Iran engineer travel ban return to USA Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Cómo los inmigrantes de Oriente Medio impulsan la competitividad de Estados Unidos

DUBAI – En su novela de ciencia ficción de 1961 Forastero en tierra extraña, Robert A. Heinlein eligió a un lingüista musulmán, el "Dr. Mahmoud", para ayudar al protagonista del libro, criado en Marte, en su transición a la vida en Estados Unidos. Forastero puede ser ficción, pero la selección por parte de Heinlein de un intérprete musulmán estaba anclada en la realidad. De hecho, la gente de Oriente Medio y del norte de África (MENA) ha oficiado de "traductores" de la innovación y el descubrimiento en Estados Unidos durante décadas.

Una investigación reciente que llevé a cabo, junto con dos colegas del Instituto Austríaco de Tecnología, Georg Zahradnik y Bernhard Dachs, se basó en datos de patentes presentadas en Estados Unidos para arrojar luz sobre el papel que los individuos de ancestros árabes, kurdos, persas y turcos ejercen en el desarrollo de la tecnología estadounidense. Comenzamos nuestra investigación después de la orden ejecutiva del presidente norteamericano, Donald Trump, que prohibía el ingreso a Estados Unidos de ciudadanos de seis países de predominancia musulmana (la lista originariamente incluía a Irán, Irak, Libia, Somalia, Sudán, Siria y Yemen; Irak luego fue descartado).

Lo que descubrimos no fue ninguna sorpresa para nosotros. Pero aquellos encargados de garantizar que Estados Unidos siga siendo el líder del mundo a la hora de aportar nuevas ideas al mercado deberían estar preocupados.

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