Home Forums Silicon Valley Study Tour – 20-26 August 2017 Genova Silicon Valley 2017

43 replies, 13 voices Last updated by Marta Pancaldi 6 years, 4 months ago
  • Paolo Marenco

    Hey UNIGE people…good debate!.

    Attend to the conference I’ll will make in DIBRIS on April 5th 2-4 pm

    Here is the format for yr cv (1 page is a must!) for selection to attend to SVST  august 2017 .

    Send it to  send it to me within April 15. From April 19 you will find here  the eligibility to the SVST 2017…and you selected could start to organize the trip    marencopaolo@gmail.com

    Paolo Marenco

    Follow live on Facebook Confindustria Genova page, tomorrow morning 8 am conference of Saverio Murgia, Engineer from UNIGE , SVST 2014. Or join it!

    The young story of Eyra and its technology for blind people Horus, born after the SVST,  is amazing and only at the beginning.
    If you cannot follow live streaming, from friday afternoon or monday, you could follow recorded on Confindustria Genova Coffetech page ( cool event, all fridays, since 4 months)

    Cristian Accetta

    Hello guys!

    I’m Cristian, a Computer Science Engineering student. I know the study tour Silicon Valley only since a few days.

    Last week I heard Paolo’s talk about the tour in my department of University and I found it very interesting and stimulating, so I decided to partecipate to the Coffee Tech event in Confindustria with Saverio Murgia and it was outstanding. He has made an incredible project, working with around twenty people spread across several countries and plans to increase their number to 250.

    The event has been my very first contact with the real working world, and I want to see a lot more in silicon valley.

    Giulia Vezzani

    Hi all,

    I’m Giulia, a PhD student in Advanced and Humanoid Robotics at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genova. I attended Paolo’s conference at DIBRIS, University of Genova on April, the 5<sup>th</sup>. I found the Silicon Valley Study Tour a very exiting project! I also like very much the idea to challenge students about such a hot topic of our time: Big Data and the influence they might have not only in every day life but also in historical changes.

    I was totally astonished when I finished reading the article. Even if I knew that all our “digital” data are used by big companies for commercial purposes, I had never thought about the benefit that politicians and governments can gain from them.

    Internet and social networks have been a great invention. They allow us to get any information we need, to keep in touch with people all over the world and to share all the best of our life. But, like it always happens, we must be aware of the power of technology. Is it possible to prevent our sensitive data from being bought by big companies for their own gain? And if not, should we need a suitable legislation in order to preclude their use for unscrupulously influencing decisions of global importance, such as Brexit and the election of the new president of the US?

    I think the answer should be: “absolutely yes”.

    What do you think about it?

    I am very curious about the opinions of the other “Genovese” students that attended Paolo’s conference!



    Cristian Accetta

    Hi Giulia,

    I read the article too and it’s surprising how they did such a highly accurate analisys based on social network data and how they used it. I thought that companies want to know everything possible of people for business, but they cannot because of the difficulties of data analisys, I’m studying it now and my professor always says that a successfull data analisys has not been discovered yet, otherwise there wouldn’t be the economic crisis, so I’ll talk to him about this article.

    However I think that people must be aware of what technology can do and learn the best practises to avoid the “theft” of their data, even if I know that they don’t want to worry about every single thing they do on the Internet with their smartphones or pc. So I completely agree with you on the need for adequate legislation to protect us, “fortunately” in Europe users must choose to share certain types of data with the companies, unlike the USA.

    Luca Panzi

    Hello guys!

    I’m Luca Panzi a 22 years old student of computer engineering in Genoa.

    I attended Paolo’s conference on April 5th at DIBRIS, and I have to say that it was really exciting!

    We have to think outside the box, we have to jump! As many ligurian did!

    Silicon Valley Study Tour is the perfect trampoline for all of us.


    I also read the article shared by Paolo.

    I was already a little informed on the “Trump election” theme, because I was intrigued on how he could win against all media predictions.

    Nevertheless, reading it I thought: “WOW!”

    It’s really incredible how Kosinski can get a detailed profiling of any person, only using their Likes on Facebook!

    This is a little recap of my thought:

    Big Data => Power (Cambridge Analytica know it very well!)


    I am a blogger, and in my own little way, I realized how it’s important to know who visits your blog.

    We often think we’re not “bugged” but it isn’t so!

    For example, for every person who visits my blog I know:

    Sex, Age, Interest, City, Type of Device, Access time, Browser, Access network, What they do on my blog, How they come to my blog, etc..

    I use all of this data to understand how and what to write, when I have to publish articles and much more.

    Extremely useful for me, much more useful for an election campaign!

    Really intriguing OCEAN method.


    In the future it will be easier and easier create the perfect advertising campaigns with this methods (Marketers will love it!).

    It will be interesting to see how the situation will evolve, and according to @giuliavezzani I think that all of this need a specific legislation.

    On this topic, I suggest this video where Marco Montemagno explains his point of view.

    And what do you think about it? Are you for or against massive profiling?

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by Luca Panzi.
    Giulia Vezzani

    @cristianaccetta, I’m very curious about the opinion of your professor about the article. For sure, he’s right about the fact that a ” successful data analysis has not been discovered yet”, but I think we should think about possible solutions before that discovery will be achieved 😉

    , I don’t want to be against massive profiling. But it’s a powerful weapon and the goodness of its effects depends on the user! Your data use must be absolutely innocent (I hope ;)), but as you could use them… everyone can do it.

    Andrea Parodi

    Hi everyone!

    I’m Andrea and I will turn 22 shortly. I study Computer Engineering at the University of Genova and I’m currently working as a blogger and web marketer: digital innovation and marketing are two great passions of mine.

    Before joining the discussion, I wanna spend a few words about the video of the Mind the Bridge event (with Vincentelli, Marini and Viarengo) that Paolo shared with us. I appreciated in particular three concepts:

    –> The importance of risk taking, associated with the need to think big about our entrepreneurial ideas.

    –> You cannot “learn” the innovation, you have to live it and put yourself into an environment that stimulates  your creativity and gives you the right means to turn ideas into reality.

    –>Don’t rely on luck (as Vittorio said), put a great amount of work upfront, even when you are not seeing results, and draw your conclusions only at the end: learn to help luck coming to you!

    I strongly suggest the view of this interview to everybody in this forum, because it incorporates a lot of “Silicon Valley vibe” (or at least what I can imagine of it 😉 ).


    Now it’s a little bit late for me to share my point of view about big data, I’m doing that tomorrow. Meanwhile, I wanna thank you all for the great food for thought that you are providing to this forum: I’m really excited about this exchange of ideas on such an intriguing and hot theme!

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by Andrea Parodi.
    Igor Pio Bianchi


    Hi guys!!

    I’m Igor Bianchi a Computer Science Engineering student.

    I attended at Paolo’s presentetion of the tour last week and I was very interested on this opportunity.

    I also participated in the Coffee Tech event in Confindustria with Saverio Murgia and i  was really astonished about his speech.


    I read that article too and i was stuck by this passage from the article:

    ““Seventy “likes” were enough to outdo what a person’s friends knew, 150 what their parents knew, and 300 “likes” what their partner knew. More “likes” could even surpass what a person thought they knew about themselves.”

    It made me aware of the incredible power of the research given by  Kosinski but also of his dangerousness.

    I’m not surprised that such amazing work it’s been used for political purposes and to influence people’s choices thanks also to the “opt out policy” in the US.

    Like @cristianaccetta said: “fortunately in Europe users must choose to share certain types of data with the companies”.

    I agree with all of you about the necessity of a legislation to protect us, but i want to highlight that despite possible influences, every final decision is taken by us.


    I’m really upset about Kamiski’s situation because even if  he is the creator of this powerful research, he is not responsible for its employment in political purpose.

    Luca Panzi

    @giuliavezzani In my opinion, the way I use my data and the way Trump uses his data are the same!

    We both use data to persuade people to do something: I try to persuade them to buy something, Trump (Cambridge Analytica) tries to persuade people to vote him!

    Same usage, different goals.

    Socials and internet are the new channels of communication!
    It will be really silly don’t to use them: internet is the new radio, internet is the new television.

    And if politicians could use these “old” channels for their purpose, why couldn’t they use socials?

    I’m according to you that we need a legislation for data acquisition, but in my view this is a legitimate usage:)

    Advertising is a new way to communicate, that’s it 🙂

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by Luca Panzi.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by Luca Panzi.
    Cristian Accetta

    @giuliavezzani When I talked to my professor about the article he said that it’s a very good invention and Cambridge Analytica will become rich in a short time, because this model of manipulating people’s thinking with direct and personalized messages can, but especially must, be applied to everything. He was impressed about the count of Facebook likes to understand people’s hallmarks and said that Kosinski must have known that someone would use his discovery for business and political purposes. However he thinks that every company must share a good part of its data, even with competitors, so they all can do a better job and grow faster in the right direction, instead of trying where others failed.

    @igorpiobianchi I think that Kosinski isn’t totally responsible for what happened, but he cannot even be completely “innocent”, because he made a research that discovered “the existence of the bomb” and he published it only thinking that he requested users to access their data and someone who wanted to try his method needs to do like him, but it does not.

    @luca I think that we have to use internet and social media like you wrote, but with people’s permission, otherwise there would be privacy violations. I also think that it could be built a system in which every company or person that shares its data can access the same data of others.

    Andrea Parodi

    @giuliavezzani @luca As for the usage I agree with Luca’s point of view: the difference is in the goal but the general type of purpose is exactly the same.

    In my opinion the problem is not about companies (obviously a strict legislation is highly necessary though) but mainly about people’s understanding of the crucial importance of their data. I think that we are so used to social network and other online stuff that we tend not to pay any attention on where we are sharing our data (sensitive or not they are both important to, for example, a market analysis).

    “It’s just a Facebook like” we could think, the article showed us it’s not!

    Facebook understood it clearly (even changing likes’ privacy as consequence of kosinski’s research) and now we can see the results in it’s advertising platform. During my work I notice that nearly every week they add new targeting options: for example you can address your ad to people who have recently been to a physical place, as a restaurant, based on GPS data.

    To me this theme has two phases that lead to “the future”: the first one is, as I said, the necessity for people to be conscious of the constant and enormous amount of data that we are generating (and their astonishing power), starting paying more attention and giving a “weighted” consent to their use.

    Now that we have that phase set up (and it won’t be a matter of days) we can operate a twist in mentality.

    I think the commercial power of this accurate profiling for companies is clear to everybody in the niche (companies will have a “search engine for people”, as said in the article) but I wanna suggest a different focus, ignored for the most of the time:

    continuously improved user experience.

    Customers can have products and suggestions that are perfectly tailored to their tastes and needs, and I, as a customer, don’t dislike this opportunity at all (I obviously love this as a web marketer).


    And you, what do you think about this point? When you see this extremely targeted advertising, what do you think? Do you feel “hacked” or like the improvement in the service?

    Lastly, how much attention do you pay when you are spreading data about you online?

    Andrea Parodi

    As I was reading stuff across the internet, I was thinking about the new big change that IOT (internet of things) will bring to the big data scenario (apart from what it will do to people’s everyday life).

    If we can do so much only with the activities on a social network, what will be possible to know about a person when even data from a fridge will be available?

    This sets the need for more and more complex data processing, with new solutions for both the analysis and the storage (quantum computing, cloud, etc.)

    Again we will have to pay extreme attention to the privacy aspects of data gathering but also, and more than ever, to the security of the new developing ecosystem: the possibility to take control of some object in a house is no more only tied to science fiction!

    Are you excited or afraid of this future technical development? (If you’re wondering, I’m thrilled!)


    Igor Pio Bianchi


    If I take as example my Facebook home page, I noticed that ads are often related to products that I searched on the web.

    I don’t feel “hacked” in this situation because it could help me to find the best offer on that product but I think I wouldn’t feel the same if I saw my homepage full of political ads.

    I know it’s the same method: a company which try to convince you to “buy” its products, but I think I would feel a little bit “hacked” if someone used my data to suggest me an “idea” (like a political one) than if they suggested me a product.

    Anyway, I don’t pay too much attention on ads especially on social networks.

    Luca Panzi

    I wrote about a particular usage of data: persuasion.

    introduced a new point of view: user experience.

    These, in my opinion, are two sides of the same coin, both extremely important for a business.


    Talking about “targeted advertising”, the first time I see this type of banner I felt spied! However, when I get used to this, sometimes I found it really useful.

    Obviously now, that I work on advertising and affiliations, I love this opportunity!


    Anyway, something has changed since I started working on this field: I pay more attention when I have to share my data, and if possible I don’t do it.

    I also began to notice how many applications would access to our Facebook profiles!

    Often mobile games give us a little reward if we connect the game with our Facebook profile.. Why?


    Data Collection.


    That’s a great move: I (game producer) give you something that doesn’t exist (and it’s free for me), in return you (player) give me all your data.

    Brilliant, really brilliant.


    Why don’t we take all of this in the “real world”? Let me explain!

    With the ever growing popularity of IoT (just see McDonald’s automatic cash registers), physical stores could acquire tons of users’ data.

    For example:


    “Login on Facebook to get a 10% discount!”


    How many people will think this?


    “Something free and fast for a discount? Let’s do it!”


    Data acquisition could become a sort of new coin, “Internet Mentality” will be also used in physical stores and we probably could see businesses as “Blogs” in the future, knowing all about our customers.

    As blogger and Web Marketer I’m really excited for that!


    And you? What do you think about it?

    This is just one of my fantasies, or could really be the future?

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