A recent study carried by Imagen de Chile foundation has shown that, in 2017, in over 26.000 news about Chile from different countries, the main concepts associated with Chile are Science and Technology, being followed by Tourism, which used to be the main topic related to Chile.

Students traveling around the world representing the country and displaying their discoveries on health and cellular biology, a gifted girl who learned coding and develops software since she was 3 years old, young developers who created the first efficient method to mitigate tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease, the ALMA project, and astronomical observatories recognized worldwide are some examples of events that could be behind the raise in our scientific and technological reputation.

Imagen de Chile foundation stumbled across a great surprise while going through the more of 26.000 news they studied: The media, worldwide, is linking Chile with new events, Science and Technology, leaving behind the times when we would pop up because of tourism. However, according to Myriam Gómez, Executive Director at Imagen Chile, this is beneficial for both Tourism and Technology, as it means positive feedback for both fields.

We had a conversation with Leo Prieto, founder and CEO at ODD Industries, an IT services company. Here, Leo details his vision on what it means to be recognized worldwide thanks to science and technology.

As for the reasons behind this recognition, Leo explains that it is not something that happened from one day to the following, but a change which has been being generated gradually. To begin with, we have an excellent academical capacity, with our universities among the best ones in Latin America, and, even though this is a little known fact, some of the best scientists and engineers in the world graduate in Chile. Leo also reminds us that we have had the world’s eyes upon us for a long time now due to astronomy. We also rank high in global rankings, with some of the worlds most competent software developers. In fact, we can take Universidad Arturo Prat’s students Felipe Suazo and Eduardo Peña’s case, whom, through PHENoM program, were able to catch important North American universities, and even NASA’s, attention, and were invited to become the first Chilean astronauts. As it is these youngsters’ case, there are several more unknown talents whose stories haven’t been told yet, but have existed for a long time. Such are the cases of Pablo Valenzuela, in biotechnology, whom has been known worldwide for more than 30 years, and Ricardo Baeza, an eminence in internet and data analysis, who got to become the head of Yahoo Research global branch.

Technology and science have assumed an extremely important role in our country. It should not be surprising to hear proposing Chile among the possibilities available at director board meetings when looking for technology investment options. Just take a look at how Chiletec, ProChile, and ch1l3 have promoted our country everywhere they have been to.

There is a very important message we can conclude from our interview with Leo: we must be proud of this recognition because it is not something that suddenly appeared. It had been years of effort invested in a process which Chile has rightfully earned, by the hand of top level professionals and world quality universities. Nevertheless, there is an important calling we cannot let out: We must trust our own technology, and in order to do so we need more diffusion. Because, as we mentioned, some Chileans may be making history, but there are many more out there setting Chile’s name high unnoticed. And, unfortunately, they are becoming anonymous heroes lacking the recognition they deserve, because Chile is nowadays a digital country.