Home Forums Silicon Valley Study Tour – August 2019 Bicocca Silicon Valley 2019

140 replies, 13 voices Last updated by Serena 1 year, 5 months ago
  • Valentina

    Hi everyone,

    today should be the last day of SVST.

    @ jessinthebox96 I’m sorry you took it as a personal criticism, surely I didn’t want to.

    Let me explain, I have a few time like many people living in Milan and hinterland and, therefore, for some news that seem to me less valid (Fantozzi would define them in another way :-)) I don’t even lose the time I have available. I understand that the purpose of SVST is to participate in the forum by inserting suggestions and points of view, but I also need to be light enough to criticize useless things and stay on something “scientific”. Moreover, working in Health, I believe that some messages are dangerous if they are not from certified bodies and competent people. One cannot give the microphone to everyone, it would be very dangerous if this regards to science.

    Can one still say “disagree”?

    Prof. Garlati teaches that one person can have a minority opinion; however it is essential to explain it and motivate it.

    Eugenics @ jessinthebox96 is not a new topic, comparing it to tattoos, I don’t think it’s the same. Tattoo is a design on the body, it does not change the DNA or the RNA. Tattoo is a choice, the twins did not choose to have the modified DNA but others decided for them. In my opinion, We must be careful not to put apples together with pears. Maybe one day as you say @ jessinthebox96 will be a fad, but as other SVST colleagues have pointed out, the risk is to have some average men and some super men, more resistant to the surrounding environment. Tattooing does not open this scenario. My questions are: “how will biohacking be managed? What will the scientific community say about it? What will be allowed? Will there be laws that limit the action?”

    With regard to your cue about “smart bandages”, again, we have to ask ourselves the same question: what will happen? What are the health risks?

    Art. 32 of our Constitution says something about health, if I remember correctly … 😉

    With regard to biohaching it would also be appropriate to recall from criminal law that the mutilations of the body, if permanent, are not granted in our system art.5 c.c., read this article well, it is essential to get an idea.

    This is an interesting article.


    In Germany, “those who alter the DNA of other bodies on their own, without any license, can be fined or even punished with prison. ”

    This undermines the concept of DIY biology, DIY biology.

    I hope to find us for the famous “aperitivo”.

    It was a pleasure for me to read everything you wrote.

    Best wishes to all and to maiora semper.


    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Valentina.

    Hi everyone,
    if the forum is going to be closed today, then, it’s been a wonderful experience and I’m looking forward to meet you at the aperitivo.

    As a final word, I want to state my support to @valentina: her remark his of fundamental importance. Recently I’m having lots of medical checkups for laser eye surgery and it is really baffling that I’ve never head a clinician say “surely” or “never”. They always talk with “highly  likely”, “very unlikely”, “probably” through they possess literally a library of knowledge on the topic. They know that in some environments our universe is too complicated for complete understanding and prediction, but it’s a view that’s sadly missing in non-scientific people.

    See you tomorrow night, cheers!

    Jessica Amianto Barbato

    Hi everyone!

    @valentina don’t worry, didn’t take it as personal criticism! On the contrary, I appreciated and totally agree with what you say but for someone who works, let me say, in the “media” industry I know how important it is for people to know both the right and the wrong, valid opinions and crazy statements. I consider the bad side of the Internet as some sort of vaccine (common sense vaccine meaning): you have to understand where people are wrong in order to strenghten your opinion (which can be more valid and thought out).

    I totally support what you say about being careful when it comes to scientific results. Still, I suggest you take into account the fact that I was not referring to DNA modifications; my last post was about DIY devices inserted in people’s skin that are not necessarily related to DNA modifications. In those terms, my comparison between biohacks and tattoos was meant to be provoking: I completely fear a future where science is overcome by non-scientific beliefs. Also, as I wrote some posts ago, biohacking is being made available to the  public (remember the company that sold DIY biohacking kits online?), turning it into something people might perceive as easily accessible, maybe even acceptable (which, I’d like to remark, I don’t think it is!). It was not about the outcomes, it was about the perception of the possibility of getting biohacked in such an easy way.

    Of course, I have myself pointed out the risks of eugenics (but it wasn’t the core topic of my last post), the risks of creating a divide between stronger and weaker people, and I was taking for granted the fact that not all that you see online (and not all that the Internet community considers positive) comes without risks. Smart bandages are the result of a research conducted by biotechnologists at the Almquist Lab; don’t know if you have given a look to their website, but they work for the Imperial College in London, therefore I assume their publications are quite reliable. Of course, they are aware of the countereffects of their innovative device, and even though they haven’t written about then, I guess we should at least give a bit of credit to their work.

    I really like to hear both sides of the story and use the opinions I consider silly to have the tools to fight them, that’s it!

    Have a nice day!


    Here I am! 🙂

    I’m glad you didn’t take it personally @ jessinthebox96.

    As for Imperial College in London, publications can be reliable, but publications remain. I don’t believe in our system they will come very easily.

    The discourse on the cheap and the “do-it-yourself practices” as the modifications to the DNA are risky at the moment from different points of view especially the health. Let’s think about it, yesterday a child died of homemade circumcision.

    Have a nice day

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Valentina.

    Hi, I’m Giacomo, I’m at the end of my master degree in IT here in Bicocca and I’m also a bit late to the party, I’ve recently talked to Marco and found out about this forum, hope I made it just in time. I’ll surely go back and check some links you posted that had to leave behind for the time being, it took a while but I managed to read all your entries.
    I’ll give my contribution to the main topics and refer some of the things you said that I found most interesting, also hope to meet you in person soon enough.

    –On tech companies and job creation–
    I’d like to take on the subject of new jobs creation and loss of old ones, this cycle seems self self sustaining and I have no quarrels with it, what I find troublesome is that big corps nowadays need way less employees to earn the same amount of money as the giant corps of the past. We could argue that big companies of the last century were relates to manufacturing and other kind of industries while today we have more white collar jobs, but even manufacturing companies facing automation need less people and their earning have never been so high. This gives them huge power to lobby lawmakers, it’s enough for them to buy some time, as we know many breakthroughs have been done there where laws were not yet adopted, all for profit. Most recently has emerged that the biggest lobbists in eu parliament behind current biggest party were tech coprs from silicon valley, never happy to hear about this kind of interference.

    –Proactive regulations–
    There have been many cases of people that used to work for tech companies, mostly related to facebook, that openly talk about the damage that social media has done to social fabric. How they hire highly educated people to exploit human mind and make us dependant. If we knew it before creating it we might have created it in a different way, this is mostly true for the topic discussed in this forum. Concering regulations I think the main issue lies with the time and work needed to come up with the proper ones. It’s often a matter of years and usually after something to be sorry about. The importance of a proactive and preventive, while still educated, approach is in our best interest, I’ve seen you talking about using AI as test subjects, this might also reduce the time needed to develop the laws we need, overall I hope this is the subject that shift the approach on other topics as well.
    Picture me surprised when I read about the eu being spot on the current situation, recently there have been a couple of episode concerning the us congress where representatives were not as educated as we would hope and had me lose some faith in mankind.

    –Rant on AI–
    I’d like to rant for a second about how I don’t really see much interest in the subject of AI by people in this field, I know I’m not the only one studying IT so I hope it might be just me having this kind of experiece. IT has a lot currently going on, and while I favour AI and chose my classes accordingly, many don’t, also in AI most people, at least the media, seem to have tunnel vision on deeplearning, while often disregarding mixed or different approaches.
    Ai has some serious barrier to entry and we might be directed towards a future where sophisticated AI is a prerogative of big corps, some of which are already more powerful than a few nation states. Take for example the idea of fake news so well written that you cant spot them, without even considering directly misdirecting others think about how you could easily dilute honest opinion with similar and softer ones, not completely wrong but half so.

    Since you brought up the Dunning Kruger effect I thought to tone my entry accordingly, especially on face recognition that is mostly connected to my field of study I feel I’m most oblivious. You’ve been quoting many studies and new startups related to this technology, I wasn’t really fascinated by it when it was offered me as a class and cant talk about it in depth. There are though a few ideas that came to my mind that relate fr to other topics you brought up.

    I have a sweet spot for time saving tech though, I’m all for face recognition for shopping and avoiding queues when I’m done with picking what I need at the supermarket. The reason is
    that surely they might be able to track how I move inside a supermarket but that’s it, pictures of our faces are not that difficult to obtain anyway, as you mentioned if you have the shop customer card they know anyway. If they were filming me they might infer something if I delay a choice when I’m about to pick something but beside replanning the disposition of the items on the shelves cant think of other developements. If you wanna go full 1984 of course every camera becomes insidious but I’ll leave it out of the picture for now. I’m way more concerned about all the things that get to be published on social media platforms and that people tend to forget about, AI can surely scan your whole history on the platform in an instant and track your personal developement without you knowing, it’s a bit like the chinese government concerning cameras: at least they are transparent about not being transparent.

    –FR and selfdring cars–
    A quick note on regulations as mentioned before: selfdriving cars manufacturer are among those that took advantage of the current lack of regulation to further their developement.
    Selfdriving cars are in the same spot as the aforementioned topic, having been a commuter for a long time whatever can save me time I’d love to know. Concerning selfdriving cars I’m not sure it’s really of interest (face recognition), a car is more focus in understanding its position in space and that alone is a very expensive by a computational point of view, object prediction is another one. In the last couple of years Nvidia (they’re better know for making gpus, AI applications prefear parallel architecture, like gpus, and thus they made the transition) is the one that showed the best how a car see, there’s a real limit to how it can assess the nature of the person, also cameras might have a difficult time discerning facial expression at highspeed or when a person is facing the other side, id say overall it’s not a priority. Also the best tool to detect people for selfdriving cars are lidars, those cant see your face but can spot you really well even when with the weather you would blend with the surroundings.
    Of course you were talking about fr and the ability of cars to understand who gets priority in case of an accident but I’m simply not sure is currently possible with that degree of precision. I see you quoted a few time the movie I, robot with Will Smith, in that movie there’s also the perfect scene to describe this problem, when the protagonist is trapped inside a car and has more chances of surving than a young girl near him, assessing this and lacking time a machine decides to save him and not the other. The point is that this is among the hardest questions emerged since it’s about saying how much a life’s worth.

    –Surveillance and public transport–
    Regarding public transport, in Milan since it’s more relatable, I’ve noticed that the way other lines beside m5 are modernising looks like they are heading towards the same inner working of m5, they’ll probably install new barriers when they have substitued the old carriages and automate it. As you pointed out already this has more to do with automation rather than ai. Also if you wanna limit the number of people without tickets that use the train or the bus I’m not confident that we’d be able to do it soon, the way I imagine it is that there would multiple cameras that keep track of all the people that hop on and of all the carriages, the machine that validates your ticket must be inside the train as in busses and multiple cameras must be installed on and around it. I see it as a bit invasive. On the other hand trainstations are really open spaces and with multiple accesspoints, many people that do not intend to get on the trains still get there with others. On busses this might be solved as you allow only one way in and out with some kind of barriers as in metro station, problem is it might slow everything down. Back on the camera approach: if you punt a camera near the ticket machine inside and a couple looking at everyone you might pull it off, so to direct officers towards those busses with the highest concentration of people not paying for the ride. This last one idea is where probably AI would come in handy since optimization, of officiers time, is a task where even now it can really shine. I’d put my money on solving the busses issue first since I rarely miss a trip on a train where I’m not asked to show the tickets while I’ve never been stopped on a bus in Milan.

    –Quick rant on surveillance–
    A while back I’ve read that we europeans often prefear safety over freedom, beyond the pond they say they prefear the other way around, I prefear the latter. Historically speaking might be true, still it’s not the mindset I’d prefear when discussing surveillance and public order.

    –Really liked the experiment with whatsapp–
    The ads related to the whatsapp chat is creepy, seriously, though noticing it and the idea of making the experiment in the first place was brilliant

    –Genes, ethic and competition–
    I’d like to talk about the first couple of scene of Gattaca, in order to talk about eugenetics, also because I’m not strong on the hard sciences behind these studies.
    The movie puts the spotlight on two brothers, one is a boy like we’re used to know, the other is not genetically modified but genetically selected, I think this makes the transition from our reality to the discussion a little easier. Their parents are a normal couple that decides to have a kid the normal way and then feel the pressure of competition from the rest of the world so they later change their mind and select specific genes for his brother. It’s hard to ignore something that is clearly better, let’s ignore for a second the other message of the movie, we human beings are in constant arms race, I feel this is just an other field in which to play the same kind of game. Right now the idea of realizing this is taboo, I’d stretch it a little and say that we’re also lucky to know so little on how to do it. Sure right now we are talking about some ‘minor tweaks’ but I feel this is the kind of situation, where like with ai, we don’t know ho to put genie back into the bottle.

    –Diy projects–
    People without knowledge and possibly ethic trying to do diy projects and failing hard may not be a bad thing after all, if a rational fear concerning end results would bring a bit of common sense to the masses I’m all for it. Luckily it’s still hard to master this science so we might have more time to turn it into something of a mainstream concern.

    –Genetic immunity to diseases–
    I remember back when ebola was on the front page of every newspaper that the couple of ‘westeners’ that contracted it got transferred to facilities were new treatments were studied and among them were those where the patient is granted genetic immunity to the disease as it was discovered in other people. Often this kind of approach come with its own darkside as at times immunities are the bright side of bigger problems.
    Right now entry barriers might be on our side, when big groups of scientists are involved in tinkering with human genes it’s still possible to come to know of it. When very small group of scientist, or even just one, aided by AI will be able to do groundbreaking research that’s when I’ll be really worried. I mean that if you could measure and make a mean of mankind’s ethics and good will, where most people don’t want to exploit each other, you’d probably end with a reassuring result, cant say the same if you were to do it with a limited pool of likeminded people.

    –Why to do it and prerogatives–
    Knowing how to make smarter human beings I think will be the breaking point, having nothing to lose and everthing to lose may be good enough reasons to kickstart this trend in the worst possible way: you wanna stay on top? you may want a genius child; you wanna rise, still a good option; personal ethic may become as important as money in this regard.

    –where AI and genetics could meet–
    I thought this was a great way to wrap it up since it included most topics, the idea came when I read about Musk working on Neauralink as one of his side projects, it being a sort of middleground between genetic enhancing and AI doomsday scenarios, possibly granting us the power to tame both. I’m not talking about his company but his approach, if we consider major genetic enhancing we talk about new generations, in that case older ones might just compete with some sort of electronic implant. I’m simplifying things a bit to concentrate on concept itself, I know some of you have listened to the Joe Rogan Podcast where he was a guest and where he said that the best scenario is possibly the one where we merge with ai, and here I add that we might be able to limit the effects of gene manipulation if it were to happen.

    See you soon



    Good Evening Guys,

    I’m sorry if I wasn’t really active in the last period. I decided to take a break from socials and the internet in general. I needed some time of detox far away from notifications and instant gratifications.

    I had read that this could be the last day of this forum

    I’m sorry I had loose such an interesting topic like Biohacking, I hope we could have the opportunity to speak about it on other occasions.

    Have you organized the aperitivo?

    This said I’m glad to have been part of this forum with lots of interesting topics and great opinions and ideas!

    Thanks for sharing your opinions, see you soon


    Paolo Marenco

    Hey all how are you? . Here we are to the selection of the eligible girls and guys to come with us in SVST  24-31 August 2019.

    You made a great debate,  you are 10 with the very last arrived Giacomo…better late than ever 😉

    To permit us to evaluate you out of the Forum debate pls made your best and complete Linkedin page in english within March 31. It will be anyway useful for you, in US they ask more the Linkedin page than the CV.

    With the Linkedin page and the debate level we’ll made the eligible list within April 10th. We’ll give a order ( from  the 1st to  the 10th) because IBicocca is trying to find sponsors,  we do not yet know for how many of you.

    Anyway every eligible to attend the Tour,  could :

    1 make his / her personal Crowdfunding campaign ( like @LorenzoDaidone one)

    2 trying a Tech scouting project with companies interested to your Tour in Silicon Valley for their biz- tech goals


    Hi everyone, hi Paolo,
    thank you for the info. Here’s my LinkedIn page: Davide Toniolo.

    Have a good weekend,

    Daniela Fiorellino


    This is my Linkedin Page : https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniela-fiorellino-814a80158/?locale=en_US

    Have a nice weekend,

    Daniela Fiorellino.


    Good morning everybody! I hope you’re doing well 🙂

    Here’s my Linkedin page: Serena Vineis

    Have a nice Sunday,


    Jessica Amianto Barbato

    Hi everyone!

    Here’s the English version of my LinkedIn profile: Jessica Amianto Barbato

    Have a nice day!


    Good Afternoon everyone!

    Here’s my Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gianluca-belloni/

    Hope you have a nice weekend,



    Hi everyone!

    This is my Linkedin Profile:




    Here’s mine:


    See you

    Francesca Tomasello

    If you check out my profile I had already linked my LinkedIn profile.


    Have a nice day!



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