efe-epaCali, Colombia

Increasing human beings' use of digital tools is the vehicle whereby Colombia's business sector will develop, several experts agreed on Thursday in this southwestern Colombian city at the 2019 Exponegocios business forum and fair.

"Computations by artificial intelligence works for certain things but not for everything, particularly in being creative. The human being cannot be copied (and) has a way of thinking, deducing, thinking abstractly that we see as very difficult to replicate in machines," AI expert Inma Martinez told EFE.

Martinez said that new entrepreneurs must understand that they are the ones who get ideas, not machines, and so she issued a call to "demythologize" the idea that machines "are going to solve everything."

She said that the problems of the future will be in the area of "ethics," that is they will deal with challenges that are not technological but rather come "from life, pure and simple."

Therefore, she said that "AI is a tool, but it's not going to be what creates progress" because "we (humans) are the ones who create progress and the future."

Among the many applications of AI for business, Martinez pointed to the use of data as a fundamental element.

"Data always tell you the truth and every industry is finding times when AI is bringing realities to it that we could not have had before that," she said.

Exponegocios is organized by the Cali Chamber of Commerce and includes 18 international attendees who will share their experiences on the digital transformation of companies.

Among the other participants at the forum are Google Colombia manager Giovanni Stella and the president of Spain's BBVA bank in the South American country, Oscar Cabrera.

The president of the Cali chamber, Esteban Piedrahita, told EFE that the aim of this edition of Exponegocios is "to elevate a bit the business conversation in the region."

"We want to bring (the region) the world's best content, get them thinking. To see that they don't necessarily understand everything that happens but to take note that the world is bigger than it seems, there are challenges. To challenge them, scare them, but also inspire them to do things, to dare to do more," he said.

With that in mind, the attendees will participate at the end of the day in launching the "Angel Investment Network" in Valle del Cauca province to finance business projects.

"A good portion of the business fabric lacks quite a bit and this is a call to convince them that it's not only important, but an existential need, to change the coverage because, as always, this is an issue of people," said Piedrahita about the digital transformation of companies in the region.