Portugal: the next technological tiger?
I was alerted to an article published in nature – an international journal of the scientific community – and my eyes almost popped out of their sockets. The title was not very simple. Anything about “matrix multiplication algorithms”. But his implications resonated on Twitter: machine learning it gets better. Put simply: computers are getting better and better at teaching other computers to run faster. Ultimately, everything will become “exponential”, and the implications for different sectors and countries are huge.
For several years, the term “fourth industrial revolution” has been floating in the mouths of futurists. To many observers, it was just another postman. Yes, computers and the Internet were creating a new kind of industrial revolution. And then?! But it quickly became very clear that business and industry were accelerating like never before, and things were going to go faster and faster.
We are already starting to see this come to fruition. The term “ubiquitous computing” entered the lexicon as computers surrounded us, in our pockets, wrists, cars and devices. Significant parts of our lives already have the ability to be “smart“, including lighting our homes.
New types of video games and experiences are taking shape Expanded Realityand (XR). Gene editing and synthetic biology are dealing with the diseases of the future. It is inevitable that nanotechnology and “materials science” will focus on the climate crisis, along with new energy solutions such as nuclear “fusion” – all designed, perhaps, with the new quantum computing. But even closer is green hydrogen, which could power the air traffic of the future.
“The race is on. Will Portugal overtake Estonia as the next tech tiger? Everything points to it.”
For countries like Portugal, the consequence of these trends is obvious: in the future, the size of the country and the economy, the number of inhabitants – none of that will matter. As long as the country manages to conquer the power of computing and the Internet, there are no limits imposed by the size of the economy. And this has already been shown in at least one European country: Estonia.
With a population of only one million, “Estonia“, as he called himself, through his politics “Tiigrihüpe” (Salto do Tigre), he set up 97% of his schools on the line until 1998. In 2000, Estonia went so far as to declare Internet access a fundamental human right. This, when only 1.7% of the world had access to the Internet.
The way the country has used its digitization policy to boost the economy cannot be understated. Thanks to the program “e-stay“, practically anyone can open a bank account and start a business in the country.
All these policies have helped Estonia win big tech companies like Skype, Wise, Bolt and Pipedrive. Today, the sector high technology represents 15% of GDP.
But Estonia is not the only one. In Europe, Portugal is the new “e-child“from the neighborhood.
Farfetch was the first unicorn in Portugal, in 2015, followed by OutSystems and Talkdesk in 2018, then Feedzai, Remote, Sword Health and Anchorage Digital, in 2021. Unbabel and Sensei. Portugal overtook Spain, Italy and Greece as a country startups technological.
Furthermore, it becomes a destination for clusters green technologies of the future. The European Economic Association declared Lisbon the Green Capital of Europe 2020.
The combination of these trends in technology and the attraction of businesses makes a strong contribution to the economy. Who needs to be a big country when you can move at the speed of the fastest computers on the planet?
The race is on. Will Portugal overtake Estonia as the next tech tiger? Everything points to yes.
Mike Butcher is a journalist and serial entrepreneur. Before being editor in chief from TechCrunch, contributed to the magazine wired, BBC News, Sky News, CNBC, Al Jazeera and Bloomberg. He advised British prime ministers and mayor of London in shaping public policies in the fields of technology and startups. He founded the entrepreneurial conference TheEuropas.com. He founded the non-profit organizations Techfugees.com, TechVets.com and Coadec.com. In 2016, he was awarded an MBE by the Queen.
Countdown to Web Summit 2022 is a new section in the Diário de Notícias, showing some of the trends that will mark the next world meeting startups at the end of October in Lisbon. Until the week of the event, opportunities and challenges for investors, inspiring examples and news that will mark the agenda of domestic and global entrepreneurs will be analysed. Here the stage passes, with the reflection of experts in a new series of opinions. The article published today was written by Mike Butcher, Editor-in-Chief of TechCrunch.