Summary of "Grandes Innovadores Latinoamericanos" Oppenheimer Presenta # 1436

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In this video, Andres Oppenheimer interviews several Latin American innovators and highlights their achievements. He introduces Luis von Ahn, who invented the Captcha system and later developed the language learning platform Duolingo. Von Ahn discusses the process of digitizing books using Captcha and explains how Duolingo is financed through translation services. Gaston Acurio, a renowned Peruvian chef, shares his journey in revolutionizing Peruvian cuisine and promoting its global recognition. The video also emphasizes the importance of fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Latin America, as well as the value of mental work in driving progress and prosperity. Overall, it showcases the stories of these innovators and their contributions to the region.

  • 00:00:00 In this section, Andres Oppenheimer introduces some of the great Latin American innovators he interviewed for his book called "Crear o Morir" (Create or Die). One of them is Luis von Ahn, a young Guatemalan who invented the system of internet verification known as reCAPTCHA and sold it to Google for millions of dollars. Von Ahn also created a free online language learning system that now has 25 million users. Oppenheimer also highlights the success of Gaston Acurio, the owner of the renowned restaurant Astrid y Gastón, who revolutionized Peruvian cuisine and turned it into a global phenomenon. Additionally, Oppenheimer discusses the story of Jordi Muñoz, a Mexican immigrant who became the president of 3D Robotics, one of the leading commercial drone companies in the US.
  • 00:05:00 In this section, the interviewee, a Guatemalan innovator, shares how he came up with the idea for an invention called "captcha," which is a distorted letter test used to verify if the user is human. He explains that he was inspired by a problem that Yahoo faced, where people were creating automated programs to send spam emails using multiple accounts. He invented captcha as a solution to this problem, where humans can read the distorted letters while computer programs cannot. He later improved this invention by creating "recaptcha," which not only authenticates users but also helps in the digitization of books. He realized that the time spent by users on captcha could be utilized for a beneficial purpose, such as digitizing physical books and making them accessible online.
  • 00:10:00 In this section, the interviewee explains how the Captcha system he invented was used to help digitize books. The distorted letters in the Captcha were actually words from the books that the computer couldn't decipher, and when users correctly entered those words, they were used to replace the distorted ones in the digitized version. This innovation led to Google acquiring the invention for tens of millions of dollars. The interview then transitions to the interviewee's new venture, Duolingo, a free language learning platform. He explains that his passion for education and desire to make a difference in the field led him to create a platform that offers free language courses to millions of users. The interviewee also addresses the monetization aspect of Duolingo and states that their goal is to provide free courses to users while finding alternative sources of funding.
  • 00:15:00 In this section, Luis von Ahn, co-founder of Duolingo, explains a unique way of financing their language learning platform. When users are learning a concept, such as food vocabulary, Duolingo provides them with a related document to translate as practice. CNN is one of their clients, sending them English news articles to be translated into Spanish by Duolingo students. Von Ahn assures that they have a quality control system where multiple students translate each document, ensuring accuracy. He also shares that Duolingo has around 25 million users learning various languages, more than the total number of language learners in the entire US public education system. Von Ahn concludes with the idea that countries like Guatemala should focus on fostering more innovators like himself.
  • 00:20:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the increase of entrepreneurship and technology in Latin America over the past decade. The speaker emphasizes the importance of a change in culture, where entrepreneurship is celebrated and respected. Additionally, the speaker mentions the need for investors to shift their mindset towards embracing risk and investing in innovative ideas, similar to the venture capital approach in the United States. The speaker believes that this change in mentality is necessary for a culture of innovation to thrive in Latin America.
  • 00:25:00 In this section, renowned Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio explains how he and other Peruvian chefs rebelled against the French-dominated culinary scene in Lima to create a movement that celebrates authentic Peruvian cuisine. Acurio discusses how they questioned the purpose of being a chef in Peru and embarked on a journey to understand their own reality and rediscover their culinary heritage. Through this process, they shifted from cooking French cuisine to incorporating Peruvian ingredients and flavors, such as ceviche and papa a la huancaína, into their dishes. Acurio highlights the importance of embracing and promoting Peru's culinary treasures, which were previously kept within families and deemed perhaps not attractive enough to showcase on the global stage. The transformation in Lima's culinary scene has resulted in international recognition, with seven of the top 20 restaurants in Latin America being located in Lima and all featuring Peruvian cuisine as their main focus.
  • 00:30:00 In this section, Gastón Acurio, the renowned Peruvian chef and owner of Astrid y Gastón, shares his story of how he turned Peruvian cuisine into a global phenomenon. Acurio explains that he was born to be a chef, but his family pushed him towards a career in law. However, he followed his passion and traveled to Spain and France to learn about culinary excellence. After returning to Peru, he opened a small French restaurant, as French cuisine was dominant at the time. Acurio then became part of a movement that aimed to reclaim pride in Peruvian culture, bringing together chefs, farmers, artisans, and consumers. Through this movement, he sparked a moment of brilliance that transformed Peruvian gastronomy and gained recognition worldwide.
  • 00:35:00 In this section, the chef Gastón Acurio discusses how the culinary scene in Peru transitioned from French cuisine to authentic Peruvian food. Acurio explains that a group of chefs in his generation questioned why they were cooking French food in Peru, leading them to explore their own culinary heritage. They embarked on a journey across Peru to reconnect with their roots and began incorporating local ingredients and traditional recipes into their cooking. This transition was initially met with resistance from their customers accustomed to classic French cuisine, but a new generation of diners embraced the change. Acurio's restaurant, as well as those of his peers, now showcase Peruvian cuisine and are considered inspirational. Through this transformation, they shattered the perception that Peruvians were inferior and showcased their country's culinary treasures to the world.
  • 00:40:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the importance of mental work in the 21st century and how it is driving progress in countries. He highlights the value of computer programs invented by Latin American innovators, such as the one created by Guatemalan mathematician Ruiz Font, which is used by 180 million people worldwide. He emphasizes that these programs are more valuable than traditional commodities like oil or soybeans, with companies like Apple and Google being worth more than the entire GDP of many countries in the region. The speaker emphasizes that we are in the era of innovation, where countries and individuals who invent and reinvent themselves are the ones who prosper. He concludes by hoping that these Latin American innovators will inspire others.

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