When one participates in a conference of this magnitude, one finds oneself divided between several sessions that are often not related to the schedule that one had planned in advance. I say this because I spontaneously decided to attend a session on artificial intelligence, and it turned out to be a very interesting discussion table. There, people of different ages, from 30 to over 75 years old, chatted freely and raised the question of whether artificial intelligence will ever be able to express feelings and make decisions like human beings do. We also discussed how these issues will affect the field of Environmental Impact Assessment over time, all together like philosophers.
Another session that I never miss is that of Mr. Behzad Raissiyan, who year after year has the ability to express the most complex thoughts with simplicity and clarity. This time he presented his “EIA cultural maturity theory.” I will try to explain it with my words. It started at the basic levels, the lowest scale, where those countries whose maturity is just hope are located, those that need to believe in the Environmental Impact Assessment process, but lack a set of basic requirements, such as some legal frameworks. He went through scales and reached maximum maturity, that point where no one wonders if they believe or not. In my words, I would explain it with an example: Would you ask a person if an arm is necessary on their body? Nobody would say what they want it for, they are born with two arms, the functions are known, and it would not occur to us to argue. This is how these countries have environmental care, sustainability and inclusion incorporated into their DNA. During his presentation, it was impossible not to try to locate on what scale Argentina is, what degree of maturity in EIA we have, which caused me a certain degree of sadness. Towards the end I found myself going from predicting the future to facing the harsh reality… these thought processes are what keep me going.
This time it was Malaysia, previously it was Canada and Australia, originally it was Africa. No matter where these congresses are held, with no doubt, the gathering of all these minds allows us to see further, perhaps to fly and think that no matter how long it takes to us, it is possible to work for a development that is compatible with a healthy environment. I wonder, will we have the ability to mature, or will we simply wait for the moment when artificial intelligence decides for us? Science fiction or reality… Personally, I don’t think I’ll get to see it.
Let’s go for IAIA, Ireland 2024, for more of these incredible experiences and learning.