Chile: Transitioning Into The Digital Age

September 24, 2006

(September 25, 2006)--The Graphics Visualization & Usability (GVU) Center, along with the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs will host the Honorable Senator of Chile, Fernando Flores Labra on Friday, Sept. 29 at 12 p.m. in the Technology Square Research Building (TSRB) auditorium. Flores is leading an agenda designed to transition Chile into the digital age while facing strong opposition from certain leadership groups. His agenda includes ventures such as projects in illumination and online participatory citizen newspapers.

College of Computing Dean Rich DeMillo will welcome Flores and introduce his talk describing the successes and difficulties of these ventures together with the repercussions and significance they have for Chile, as well as Latin America in general. Flores is a former Chilean cabinet minister during the government of Chilean President Salvador Allende who then spent three years as a political prisoner of General Pinochet. Released after negotiations of Amnesty International, Flores moved with his family to Palo Alto and began work as a researcher at Stanford University’s Computer Science Department where he studied under the guidance of Hubert Dreyfus, Stuart Dreyfus, and John Searle, developing his work on philosophy, coaching, and workflow technology influenced by Heidegger, Francisco Varela, Terry Winograd, and John Austin.

Flores obtained a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley before founding several companies including: Logonet, an educational company; Business Design Associates, a management consulting company; and Action Technologies, a software company where he introduced new distinctions in workflow analysis, groupware, software design, and business process analysis.

Some years ago, Flores returned to Chile and was elected to the Senate. He is currently a Senator of the Republic of Chile (2002-2010), and is president of the Senate’s Special Commission for the Society of Information and Knowledge, as well as a member of the Senate’s Commission of Defense. He is the author of Building Trust: In Business, Politics, Relationships, and Life; Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design (with Terry Winograd); Disclosing New Worlds: Entrepreneurship, Democratic Action, and the Cultivation of Solidarity, and contributor to Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years, a special issue within the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Communications journal.

Flores is currently visiting the U.S. as director of Fundacion Pais Digital, an NGO whose mission is to foster the development and adoption of technology in Chile through the identification and application of innovative information and communication technologies. Fundacion Pais Digital strives to create opportunities involving academic, private, and governmental sectors of Chile. After his visit at Georgia Tech, Flores will share his experience with members of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC.