Nº 2614 - Novembro de 2019
Pessoa coletiva com estatuto de utilidade pública
“The Belt and Road Iniciative”, opportunity to promote international cooperation on Cyberspace*
José Luiz Pinto Ramalho

Firstly, I would like to thank you for the kind Invitation to participate in this Conference and for the honor and privilege to have the opportunity to express some ideas about the subject. In fact, an enlarged cooperation is indispensable, which can consolidate a worldwide vision that may contribute and reinforce the relationship of a global society capable of sharing in future on Cyberspace.*

We are living now a new civilizational stage, in which global communication technologies bring communities closer, overcome cultural diversity, change the way to communicate and relate to others, compact time, space and information and are deeply changing our societies.

It is not possible to ignore this reality and the demand of our adaptation is a daily challenge. We have to focus on the challenges of Digital Revolution, of the technological and information leap, which means to associate Global Information and Internet to Artificial Intelligence and to the potentialities of 5G networks.

Ending last year, Putin stated, quoting Mackinder that concerning the developments related to Artificial Intelligence, “Those who become leaders in this field of knowledge will rule the world”.

A new international order is in the process of consolidation, not yet stabilized. These are the only safe aspects, the recognition that the former order is no longer valid, the new paradigm is unstable, change is accelerated
“information” is a new strategic resource that turned the political speech into action.

Information is nowadays recognized as the most valuable strategic resource. As more information is used, as greater knowledge and innovation we get. Global Information Technologies have brought their strategic impact also to this dimension.

It is also clear that the fields for application of National Power, besides Land, Sea and Air, have been enlarged to the cosmic space and cyberspace. The current international strategic environment has recognized the importance of a safe continuous use of cyberspace and outer space in their multiple domains to the use of information and “access” to data of multidisciplinary nature, provided by satellite. Their availability and safety must be permanently ensured.

In this international environment the challenges for global safety, derived from violence, are identified. We need to add the risks emerging from factors that unbalance the ecosystem and from climate changes, those connected to the evolution of technology, and the new “virus” – biological, technological and informatics, which can generate pandemic diseases and decisively affect cyberspace.

The weather changes, responsible for global warming, have been adding a higher strategic importance to the Arctic region, where we can predict a competition for hydrocarbons, natural gas, but also natural resources, like rare-earth elements indispensable to information technologies, as well as the outbreak of new navigation sea routes.

Concerning the space, there are national objectives that include the return to the Moon and the intention of reaching Mars. Besides the increasing commercial use, it is also recognized the importance of information from satellite, like “intelligence”, safe communications, weather forecast, GPS and real time data supply.

It is also necessary to control the constant increment of small dimension satellites, such as LEO (Low Earth Orbit) with altitude of hundreds of Km with purely commercial purposes. This, combined with the already existing “debris” makes their collision probable, even a chain collision of satellites of other nature.

Therefore, a technological development is expected in the domain of AI, and in the 5G technology, for a new, more efficient and effective functioning of new computer applications, and communications of fifth generation, increasingly ambitious, in quantum computing capabilities, nanotechnologies, hypersonic speed and autonomous vehicles, high performance medicine, potentialities of ICT and, defence industries.

Therefore a technological development is expected in the domain of Artificial Intelligence, in cloud and quantum computing capabilities, Internet, IoT, nanotechnologies, composite materials, “fuel cells”, hyper speed and potentialities of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Simultaneously, it is recognized that efforts have been made for Research and Development, to achieve capabilities to act in the area of AI, in the civilian and military domains, gathering in these projects the Biotechnology, Computers and Cognitive and Behavioural Sciences.

The 5G technology is fundamental for a new, more efficient and more effective functioning of new computer applications, more demanding in terms of speed and volume of data, deep learning or Big data, for mobile communications of fifth generation, increasingly ambitious, and in particular in terms of AI, quantum computing, robotic, biotechnology, autonomous vehicles, high performance medicine and, necessarily, defence industries.

AI is present in all domains of our society and every day a new application is announced or suggested. AI is a synonymous of progress and materializes a strategic rupture with procedures and behaviours of the past information society and that constitutes a field for strategic competition, a race for technological, economic and military superiority.

Even the most sceptical and critical recognize in AI a unique capacity to treat Information, to compare data collected by satellite constellations, including the analysis of the traffic existing in the “dark Web”.

They also alert to the risks of a marketing that does not respect private life and citizens’ rights and which permits the proliferation of “fake news”, manipulating interests and consciences and even election results.

Regarding these challenges and potentialities, we have been reassured by the optimistic ones that the development of AI will be made according to very strict principles such as: respect for international rights and human rights, for the maintenance of an adequate human control and for the permanent responsibility of those in charge.

In fact, if we accept that in the future, Science will be developed without any conscience and Technology may evolve without any values, without the presence of human factor in the control of AI and with the transference of decision making to an Algorithm, we will be alienating Power and transferring it to any other entity and loosing situational control.

We believe in the existence of a worldwide shared responsibility, in the construction of a future community, where the present and the future generations will be guided by a universalist vision of inclusion and that will not allow that the deep sea, the polar regions, space and cyber-space may be new areas of competition and struggle and that, on the other hand, it may be possible to create a balanced and supportive participation in world governance.

We follow the challenge launched by President Xi-Jinping in 2013, the “Belt and Road Initiative”, with three main purposes: promote development; share infra-structures, be a factor to promote local and international stability and peace.

During the visit of President Xi-Jinping to Portugal, last December, the two countries agreed to reinforce the Global Strategic Partnership Portugal-China, to increase the level of development of their relationship, by the signature of seventeen documents of bilateral cooperation, in the domain of the “One Belt one Road Iniciative”, including a wide range of sectors like connectivity, energy and digital.

Regarding the latter, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between two Portuguese and Chinese companies – MEO and Huawei – for accelerating the development and capacitation of 5G networks in Portugal, in order to grant a qualitative reliable increase in the access to mobile broadband network and communications.

We support the vision that international community must work together, for the development of technology, innovation of the emerging sectors and modernization of the traditional ones, based on a policy of cooperation that enables mutual advantageous relationships, the “Win-Win concept”, that ensures a fair and generous sharing of benefits.

I conclude my presentation wishing that this Conference may be an opportunity to find new areas of cooperation in the digital and cyberspace domains and that it may be a relevant contribution for the development, the promotion of international stability and vitality to the project “One Belt One Road Initiative”.

Thank you very much for your Attention!


* Este texto serviu de base para a intervenção do Autor na “6.ª Conferência Mundial da Internet (The 6th World internet Conference -WIC), realizada de 20 a 22 de Outubro, na República Popular da China, na cidade de Wuzhen. A intervenção ocorreu no Sub Forum “Working Together to promote Co-sharing and Co-Governance in Cyberspace”.

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José Luiz Pinto Ramalho

Nasceu em Sintra, em 21 de Abril de 1947, e entrou na Academia Militar em 6 de Outubro de 1964. 

Em 17 de Dezembro de 2011, terminou o seu mandato de 3+2 anos como Chefe do Estado-Maior do Exército, passando à situação de Reserva.

Em 21 Abril de 2012 passou à situação de reforma.

Atualmente exerce as funções de Presidente da Direção da Revista Militar e de Presidente da Liga da Multissecular de Amizade Portugal-China.

by CMG Armando Dias Correia