectual Property Organization, a Geneva-based UN agency with more than 1,300 employees. On February 2  2017, WIPO received the patent application number three million  from one of the most important international applied research organizations. The number of patent applications that legitimize discoveries and new ways of working and research has not diminished. There are companies that submit an average of 300 annual patent applications. Many of the ideas born and announced in Lisbon will also have to go this way to legitimize themselves and to be able to resist the possible forms of misappropriation. It is important that the major international forums do not forget or postpone the debate on intellectual property and how to recognize and consecrate it. On the future we always have time, although short and tense, to talk, in the name of who creates and who consumes. We will be here to watch it.

Writer, journalist and President of the Portuguese Society of Authors

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