Chema Alonso and Iker Casillas advocate for quality education to tackle the challenges of Cybersecurity and AI at UNIR Innovation Day Miami

  • The event was organized by the International University of La Rioja (UNIR) and MIU-City University Miami.
  • Chema Alonso, a specialist in technological innovation and cybersecurity, and Iker Casillas, a former elite athlete and founder of a startup, led reflection sessions on cybersecurity, AI, and education, alongside Daniel Burgos, Vice Chancellor of International Projects at UNIR and Rector of MIU.
  • The technology day was held in a hybrid format—both virtual and in-person—with streaming followed by thousands of people in America and Spain.

Experts in technological innovation have agreed on the importance of proper training for future professionals to face the challenges posed by cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. This was stated on Thursday during the international technology day, UNIR Innovation Day Miami 2024, in Mana Common in Downtown Miami, Florida, organized by the International University of La Rioja (UNIR) and MIU-City University Miami.

Chema Alonso, a renowned cybersecurity expert and Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of Telefónica; Iker Casillas, a world champion and football legend and founder of the startup SportBoots; and Daniel Burgos, Vice Chancellor of International Projects at UNIR and Rector of MIU, were the main speakers at the event in presentations and a panel discussion, where they reflected and debated on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and education from their professional fields.

Chema Alonso began his presentation by explaining the evolution of artificial intelligence and its current impact as generative AI in the world of cybersecurity, the opportunities, and risks of this technology. “We program a brain capable of solving many problems. And the issue is to solve the first one, and that’s how artificial intelligence is created. It’s about breaking barriers and reaching human cognitive skills with algorithms.”

As someone who has given lectures for many years at the legendary DefCON and BlackHat conferences about his hacking discoveries, he detailed the unstoppable itinerary of AI, with all its aspects in machine learning, facial recognition, computer vision, or text generation through cognitive capchats and DeepLearning like ChatGPT. “The generator of the desired objective will always defeat the discriminator because computation is infinite in the operating models of AI. Time is the problem, for which techniques are developed to solve it,” he notes.

He explained how amazing technological realities are already lurking around us, like the presence of digital or synthetic humans. To illustrate this, he referred to the movie Blade Runner, where bioengineered artificial humans want to make a place in our lives. “It’s a reality, and they are more effectively replacing certain professions. The trend is growing, and it’s part of the strategy of most AI companies, like ‘Meta Human’ and ‘BeHuman’. While AI has somehow reached human parity, the most important cognitive skill it has yet to achieve is creativity,” he adds.

Later, in another session led by Alonso, he analyzed what email means in both professional and personal life since the beginnings of the internet and its current vulnerability to attacks via malicious messages. He dissected these dangers, known as Spam, Phishing, or Spoofing, and offered alternatives to minimize the time dedicated to email management and maximize security.

The expert in disruptive technologies focused on the example of MyPublicInbox, a platform designed to prevent the arrival of spam and unwanted emails through a system of barriers or tempos to protect people’s time, while creating agile and direct communication channels. “Our idea is a mailbox intended for close circle interactions in public environments, accessible via the internet and under the principle of reasonable use of email,” he highlights.

Cybersecurity and AI Education

Daniel Burgos provided a more academic perspective by linking cybersecurity and AI from an educational standpoint with a future outlook. “Training in both fields should focus on specific professional skills and also on cross-disciplinary skills such as decision-making, critical thinking, and teamwork. The combination of such skills ensures that individuals who wish to delve into the current and future challenges of cybersecurity and AI do so with assurances,” he stated.


Burgos used the experienced voice of Chema Alonso to unravel concepts like ethical hacking—”pushing the boundaries of technology further, especially in the realm of security for the benefit of corporate security.” Alonso provided several guidelines that universities should offer cybersecurity professionals: “A 360-degree view, giving them a solid learning program and educating them on the need to continuously update their training over time. Another guideline is well-practiced by UNIR, which is to permeate industry professionals into their daily routine through talks, masterclasses, and inspire students not to see entering this discipline as a distant possibility,” emphasized the computer engineer.

During the conversation, the Vice Chancellor of International Projects at UNIR and Rector of MIU mentioned some academic programs related to the field offered by UNIR, such as the Master in Cybersecurity, and by MIU, such as the Master of Science in International Business Administration.

Burgos highlighted the focus of UNIR and MIU’s degrees as “applied to sectors so that the average user can apply AI” and emphasized that cybersecurity must be considered in future professions, “because it’s not just about protecting computer systems, but also about data, characterization of individuals, digital identity, access to information, among many other aspects in work and social life,” he concluded.

Roundtable with Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas joined a roundtable discussion with Chema Alonso and Daniel Burgos to talk about the partnership between Telefónica, the telecommunications multinational, and his company Sportboots, an accelerator and co-investment platform specialized in sports, innovation, and technology. “Both companies share the same concern for assisting sports and the wellbeing of society,” commented the former Real Madrid and Spanish national team footballer.

During his talk, he expressed an enthusiastic view on SporTech and explained the origins of his current activity in the field of technological entrepreneurship when he collaborated with Idoven on athlete health and wellness. “After having a heart attack, I saw the sensitive work this startup was doing on monitoring that vital engine, the heart. From that call, the idea to create an accelerator for the sports world emerged, and in just three years, we are working with 11 tech startups and have co-invested more than 2 million euros,” he stated.

In his lively conversation with Daniel Burgos, who moderated the discussion, Casillas also interwove memories of his friendship with Chema Alonso from childhood with the current ‘American Dream’ of expanding his company across the continent via a new office in Los Angeles. Casillas also emphasized the importance of cybersecurity and AI in our daily lives.

Finally, the 2010 FIFA World Cup champion offered advice to new entrepreneurs: “trust in your ideas—not your dreams—fight for them, to make them a reality.”

The event was held in a hybrid format—both in-person and virtual—and was streamed by thousands of people in America and Spain. The presentation of the sessions and the moderation of the roundtable were led by journalist Lucía Riaño.

UNIR Innovation Day Miami 2024 featured collaborations with MyPublicInbox, SportBoots, Wayra, ManaTech, and the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce.

About MIU

MIU City University Miami is an American university belonging to the PROEDUCA educational group, based in Miami, Florida, offering official undergraduate and graduate courses in online or hybrid formats. It is officially licensed by the Florida Department of Education’s Commission for Independent Education (CIE) and focuses its efforts on innovation in new methodologies and technologies for learning and advanced research internationally. MIU is also accredited with the academic and institutional quality seal from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), recognized by the U.S. Department of Education; and it offers extensive scholarship plans, both in online and hybrid modes (serving the Campus).

About UNIR

UNIR is a 100% online university that offers quality higher education through the most innovative technologies, always with the student at the center of its activities. In Spain, it offers 55 official undergraduate degrees, 136 postgraduate programs, 74 proprietary titles, and 4 doctoral programs aimed at providing comprehensive and personalized education to more than 66,000 students who attend its virtual-presence classrooms from 90 countries, primarily in Spain and Latin America. Its teaching method, tailored to the demands of the job market, makes UNIR a true social lever that breaks barriers and helps everyone, no matter where they are, fulfill their university and progress dreams. UNIR is part of the PROEDUCA educational group, along with other higher education institutions.