Former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos said Wednesday that using new technologies is important and allows citizens to participate in political activities in different ways.

"The use of the new technologies is very relevant for discussions such as the new constitution, because it means that we will all be able to participate in different ways in the new basic charter," said Lagos, who governed between 2000 and 2006.

At the event, which is being held at the legislative seat in Santiago, Lagos emphasized the value of technology "that allows the citizens to participate in the demands for things to improve. Thus, new political institutions are going to arise," he said.

The conference began on Wednesday with welcoming speeches by Santiago Mayor Carolina Toha and the president of the National Commission for Scientific Research and Technology, Francisco Brieva.

Also speaking at the gathering were Intel computer researcher Steven Brown; the executive vice president for the CORFO production development corporation, Eduardo Beltran; and U.S. sociologist, economist and activist Jeremy Rifkin, the author of "The Third Industrial Revolution."

Also on hand to take part in the congress is former Chilean President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, who governed between 1994 and 2000, and former Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco.

The "Congress of the Future: Crossroads of the 21st Century" is being organized by the Chilean Senate and is a gathering being participated in by national and international scientists, analysts and thinkers, who for the next four days will analyze the most significant issues, challenges and achievements in world science.