Why is the ‘Lady’s Gambit’ game such a great exercise for the brain?


Chess is one of the most interesting board games to practice our mental agility and to increase brain plasticity, as well as to fight against diseases such as Alzheimer’s


Nuria Safont

Lady’s Gambit‘is one of those series that hooks. Not only because of its protagonist, Beth Harmon, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, but because of the game she plays. It is also one of those television series that generate movements. The series has been a boom in the world of chess. Chess game sales on eBay grew 250% and Google searches of “how to play chess“They were the highest in nine years. In addition, the number of players on Chess.com had 2.5 million new registered users in November alone, he details. Alberto Chueca, international master, coach and professional chess player.

– Read also: Lady’s gambit: its success, explained

The benefits of chess

“He Chess It is one of the activities that most helps to exercise the mind. Some of these benefits are the development of creativity and imagination through the calculation of variants, memorization, which is constantly exercised, patience to be able to face competition games of up to five hours and focus on the design of strategic plans, “he explains. According to the chess player, who offers online classes, this board game also stimulates both sides of the brain and having to interact with another person, socialization.In turn, it is a sport practiced individually so it also teaches independence and improves decision-making.

As we can see, chess is a fascinating game and the miniseries ‘Lady’s Gambit’ is helping many to discover it and get started in this discipline, something that will undoubtedly result in better mental health. And, as this chess player explains, “at a health level, there are associations and programs that use chess to prevent Alzheimer’s or fight ADHD (Attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity)”.

– Also read: Chess: a sport to extend the life of your memory

An activity suitable for everyone

If you are wondering if you can start learning to play chess, the answer is yes. What’s more, we would tell you not to hesitate, thanks to all its benefits. “Today we all understand the importance of physical activities, whether in gyms or outdoors. The health benefits associated with these are innumerable. However, not so much importance is given to the fact that exercise the mind when it is the key to our lives, although it is true that this trend has been reversing notably in recent decades, “recalls Alberto Chueca.

But if you doubt because you consider that you are no longer of age or you are afraid of not being able to learn it, give it a try, because you will be surprised. “In the past, chess was mistakenly associated with being an activity designed for very intelligent people. That idea has already been banished and it is known that anyone can play chess and is chess the tool that transforms people by developing their mental capacities. It is not intelligent people who play chess, but the practice of chess makes people develop their full mental potential, “says this specialist on the board.

The teacher also assures that after a decade dedicated to teaching chess to a large number of students and currently training a world champion ‘sub10’, he could say that 98% of one’s chess level can be acquired through learning, constant work and practice. It is only 2% what would correspond to natural, biological or innate talent. From here we could conclude that you can even reach the elite without having innate talent. That innate virtuosity that does not depend on ourselves is very limited and would be the difference between being in the elite and being a world champion.

– Read also: Chess, checkers and other games with which to train your intelligence

Chess does not understand ages

Therefore, if you liked the Queen’s Gambit so much that you want to start learning this technique, go ahead. No matter how old you are. And, as the chess player explains, “it is a sport that can be practiced at any age. As a curiosity, there have been several cases where a 5-year-old person has competed in an official tournament against a 95-year-old, something that hardly happens in other sports. From 4 and 5 years old, you can begin to recognize the pieces, teach the basic rules and movements and from 5-6 years, children can begin to calculate positions and combinations of 1 move to later calculate 2 and go adding difficulty progressively. Through the recognition of tactical patterns, they associate ideas that are repeated in numerous positions “.

Finally, if you are interested in learning and improving quickly in chess, there are three fundamental factors that Alberto Chueca lists and explains:

  • The first is the advice and methodology of a professional. He Support from a chess coach is key, especially in those parts of conceptual understanding. The most practical part such as calculation or tactics can be worked on more individually. Practically all the people who compete in chess, even in low-level tournaments, teach regularly or have a coach behind them.
  • The second factor would be the constancy. As in any discipline, you can only achieve great qualitative improvements if you are active and train regularly.
  • And finally, the interest, which would put even above talent. If a student is interested, it makes the job easier for the coach and concepts are acquired more quickly.

– Also read: Build a nice chess table

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Scientists in Australia questioned the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine :: Society :: RBC

According to scientists, the vaccine, due to its low effectiveness, will not form herd immunity in Australia. They offered to suspend the rollout of vaccinations with this drug and purchase more effective vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.

Фото: Dominic Lipinski / Reuters

Australian scientists have asked the government to review its coronavirus vaccination strategy, the Financial Times reported. They fear that the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford is not effective enough to build herd immunity.

The scientists said that Australia needs to order additional supplies of vaccines, which were created by the American companies Pfizer and Moderna. According to the developers, these drugs have shown an effectiveness of more than 90%, while the average effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine was 70%.

“Until we get more data that shows AstraZeneca is as good as other vaccines, the scientific and medical risk you take is that you won’t get herd immunity. The political risk is that you get a good vaccine for the rich and not so good for the poor, ”said Australian Medical Association President Andrew Miller. He proposed to suspend the planned roll-out of vaccinations with AstraZeneca and purchase more effective ones.

Another Australian scientist expressed the same opinion. “The formation of herd immunity is really important, because it is he who will stop the spread of the virus and help us return to normal life. The problem is that we rely heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine and the vast majority of Australians will get it. <...> However, the effectiveness of the vaccine, [способной создать коллективный иммунитет], should be at least 70 or 80% “, – said an expert of the Society for Infectious Diseases, a researcher at the University. Monash Michelle Ananda-Raja on the air of 9news TV channel.

Russians will not be vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine


Who is Sabino Vaca Narvaja, new ambassador to China

He will replace Luis Kreckler at the head of that strategic diplomatic headquarters. The role he played so far in Beijing and his ties with Cristina Kirchner

In the midst of the controversy over the difficulties that Argentina had in accessing Chinese vaccines against the coronavirus, the Government decided to displace Luis Kreckler and appoint Sabino Vaca Narvaja, who until now served as representative, to head the Embassy in Beijing. Special for the Promotion of Trade and Investments in the aforementioned diplomatic headquarters.

The official is the son of Fernando Vaca Narvaja, one of the founders of Montoneros, and brother of Camilo, former partner of Florencia Kirchner and father of Helena, the granddaughter of Vice President Cristina Kirchner.

Sabino Vaca Narvaja, 45, is a passionate about china and for years he has been working and studying the political and bilateral relations with Argentina of the Asian giant.

Before arriving in that country as an official, he had created a Chinese-Argentine cooperation and linkage program, dependent on the Department of Planning and Public Policies of the University of Lanús.

He arrived in China on May 29, in one of the special flights that Aerolineas Argentinas carried out within the framework of the so-called “Operation Shanghai” through which they transferred equipment and medical supplies to the country to fight against the coronavirus.

Sabino Vaca Narvaja served as Special Representative for the Promotion of Trade and Investment in China.

Sabino Vaca Narvaja with President Alberto Fernández.

Shortly after his arrival he began to work with Kreckler to try “reorient the political dialogue and at the same time establish an economic cooperation plan. ”

Kreckler’s displacement opened the door for Vaca Narvaja to be in charge of the diplomatic headquarters in the middle of an open negotiation by the Government to buy millions of doses of Sinovac vaccine.

Among his works related to relations with the Asian giant, Vaca Narvaja published two books: “Why China? Looks at the Comprehensive Strategic Association”, and “China, Latin America and the geopolitics of the new silk road.”

The Vaca Narvaja family had to go into exile in the 70s. During his time in Havana, Cuba, Sabino attended a nursery with other children of Montoneros militants. There, for example, he was with the current head of the Anses, Fernanda Raverta.

The political science graduate arrives at the Chinese embassy with the political endorsement of President Alberto Fernández but the decisive impulse of the vice president, Cristina Kirchner.

“We need to regain the development path based on economic growth, job creation, social inclusion, scientific-technological development and federal progress, and China will be very important in that process,” Vaca Narvaja said in an interview that long ago granted to the Télam agency.

And he added: “As for the plans of cooperation and investments from China, we bet that they are oriented mainly towards items that interest Argentina such as infrastructure, conventional and renewable energies, mining, manufacturing, technological innovation, agriculture and information technology. In this process it will be key to promote the transfer of knowledge and technology between the scientific and productive sectors of both countries. “


How Europe can grow in strength

Volker Perthes

The author is Senior Advisor to the Science and Politics Foundation in Berlin.

The media banter between the German defense minister and the French president about the strategic autonomy of Europe actually only documented the ability to talk past one another with precision. In any case, the background to the debate about “strategic autonomy” or “sovereignty” of Europe does not lie within, but outside of the European Union: since the beginning of the 2010s, power rivalries and violent conflicts have increased in Europe’s neighborhood.

The EU had to deal with the attempts of other actors to deepen internal European differences, later also with the anti-European stance of the Trump administration and an accelerated erosion of the international order. All of this has heightened awareness that the EU and the European states have to take more responsibility for their security, their well-being and an international order that also corresponds to European interests. So how should the continent’s “strategic autonomy” be shaped in concrete terms?

In 2017 the Chancellor declared that Europe must now take its fate into its own hands. The Franco-German Treaty of 2019, which was sealed in Aachen, aims for a “strong and sovereign” European Union. “Strategic autonomy” and “European sovereignty” appear interchangeably in the parlance of European politicians. Some also speak of European self-assertion as an alternative.

In fact, according to a European diplomat, the concept of strategic autonomy at the EU level was able to attract a majority mainly because concrete definitions were avoided. This is understandable in view of the constant search for compromise in Brussels. If the term is not only intended to serve as a catchphrase but also to provide guidance for political decisions, a clarification of the term is necessary.

Misunderstandings among partners inside and outside the Union can also be avoided if it is made clear what European sovereignty or autonomy means, what it does not mean and what it requires. The Science and Politics Foundation developed a definition of the term two years ago. Strategic autonomy describes the “ability to set foreign and security policy priorities and make decisions, as well as the institutional, political and material prerequisites to implement these in cooperation with third parties or, if necessary, independently”.

Autonomy does not mean isolation

A high degree of autonomy enables an actor to set, maintain or develop rules with others in the international arena. Actors with little autonomy, on the other hand, become mere recipients of the rules or strategic decisions of third parties.

In a globally networked world, strategic autonomy or sovereignty must relate to the entire spectrum of international action, not just to the military or defense dimension. Autonomy is always relative, never absolute: international politics are always about more or less autonomy.

In addition, autonomy does not mean self-sufficiency, isolation or the rejection of alliances. Rather, an autonomous actor decides which partnerships or alliances to enter into according to its own priorities. Europe has made a clear choice of values ​​and interests here – for the transatlantic alliance.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and EU Commission Head Ursula von der Leyen

Europe should endeavor to strengthen the European pillar of NATO, politically and militarily.

(Foto: Bloomberg)

Strategic autonomy or sovereignty cannot be achieved equally in all policy fields. In terms of economic and trade policy or data protection, Europe is perfectly capable of asserting its own priorities and preferences worldwide. The biggest gap between ambition and reality is in military capabilities.

But there is still a lot of room for improvement in other areas as well. Even when dealing with the US’s extraterritorial sanctions, it became clear that Europe does not yet have the necessary instruments to implement its autonomous decisions – such as maintaining legal trade with Iran.

Strengthen the European pillar of NATO

If the EU and European governments want to achieve more autonomy and sovereignty, they have to set realistic goals. In security and defense policy, this means recognizing that there will be no comprehensive autonomous conventional capabilities and command structures or even its own strategic deterrent capacity for Europe in the foreseeable future.

Here, in fact, one remains dependent on NATO and American capabilities, but one should strive to strengthen the European pillar of NATO, politically and militarily. However, a higher degree of autonomy can also be achieved within the framework of the EU, above all in crisis management, in the ability, for example, to resolve armed conflicts in the neighborhood, or in dealing with terrorist actors.

Beyond defense policy, a priority for European autonomy efforts must be not only to be able to impose but also to ward off international sanctions. In the coming years, it will be less about American punitive measures. Rather, Europe should be prepared for China to begin adopting extraterritorial sanctions, for example, against companies that invest in Taiwan or do not want to participate in Silk Road projects.

Strategic autonomy definitely requires being able to withstand such pressure: be it through robust financial instruments or through deterrent countermeasures. Efforts to develop digital sovereignty are also a high priority. Here, too, it is not about self-sufficiency or isolating Europe, but about setting standards and rules and protecting the data of European citizens against companies and states that do not respect such rules.

In the past, any discussion of European sovereignty or autonomy in the US has raised concerns. Above all, it was feared that Europe could duplicate American military capabilities, at best by wasting resources, and at worst by decoupling from the United States.

The future US administration will have fewer reservations about this. Washington is more likely to be interested in Europe developing the necessary skills to defuse security problems in its neighborhood itself. If that succeeds, transatlantic cooperation should also benefit.

More: With a President Joe Biden it will be more difficult for Europe


Brussels launches the first EU strategy for full equality of LGTBIQ people

“We are still very far from the full inclusion and acceptance that LGTBIQ people deserve.” On this basis, Brussels has presented this Thursday the first strategy in the history of the EU that aims to achieve full equality for a group that continues to suffer labor and social discrimination, especially exacerbated in Eastern countries such as Hungary or Poland, dragged by the authoritarian drifts of its leaders.

In the first, the conflict between politicians from the more conservative right and those with a more liberal mentality, has resulted in dozens of localities in the country boasting of being ‘free zones’ of LGTBIQ ideology with support for traditional values ​​and families. The second, who was one of the first to open up to same-sex civil unions, has suffered for a decade from the regressive policies and belligerent speech of its president Viktor Orban, leader of the conservative Fidesz party.

In this context, the European Commission proposes to all countries “the first strategy at the EU level that will reinforce our joint efforts to ensure that all citizens are treated with absolute equality”, highlighted the Vice President of Values ​​and Transparency, Vera Jourová, in a presentation that has been marked by the effectiveness that the plan will have in some of the aforementioned Member States. Jourova, in fact, did not want to advance the possibility that infringement proceedings could be opened against, for example, those Polish ‘free zones’ “until it is not known that these statements represent an obvious violation of rights.”

In short, a tense scenario to receive a proposal for the next five years that contemplates, from the outset, the commitment to expand from next year the list of criminal offenses and penalties in criminal areas for acts and hate speech against lesbian, gay, transgender or transgender, bisexual, intersex and queer people. It would involve the extension of one of the essential articles of the EU Treaties (83). With the greater legislative protection that is proposed, it is intended to put an end to the “serious problem of underreporting” (low rate of complaints) of this type of crime.

In essence, it would raise a range of specific criminal punishment at the same level as hate crimes and hate crimes motivated by racism and xenophobia. Institutions such as the Agency for Fundamental Rights of the EU, an independent center, have been posing as necessary for more than a decade.

That same agency, in its last macro-survey, detected that 76% of Europeans support measures that promote complete equality for LGTBIQ people, while identifying in the latter that 43% of those surveyed felt discriminated against, 6 % more than those who reported this situation in 2012.

In its strategy, the European Commission will also carry out a study on the application of the Directive on equality in the field of employment (also including the impact of new technologies) to assess the situation by committing, by 2022, complementary legislation that strengthens coordination between national bodies dedicated to promoting equality and ending discrimination in all areas, including education.

Simultaneously, it raises the harmonization of the protection of the rights of rainbow families, uneven among the member states. “The objective is to present a legislative initiative to achieve mutual recognition in all territories”, remarks the Community Executive. With this plan, the EU intends to become an international standard-bearer for LGBTIQ rights, so actions will be supported from Europe that will turn them into key instruments for instruments such as neighborhood, development and international cooperation, the EU pre-accession regulations for future partners. and Asylum and Migration policies.


What Germany can learn from other countries

Fight the pandemic

There is no silver bullet out of lockdown.

(Photo: Smetek)

When the number of infections in Neukölln continued to rise in autumn, the employees of the health department got in touch with their colleagues in Bat Yam in Israel. The Berlin district and the city in the greater Tel Aviv area are linked by a partnership.

The second wave of the corona pandemic had already reached its peak in Bat Yam at the end of September, after which the number of cases fell significantly. The Neukölln officials wanted to know whether some of the measures from Israel are also suitable for their fight against the virus. This is how the idea of ​​the “Corona-Lotsen” came about, says Falko Liecke.

Liecke is the deputy mayor of Neukölln and is responsible for the health sector in the district. The CDU politician says that Bat Yam and Neukölln have a “partially comparable population structure”. He means the high proportion of residents with a migration background who are not always easy to reach when taking corona measures.

When colleagues from Bat Yam reported how they targeted the immigrants from Russia and Ukraine with reconnaissance teams, it was clear to Liecke: “In Neukölln we want to proceed in a similar way.” Soon, Corona pilots with special language skills will also be in the middle of Berlin be out and about in mosques and cultural centers.

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Total cuts 700 jobs, stock market action soars

The workforce reduction plans dictated by the logic of profits do not know the crisis: they would even tend to prosper. After Danone which announced Monday 2,000 job cuts, including 400 to 500 in France, to improve its “profitability”, another heavyweight of the CAC40 engages. And not just any: Total takes a departure plan out of its hat “Volunteers” targeting in particular 700 positions among the employees of its head offices in France. The oil giant informed staff representatives on Monday in an internal letter released by Reuters. On the announcement of this news, the Total share soared 5% on Tuesday morning. Once again, financial markets are applauding reductions in costs and staff …

Read alsoTotal oil project in Uganda: “I had to flee my village”

With Total, 100,000 employees, including 35,000 in France, we are not exactly talking about a giant with feet of clay: 100 billion euros in stock market capitalization and as much equity, 10 billion in profits in 2019, a mountain of cash and assets accumulated during the golden decades of black gold … However, this year the group had to endure a shock from oil demand triggered by the Covid-19 epidemic and the fall in the price of a barrel below 20 dollars (17 euros) in the spring. For the third quarter of its 2020 fiscal year, the French major published sharply lower results, with net income group share of $ 202 million, compared to $ 2.8 billion in the corresponding period of 2019 (the oil industry publishes its accounts in greenbacks).

“More favorable environment”

But not enough to panic the CEO of Total, Patrick Pouyanné, for whom “The group benefited during the third quarter from a more favorable environment, with an oil price above 40 dollars per barrel thanks to the strong discipline of the OPEC + countries and a recovery in demand for petroleum products in the truck transport”. It is also not the economic repercussions of the health crisis which is put forward by the management of Total to explain the job cuts.

In its letter to the social partners, the group explains that this voluntary departure plan should make it possible to“Hire the skills, especially young people, [il] will need to implement its transformation strategy towards a multi-energy group ”. And according to management, it responds to a request made in September by the CFDT, CFE-CGC and the autonomous union CAT.

Read alsoTotal sued for climate inaction

The CGT, which has dissociated itself from this approach, therefore calculated that 700 jobs would be eliminated without being replaced: we were “Made it clear that there were too many people at the headquarters and that around 10% of their workforce had to be cut” said Thierry Defresne, central union delegate CGT Total refining and petrochemicals. Total has neither confirmed nor denied this figure. In its email to the unions, management explains that these departures are part of its acceleration strategy in electricity and renewable energies. The group, which has felt the tide of oil change, has undertaken to compete with EDF in the marketing of electricity and gas to individuals. Its subsidiary Total Direct Energie already has 4 million customers.

Shareholders always well served

This diversification strategy will lead to the creation of a new branch within the group called One Tech, which would explain the upcoming reorganization. The engineers of research and development activities and the technical professions of its existing branches would be brought together and pooled in order obviously to optimize costs. Total ensures that everything will be done “To support people until they actually retire, so as to avoid straining public finances”. And specifies that the voluntary departures of employees from the sites concerned by the future One Tech branch “Will all result in hiring and […] will therefore have no impact on the workforce of the sites and entities concerned ”.

Read alsoTotal makes its hole at Polytechnique

As at Danone, it is therefore the central support and administrative functions that should bear most of the job losses resulting from this plan. The oil group seems in a hurry: it wants to negotiate with the unions by the end of the year for departures that would take place from the summer of 2021. The shareholders, them, remain well served: Total is one of the few groups of the CAC40 to have maintained the payment of the dividend planned before the Covid. In total, the oil giant will have sent 7 billion euros to its shareholders in 2020.

Jean-Christophe Féraud


Municipalities, CDS and Chega’s ″ error ″. Rio’s strategy to overthrow the PS

“It doesn’t seem easy for the legislature to go through.” The phrase is by Rui Rio in his most recent interview with RTP, and with it he returns to the idea that came out of the PSD congress, at the beginning of the year, that there would be a political crisis in the second half of 2021. And at a time when no one he dreamed of the weight of a pandemic, which put and will put the country in a tight economic and social crisis. “Our strategy has not changed much, events have accelerated, since no one could predict a pandemic, nor were we expecting to assume power in the Azores,” says a social-democratic leader to DN.

The health crisis, especially this second wave of covid-19, has, in the opinion of the same source, “caused a huge strain on the Government, which has been divided internally on measures to combat the pandemic”. In addition, the PSD already expected difficulties in relations between the Government and the former contraption partners to approve the State Budgets, starting with the 2021 budget, and worsening to the 2022 budget.

It does not seem easy for the legislature to go through.

Hence the expectation that a political crisis is lurking, to which is added another condiment, that of the presidential ones, in which a part of the PS, with freedom of vote, will be with Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, including António Costa, and another with Ana Gomes . “It is obvious that the vote divided in the presidential ones can create splits on the left”, emphasizes the same social-democratic leader.

In the design of the social-democratic strategy to overthrow the socialist government, there was also the wear and tear that the Portuguese presidency of the European Union, from January to July, will generate. Factors to add to factors of difficulty for the socialist executive.

The municipal elections in October next year are the most important political piece in the coming year to give the PSD a victory dynamic, as the party leader himself admitted. Talks with CDS to form coalitions in several municipalities, including Lisbon, are ongoing. “The CDS has lost many votes, but its constituency exists, and that is what we have to captivate in these elections,” says the same source.


Did Meghan Markle change her trial to avoid Christmas with Queen Elizabeth II? – Eme – 11/01/2020

Next year will be final for the trial that Meghan Markle brought against “The Mail on Sunday” for publishing a private letter to his father, Thomas Markle, with whom he has a tough family relationship. This trial was to be held on January 11, 2021 but, surprisingly, the actress asked for it to be delayed without explaining the reasons. And he finally succeeded.

Everything points to the wife of prince harry does not want to spend the Christmas holidays with the Queen isabel II and the rest of the familia real. Ddue to the health crisis due to the new coronavirus, English laws will ask Meghan remain in isolation for 14 days before the trial, which she must attend. This means that if held in January, as originally planned, the Duchess of Sussex should reach United Kingdom, from Los Angeles, around December 28th.

According to reports, the team of lawyers at Meghan He explained that the actress asked that the trial be delayed to have more time and arrive more prepared. The truth is that in the middle of the battle of the Windsor Y Meghan Y Harry, it has become clear that the actress was not happy among the members of the Royal family from the UK, especially with his sister-in-law Kate Middleton, future queen consort, with whom she would have a confrontation on her wedding day.

All the speculations came to an end because the court granted the Duchess the order and the trial was suspended until autumn 2021.


The Spanish that placed New York at the head of technological entrepreneurship | Innovation

New York is an international benchmark in many ways, but it is not infallible either. He never excelled in something that California usually commands: the attraction of tech startups. The San Francisco bay (Silicon Valley) or even some European cities have always had a very good reputation among young aspiring entrepreneurs.

This stain on the reputation of the Atlantic megacity began to fade a decade ago. New York is today the second world capital of entrepreneurship (Silicon Valley is still ahead). Part of the fault is a Spanish woman: Ana Ariño. Until the beginning of 2020, this woman from Madrid held the vice presidency and strategic direction of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the agency in charge of planning the development of the city. His is the highest non-political position that can be reached in the organization chart of a city council that manages a budget of about 90,000 million dollars, four times that of the Community of Madrid and higher than the GDP of 130 countries.

Among Ariño’s tasks were to lead the city’s innovation strategy and develop strategic projects in urban planning or communications, with special emphasis on technology. His mandate was, in his own words, “to prepare New York for the future.”

How do you improve a megacity from an office?

It’s about always being one step ahead, anticipating what may happen, with ambitious projects and on the frontier of the innovation economy. Our vision was to make New York a world reference capable of giving all of its citizens the opportunity to prosper. And that was what a smart city meant for us: a city where innovation is key to defining your future and technology is at the service of the citizen to improve the urban experience, create new economic opportunities and face the many challenges that exist, such as inequality or climate change, and those that are yet to come. How has it been achieved? Promoting cooperation between the agents that participate in the innovation process (entrepreneurs, Government, investors, companies, universities, etc.) and betting on education.

How did you manage to make New York a desirable destination for entrepreneurs?

After the 2008 crisis, we set out to become a global technology capital, attracting talent and investment to diversify the productive fabric. Over the next 10 years, we launched incubators and accelerators focused on strategic sectors, brought to New York a new engineering university on Roosevelt Island called CornellTech, celebrated the successes of local startups, and supported the progressive expansion of Google in Chelsea, among others. . Now, New York is the second largest entrepreneurial ecosystem in the world after Silicon Valley: in 2019 it received more than $ 17.2 billion of venture capital investment in startups. As a point, in 2010 it only captured 2,200 million.

In which sectors did you focus your efforts to seduce entrepreneurs?

I would highlight three: biotechnology, cybersecurity and urban technologies, or urbantech. The evolution of the latter is an example of the rapid growth of technology entrepreneurship in general. The scale of the urban center of New York makes it a suitable place to develop solutions for waste, energy, transportation, infrastructure or construction: it has 800 bridges and tunnels, 600 miles of coastline, 6,000 of highways … Of the incubators that we started Among others, Jump, the scooter company that Uber bought for 200 million, came out. In 2018 we closed agreements with companies and universities to test products in the city. Numina, for example, deployed sensors in Downtown Brooklyn to capture anonymized data to help understand traffic behavior patterns at one of the main intersections and help authorities with planning. Now New York receives 10% of the world’s venture capital investment in urban innovation.

Do you consider New York to be a smart city?

The term smart city I do not like. Suggests collecting data from citizens as an end in itself, evokes surveillance capitalism. That does not work for several reasons: public opinion does not accept it and the solutions that really work are those that solve citizenship problems. Our strategy in this area has been based on three pillars: connectivity; the innovation economy, which is the part that we controlled, and the pilots or applications of urban technologies to solve social problems.

What role does the citizenry play in this process?

Smart cities must be the result of co-creation with citizens. These should help identify the problems in each neighborhood. For example, in Brownsville, where 40% of the population lives in a situation of poverty or vulnerability, we carried out a project that combined smart lighting with art to improve street safety at dusk, beautify and energize the environment. public space. Depending on the pedestrian activity, the colors, images and intensity of the 3D projections change, which also describe a wave effect as pedestrians walk or buses pass. Crime fell. Thanks to the neighbors, we have verified that to make a street safer you do not always need more policemen, but it may be enough to illuminate it better.

In what cases can smart cities remember surveillance capitalism?

The project in Toronto by Alphabet’s real estate arm, SidewalkLabs, comes to mind, which consisted of rehabilitating the docks and, incidentally, showing the world how the company conceives a smart city. Google has announced that they are leaving it, in principle because of the pandemic. It is also true that there has been a strong rejection by citizens, who do not see favorably that an American big tech like Google goes to Canada to plan a city. It generates a lot of suspicion because the company keeps your data, because the neighbors do not know what technologies will be implemented, and so on.

He says that one of the pillars of New York’s innovation strategy is education. Can it be more specific?

An example of educational investment in schooling is the Computer Science for All (CS4All) initiative: introduce compulsory computing in all public schools from the age of four until you graduate at 17. Keep in mind that in New York there are 1.1 million children’s. We have also introduced the use of 3D printers at all levels. With them they do everything: from creating hooks to leave backpacks to recreate an electronic circuit in a model. When you enter a class, the teacher asks “Who speaks code?” [¿quién sabe programar?] And everyone raises their hands, your hairs stand on end. The effects of this program will take a generation to notice, but they will make a difference.