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

56 replies, 12 voices Last updated by Marta Pancaldi 5 years, 2 months ago
  • Cristoforo Marco Grasso

    Hi Everyone!
    Just one day without entering the Forum and I found such an incredible debate on Big Data!! I am very happy to find many new people here and to discuss with you all!

    Thanks for introducing the big debate on Big Data and Democracy! I think it is right to put it into the broader framework of big data and regulation authorities. In my view, big data are at intersection between privacy and competition law, and this is a relevant issue since these authorities generally do not cooperate (and furthermore they miss international coordination!).

    Let’s take for a moment the Competition perspective: what’s your feeling with respect to big companies such as Google, Facebook and so on..! Big Data are allowing them to practice an almost perfect price discrimination, to enjoy data network effects and to create an almost monopolistic market. How should competition authorities deal with it? On the other hand, these companies argue that “competition is just a click away”!!! Furthermore, Big Data are also drastically changing Business Models! Uber has an incredible amount of information about our transport habits, do you imagine how the public transportation could improve having access to Uber’s ( or similar) data?

    I think there is a lot of room to rewrite the private/State relationship here! What are your feelings?

    I suggest you these articles ūüėÄ


    Let me know!

    P.s. Thanks Gabbo it seems interesting, maybe I can send you an email?

    Francesca Masino

    I just came back from a weekend in Vicenza where I followed some conferences about Digital Platforms and on how their implementation is changing business models and behaviours.

    I read in the forum the fact that Big Data and Platform will help democracy… I do not totally agree on that, as in my opinion, the use of Big Data in some platform may lead to even more discrimination. There are studies that shows that for example¬†that on AirBnb or BlaBlaCar the platform is a filter to select the people you do not want to host or drive around. Furthermore, in AirBnb, when the person that host us is from another culture, we are willing to pay more. In Booking, women have to set a lower price than men to provide the service.

    You can’t eliminate personal information to make everyone the same, as, for example, I will never take a lift by someone that I do not know if it is a man or if I cannot see the photo.¬†How do you think discrimination can be reduced? Do you think therefore that Big Data are actually increase discrimination?




    Hi everybody,
    I agree with Francesca, I do not think that big data will help democracy.
    First of all, nobody force you to use Facebook, Whatsapp or any other platform, so it is your choice whether or not have an account. I know that it is hard saying no to that kind of technology, for several reason such as the possible sense of loneliness due to the network effect or get in touch with your friends or colleagues, especially in this days.
    The focus should be on ( as Cristoforo said ) privacy and competition. The merger between FB and WA has raised a number of problem and concern in terms of data transfer, tailored advertising and so on.
    Another thing that I want to point out, are the controversial and length of the term of use of this platform, that I guess none of us have read.

    To move back to the previous discussion about intellectual capital I find the article posted by Francesca extremely interesting. I am attending a course named information system and knowledge management, focused on the importance of soft-skills. We stressed how company ( the most successful ones) are inventing in high skilled manager.
    In my opinion investment in people equivalent to investment in machines and plants, and expenses incurred in education and training are equivalent to depreciation costs of physical assets.
    Please have a look at this article.
    what do you think about?



    I¬†think that the progress in technology and information is useful, however a financial regulation of capital is needed. it’s important to notice that almost half of the world capital is own by a little number of people; so¬†this it means that the money is stationary and doesn’t circulate. there should be a financial and legislative regulation.

    There should be a financial and legislative system which regulate and improve the world economic situation, as this capital block increases debits and it generates toxic asset.
    I think this is a dangerous problem and we have to manage it, beacause as long as the market and the financial power of corporations will not be modified, there will always be this condition of crisis.


    Adriano Fontanari

    Hi there,

    I really like this debate.

    As we said big data concerns different topics: privacy, democracy, regulations, IT and AI. It is a Venn Diagram: probably there aren’t yes / or answers but an intersection of different fields. Uber is gathering data about transport habits in order to improve its self-driving cars system.

    The development of Artificial intelligence will have a tremendous impact on the job market. @Giovanni: this is why Elon Musk said that universal income will be necessary: http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-universal-basic-income-2017-2?IR=T

    What do you think about artificial intelligence. Will it destroy or create new job opportunities?


    Stefania Tibiletti

    Hi Adriano! Good point!

    I can’t say to you if AI will destroy or create new jobs… because it really depends on what you are looking for

    An example of good integration is that one : https://futurism.com/artificial-intelligence-is-completely-transforming-modern-healthcare/     and moreover considering the aging of the world population this can be an important turning point.

    From a different point of view is it true that machines will replace manual jobs, but in my opinion this should be connected to a more specialized population. I mean, probably we will not need anymore unskilled workers, but this types of workers have to switch they capabilities in order to deal with the digitalization.

    But I’m ¬†not sure that this point of view is not true, because reading this article we are facing a big problem:¬†http://www.deccanchronicle.com/technology/in-other-news/040417/artificial-intelligence-yes-machines-are-going-to-steal-your-jobs.html

    And you Adriano what do you think abot AI as you introduce this topic?




    Florian Hofer

    Hey guys! Nice debate. I join yours if you don’t mind. Mine looks like dead ūüôĀ

    My opinion is that Big data could be a positive instrument for politics as well, but only as long as there is no imbalance. If one of the parties is way stronger than the other, by means of tools, force or similar, democracy does not exist any-more. No matter if it is in politics, or any other area (ex. war to stay simple.. Just think of Djinghiskhan. The skilled forces he had outbalanced every opponent by far. If it wasn’t for his death, we would probably be Mongolian, at least in part, today :/ ) It is true that it’s up to every single person to create online accounts and to make his data somewhat public, but don’t forget where today‚Äôs digitalization is directed to. Everything goes digital. Even going for groceries can be done online now. Everyone of those accounts can be a starting point to collect information about behaviours, nutrition habits and so on. Digitalization means that everything is conveyed into chunks of information and it’s just a matter of time until all of it can be processed in some way.

    I agree with @stefaniatibiletti. It depends on skills and also on costs. I’ve been once in a factory where they did the whole pcb assembly for control systems in-house. The whole process was automatic, endurance tests where done automatically and so on. What surprised me was that the external inspection of soldering and fixing of it was done manually by operators, or to be exact, women. The guide told us that there is no automated, cheap way to do that and that woman have far better coordination skills. Interesting, isn’t it?

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Florian Hofer.
    Adriano Fontanari

    Hi Stefania, thank you for your intervention.

    The topic is really debated among experts and it really difficult to predict the implications of Artificial Intelligence on the job market. AI will create new job positions (developers for instance), on the other hand many jobs will be replaced by machines. Will an equal number of new jobs be created? Nobody knows.

    The silver lining of this “is a forthcoming rapid demonetization of the cost of living.” – Singularity University (https://singularityhub.com/2016/07/18/why-the-cost-of-living-is-poised-to-plummet-in-the-next-20-years/)

    Yuval Noah Harari (futurist – also called the Seer of Silicon Valley) is really concerned about AI. I suggest you to read his book: Sapiens – A Brief History of Humanskind, it is really inspiring (hehttp://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-seer-of-silicon-valley-yuval-noah-harari-f9tcbb0qg). AI could replace thousands of jobs without creating new one, the solution? It might be universal basic income.



    Cristoforo Marco Grasso

    Good evening guys!

    Thanks Giovanni for introducing the big issue on the terms of use of many of these new business! I think that we are overlooking at this “problem” and the consequences could be unexpected!

    With regard to intellectual capital, you are so right, Intellectual capital is crucial, especially in these knowledge-workers world. I would say more, It has two key elements which makes it unique:

    1.It has not diminuishing returns

    2.It is limitless

    I think that IC is the ” new wealth of nations”. What do you think guys?

    Thanks Adriano, nice topic! Personally I do not think AI is going to destroy jobs, I just think that AI will force the market to find a new Equilibrium, but yes, It is a very controversial issue! ūüėÄ

    Francesca Musolino

    Hi everyone,

    AI is such an interest topic! I agree with the ones who said it probably will not steal our job position, but radically change our approach to job – as it is still forcing the market to find new ways. I’m happy that Francesca Masino mentioned Olivetti, who is remembered as the first influential Italian entrepreneur to consider the power of human capital. In my opinion the answer is still there: soon AI will be even better than human in responding¬†to¬†specific orders, but they still don’t have the ability¬†of solving problems. Wherever there’s an AI,¬†we’re facing the possibility it could crash and need the intervention of a human being – more flexible, more ability to adapt and more complex… in a positive way. Of course humans have to switch the way they consider working to a completely new vision but¬†this is up to us.

    About the match between AI and work, I found this interesting article about how AI is changing even HR, since the fase of employers recruiting: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2017/03/01/the-future-of-work-the-intersection-of-artificial-intelligence-and-human-resources/#5201751b6ad2

    Again big data are very¬†useful in the field of hiring, as it could give the selector a precise method to find exactly who you’re looking for in few steps – which¬†is the most expensive and long fase¬†in the process of hiring new workers.

    To conclude, I just want to add that no one in these years has a chance to¬†survive without registering in a social network, sending emails or just having a smartphone. This is at the same time the price of living in the 21st Century¬†and the gasoline for anyone who collects and sells big data. It’s not just about accepting tor not he condition and terms, but the fact you have to do it if you want to live in a modern¬†society.
    I leave you with this Ted Talk about privacy РI found since the first minutes lots of words we mentioned in the discussion, such as democracy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcSlowAhvUk



    The Government does not care about the fact that 3/4 of the jobs will disappear in the next 30-40 years.
    Regulation is the key, we have to understand how to get this people a job when they will be unemployed. A new regulatory capital framework is needed in order to avoid these problems.

    I think that the ‚Äúartificial intelligence‚ÄĚ is a useful method to manage that freetime of people who will be unemployed, even if I‚Äôm personally scared of the hard impact of technology on everyone‚Äôs personal and economic life. The risk, indeed, is that human relationships can be substituted to the artificial ones. As a consequence I think there is the need to emanate laws in order to limit the topics you are talking in the BigData forum, OpenData and AI.

    Technology should be a means to reach our ends, not the life reason. I suggest you to watch the movie ‚ÄúHER‚ÄĚ or the tv series ‚Äúblack mirror‚ÄĚ in order to understand what I‚Äôm talking about. In conclusion I stress the fact that the economic and social regulation is underestimated.

    As long as the only regulation will be in the hands of multinationals, we will be anchored to a capitalism system. In my opinion we really have to invest money in psychological and sociological studies with the purpose of add this human projects to technology.
    By doing this, we will have a real growth.

    What do you think about it?


    Paolo Marenco

    Sorry to enter in this cool discussion with a announce.

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

    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)

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Paolo Marenco.
    Francesca Masino

    Hi guys,

    It is so interesting reading all your point of view. What @giovannitoso said about Government made me think. I do not agree that Government should act to protect jobs that will disappear anyway, because it is more a responsability of companies to train or retrain their employees to adapt to change. Companies will need to make staff understange the change and make them part of it. It is true what @francesca-musolino said, new technologies are changing the way in which people interact. The absence of a digital culture and the right training are major challenges in companies. I read about this topic in the paper “Industry 4.0: Building the digital enterprise” of PWC, it is 36 pages long but I think it is valuable.

    However, the main problem companies will face is that employees do not know how to approach new technologies, but managers will not have the skills to build up or apply new business models that consider the changes. Therefore, two types of training are necessary: the first consists in the training of managers in organizational matters, and the second is for employees to understand that technology can only benefit them.

    What do you think?



    Adriano Fontanari

    Thank you Paolo for the reminder!

    Today I attended a conference, the topic was digital transformation and nonprofit. In this event, the former CEO of HP Italy presented the report Keeping Score: Why Digital Transformation Matters (https://www.ca.com/us/rewrite/articles/digital-transformation/keeping-score-why-digital-transformation-matters-report.register.html)

    “The GDP per hour worked increases of 30% thanks to the use of digital”¬†This is surprising, considering that we are talking about¬†digitalization and data driven decisions – not disruption.

    Adriano Fontanari

    @Giovanni: “The risk, indeed, is that human relationships can be substituted to the artificial ones”. I think that algorithms will help us to solve complex problems and human¬†relationships cannot be replaced by machines. Daniel Kahneman (Nobel prize) in his book: “Thinking fast and slow” posed the question: why are experts (like doctors) inferior to algorithms? We know what bias are and how they impact our decisions. In this way AI could help us to overcome these bias.


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