Home Forums Silicon Valley Study Tour – August 2018 Trento Silicon Valley 2018

40 replies, 9 voices Last updated by Stefania Tibiletti 5 years, 5 months ago
  • Chiara Grossi

    Good morning  guys!! Thank you Alessia for your post, I found it very interesting! I didn’t know about Arctic Shores: this is such an useful instrument to guarantee diversity and equality in the hiring process of a company. Of course I think that technology can help to avoid discriminating behaviours because of its neutrality.

    Moreover what get my attention was the article about Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data and it suggested me a new topic which I think is really important: regulation on tech companies. As a matter of fact, if you think about it, tons of personal informations are owned by private companies like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google (just think about your gmail account) and we do not really worry concerning what could happen and what the consequences would be if these companies decide to make public our data. Furthermore these data are used by many companies to know more about their employees, without them knowing it. In essence they have the key for the door that separates our private from our public life, and this key is in private hands.

    I suggest you to read this article by The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/legal-horizons/2017/dec/14/gdpr-the-new-data-protection-law-giving-watchdogs-a-mega-bite) that talks about GDPR, an European regulation that will be enacted this summer.

    So what do you think about this topic? Is it necessary in your opinion that governments force these private companies to follow more strict rules? Which would be the economic problems/opportunities related to the enaction of these regulations?


    Good morning everybody!
    Thanks a lot Chiara, and Alessia for the new topic.
    Cut to the chase, about applying a strict regulation to that data management, I think this is quite necessary.

    Everytime we connect any applications with our fb account, there are some important things we don’t pay enough attention to: permission requested. Apps usually ask directly to access to your personal information, your friend list, your photos, etc… Me in first place, I don’t usually spend so much time checking what I’m actually giving them.

    Another example may be any terms and conditions we accept when we sign up somewhere: people usualy don’t read any of them cause they think “since they’re online and anyone can see them, if there was really something harmful, someone should have already done something about it”.

    That happens because it would take such a long time to read all of them, and also understand all of them. So, even if every permission came along with some explanation about the use of data, probably only a very few people would actually take the time to read them. For this reason, that “someone who should do something about it” should be the government, or an institution in charge of the regulation, someone who has to make some previous checks.

    GDPR is a big step forward but I think we still need to rais society awareness on how valuable are their data. As we hardly give personal information face-to-face to strangers, we should do quite the same when it comes to the web. We really should take the time to know the “other side” (the one who get our information) and to understand what he need them for and what are the risks.

    Glad to hear others’ opinions.


    Welcome to the forum Chiara!

    Thank you for bringing out this fundamental problem pf privacy, which regards us more than we know

    I feel like even though GDPR is a big step forward in protecting what we most commonly consider private data, It can’t be considered as the definitive solution for privacy protection. It is true, some megacorps know everything about us. The GDPR limits what these companies can do with our data. Though, there’s very much a company can get to know about us even by simply running algorithms able to connect the crumbles of information we leave  behind us when we move on the web. This kind of behavior isn’t penalized by GDPR because this kind of data isn’t considered personal and sensitive. An example is what happens when someone tries to buy a plane ticket online. Try visiting the same website from different locations: you will discover that the price for the same flight are not the same. What’s happening here is that a company is tracking your web surfing history in order to market a product specifically to you. Isn’t that a violation of privacy? Furthermore, basically each one of us sees a different reality when looking into the internet.

    Can you see the phenomenological problem along with the privacy one?

    Data is the financial backbone of many internet services. No data to sell, no cash flow for internet companies, no free services on the internet. This is the root of all evil. Until the internet will run on this business model, companies will strive to mine data out of any possible field, and until this data will be sold to obscure third party companies our privacy will be endangered. This is the problem we need to address.


    Rachel Mazzucchi


    thanks for the new thread, Chiara. I also think the GDPR is a big step forward in personal data management, although clearly a lot of work is yet to be done.

    To not stray too much from the topic at hand of diversity, one thing that I do appreciate of this new piece of legislation is that it explicitely deals with algorithm discrimination. As I have discussed in a previous post algorithms reflect the biases of the coders who write them. As human welfare depends more and more on algorthm design e decision making, it is important that we start discussing more about algorithm accountability. Algorithm discrimination is a topic that is becoming more and more urgent because individuals or groups are starting to be treated unfairily because of algorithm decision making for example through automated profiling. The GDPR deals with it by regulating data sanization, algorithm transperency and most importantly, it paves the way for algorithm auditing which I believe will be the future of tech companies regulation, similarly to how the financial industry is tightly regulated nowadays. Basically audits are third party inspectations based on models of audit studies from social science.

    It’s particularily interesting for the topic of diversity because algorithm audits have recently been used by researchers and journalists to reveal discrimination in online advertising. For example  a new study by Carnegie Mellon University found that Google’s online advertising system showed an ad for high-income jobs to men much more often than it showed the ad to women (can be found here: http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/danupam/dtd-pets15.pdf). As one of the researches stated “Given the big gender pay gap we’ve had between males and females, this type of targeting helps to perpetuate it.” Having auditors and deciding what kind of biases we want to perpetuate is ultimately a policy question.

    Because the GDPR is the first attempt to allow or even require audits, the success or failure of the GDPR has far reaching consequences in this particular regard, that extend beyond Europe.


    Good evening everybody!

    I do agree with you Rachel, I read this New York Times’ article once, which talk about the same Carnegie Mellon University’s study: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/upshot/when-algorithms-discriminate.html
    Another important thing, in my opinion, if algorithms are going to be the future, and they probably will, we gotta keep in mind that they’re written by human being and they kinda reflect the man/woman who created them. As Claire Cain Miller said: “Algorithms are written and maintained by people, and machine learning algorithms adjust what they do based on people’s behavior”.
    So, since they’re “just” a sequence of rules that the machine follows, if those instructions includes prejudices, it’s easy to meet discriminating algorithms.

    I think that, in order to clean algorithms from all the biases, we’ve got to “clean” people minds from those prejudices and, unfortunately, this take us back to the first problem.

    A few days ago I said that we should find a way to make people (especially enterpreneurs) think about integration like innovation.
    The assembly line system, an important innovation of the second industrial revolution, allows to create standard products, increase productivity and reduce production costs.
    So now, some big questions I guess are:
    How integration makes a real difference in a company?
    What’s the thing that only mixed board companies have and why should it be importat in this future we’re going to face?


    Hi everyone! I’m Mario Della Corte, I’m a student at the university of Trento’s faculty of law. I ‘m interested in SVST 2018, but unfortunately I don’t have enough information about it. If possible, would someone tell me the candidature’s procedure? I thank you in advance.



    Stefania Tibiletti

    Hi guys! I’m happy to see that you are developing such an engaging discussion!

    I would like to help you, because I don’t want you to being stuck inside the GDPR, is an amazing topic, but it can also be hard to discuss it.

    So I have another cool topic for you :   https://www.tpi.it/2018/03/13/casa-texas-costruita-stampante-3d-24-ore/
    Unfortunately the article is in italian, but I have some questions:

    First of all, what do you think about it, and the application of this project? Can you see it also with other, different application?

    Have a nice day! 🙂


    Alessia Antonuzzo

    Hi guys! 😊 I’ve been interested in 3D printing for quite a while now…so I’m very happy about this new topic! I first found out about it three years ago during my study abroad in Belgium, through the firm Materialise- http://www.materialise.com/ – so I’m very glad to introduce you to it.

    Materialise is a Belgian company founded back in 1990 and a pioneer in this field: its goal is to “launch innovations that have the potential to forever change the faces of industries” with the mission of making “a better and healthier world”. It first started as a spin-off of the KU Leuven (the university where I studied) and their story is incredible. (please go on their website and read about that, because it’s super #INSPIRING http://www.materialise.com/en/blog/27-years-of-innovation-a-history-of-materialise-pioneers)

    Since this technology can have a huge impact on life in many different ways, this field has so much potential – let’s think of the possible applications.

    One is, as in the article, the construction industry.

    Then, I can think of healthcare: for example making medical devices (go check out Kaiba’s story https://youtu.be/O82nC9ro6Io) or for transplants (this is the article about the first face transplant! Crazy! http://www.materialise.com/en/cases/3d-printing-belgiums-first-face-transplant)

    Another possible field of application is interior design and fashion (this way another customer segment would be targeted) and an example is 2013 New York Fashion Week! http://www.materialise.com/en/press-releases/new-york-fashion-week-materialised

    But let’s see what are the main pros and cons of 3D printing:
    PROS + : rapidity and opportunity to do something extraordinary

    CONS – : costs and ergonomics (dimension)

    To conclude, I want to go a little bit out of my comfort zone, suggesting my idea for a new business. Imagine we can cut costs and increase the portability of the 3D printer… now, don’t you think it would be awesome to have one at home? You could avoid long lines in the supermarkets and be able to MAKE your own stuff!

    Engineering of materials is developing at the speed of light and I’m pretty sure in a few years someone will come up with the perfect material – something you can store in your house and use it whenever you need! The software shouldn’t be a problem either: anyone has a pc at home nowadays! So imagine… your baby has just broken his favourite glass. No problem, you can make a new one in a few minutes. Do you think that would work? I’m VERY curious to read your feedbacks! 😊




    For anyone who’s not that in touch with 3D printing, just like myself, it really takes little researches to understand how important and revolutionary this invention has been, is, and is going to be. The range of uses that comes with it is limited only by our imagination: from every-day products like glasses or pot, to clothes, art, peculiar things like buildings or medical tools, etc…

    The article Alessia reported (thanks by the way) speaks for itself but I’d like to post another important trasplant that has been done four years ago: a 3D printed skull transplant. As the NBC report in this article: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/medical-first-3-d-printed-skull-successfully-implanted-woman-n65576, the 3D printed skull not only kept the patient alive but also give her back the sight, leaving almost no traces of the surgery.
    Before 3D printing they used to build concrete skull parts that usually didn’t fit exactly the part removed resulting in difficulties to heal properly the patient. This <bold>accuracy</bold> of 3D printing can completely change lives and it surely means a lot.

    The most astonishing thing about Stefania’s article, beside the chance to literally “print” houses, is <bold>timing</bold>. It took less than a day to build a livable furnished home, and this is quite crazy in my opinion. And it’s gonna be also important for every Haitian and El Salvador people that are going to live them

    In economic activities we could use 3D printing in order to decrease imperfection and flaws in mechanical production due to it’s accuracy but, in general I think 3D printing could find applications in almost any activity that needs <bold>precision</bold> and <bold>timing</bold>.

    About the downsides, usually 3D printer are quite big, hard to move form a place to another and they need some space that maybe a small loft have not. But, taking a look back in the years, computer were big as a room once, hard drive and other storage devices took several space for a bounch of Kb. Now we all got a computer smaller than our hand in our pocket, hard drave can store Tb and micro sd cards that you literally lost everywhere due to their dimension.
    I guess 3D printer size issues are gonna be “resized” in the very near future and we’ll probably have a 3D printer in our home just like we got a television, a microwave or a simple printer.

    Rachel Mazzucchi

    Goodmorning everyone,

    thanks Stefania for the new topic. I think 3d printers are indeed a revolutionary technology and there is no doubt that they will play a big role in our life in the near future. However there are some issues that come with it and some major regulation will have to take place in parallel and hopefully before it becomes a consumer based good, I reckon.

    About the printed house, I think it’s wonderful. As Matteo mentioned, the truly astonishing thing is the timing. The ability to build a house in 24 hours could do wonders in the developing world. And as suggested by Alessia, the medical field is another one with plenty of valuable and life changing applications.

    As 3d printing develops I think we wil see a correlated growth in commodity trading and retailing. I think a business idea in this latter field could actually be interesting to develop. However, from a social and moral standpoint, the issue I have with an open B2C market for 3d printers is that if it becomes so easy to build and replace objects, I fear it will give a whole new push to overconsumerism. As Alessia said, everytime something breaks, you can just throw it away and have a replacement in the matter of minutes. The one possible solution would be to have an outstanding recycling system (another field with potentially high correlated growth that could serve as a spirngboard for new business ideas), but as of today (since we do not have an outstanding system yet) it worries me. The problem of limited resources is becoming more urgent and the risk of creating an increasingly “wasting” culture has to be dealt with with a lot of caution.

    Another problem, which is not new and you might have heard of, is what about illegal and dangerous objects? The fact that anyone could produce their own weapons at home is kind of scary. There are open source 3D images for printing guns going around the web already. Actually, and ironically, in Austin, Texas they not only have build the first 3d printed house in the US but also host Defense Distributed (website: https://defdist.org/), a start-up which is selling these 3D images for printing guns at home. Before we make 3d printers available to everyone, I want to know for sure that the government has control over the technology and its potential implications.

    Let me know how you feel about these possibly negative sideeffects and if you think they could be problematic or not 🙂

    Chiara Grossi

    Hi guys!!

    Thank you Stefania for introducing the 3D printing topic. It’s so interesting! I was really amazed by learning about the house built in less of a day and even about the medical applications of 3D printing! In fact I already knew about 3D printing but just applied to prototyping and fashion. The idea that a technological innovation can change and save lives excites me as nothing else! I think this is the main goal of any innovation.

    Anyway, about what Alessia suggested, I think it is highly probable that in a near future 3D printers will be in most houses, as Matteo said, just think about smartphones and micro SD or moreover, one of the latest devices which are spreading, think about mini printers that you can connect to you phone and print whatever you want wherever you are.

    Even the objections raised by Rachel are important and must not be underestimated. As any new technological innovation, governments and society will have to discuss and think about what would and should be the limits and the rules applied  to this technology (for example I’m thinking about nuclear fission or as we were discussing about some days ago, social media and internet). But what I hope and I believe in is the great change that this technology can bring to our society.

    If I have to suggest a possible development for 3D printing I would say large buildings construction. In fact what they did in Texas is amazing but try to think what would it mean for the civil engineering sector if it would be possible to build skyscrapers, tunnels, bridges with the cooperation between fast and safety 3D printers and experts and skilled workers and engineers. It would revolutionize the concept itself of how to build cities and structures: in fact it will broke some limits related for example to buildings’ shape, money and time needed, workers’ safety. If you are interested in civil engineering 3D printing application check out this article! (https://www.whirlwindsteel.com/blog/impacts-of-3d-printing-on-the-construction-industry). It gives good examples and pros/cons about this item.

    Then I suggest you to watch this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emUlHFWcHck) about 3D pen, just for fun 😉

    Can’t wait to hear from you what would be in your opinion some more sectors for the development of 3D printing!


    I had first thought of the potential of 3d printing last summer, when I watched this piece of documentary (part of a terrific series I highly recommend)  about it: https://www.raiplay.it/video/2017/08/Stampanti-3D-per-strada-a-Chicago—25082017-d49ae9b9-0795-48e2-892a-a28e17829f18.html . What really stroke me at the time was the revolution in the concept of demand/supply it’s bringing about, which Rachel already pointed out. As far as I’m concerned, we’re moving towards a future where manifacturing resources will be more accessible not only between firms, but to everybody. The industry 4.0 plan enacted least year by the italian government underlines how the industry is bound to become more and more interconnected, and thus efficient. A new print-to-order logic of production is bound to become the standard: excess of supply will become a thing of the past. We shall look at 3d printing as a fundamental piece of this virtuous process that is going to culminate in mass personalization (that is, supply each customer exactly the product S/he needs). For this reason, I wouldn’t worry about the impact of this technology on the environment: sustainability and efficiency are at the core of this revolution, at least from an holistic perspective.

    Additive manufacturing will also take production lines closer to the consumer. With automation eliminating the hinder of labour costs, along with excellent speed of production and great flexibility, this breakthrough will unlock the possibility to relocate production plants back in our homelands, putting an end to unethical exploitation of the workforce in underdeveloped countries and environmentally unfriendly practices such as the trade of goods between continents. I endorse this innovative technology because it has great potential to do good for society.

    For the same reason, I love the application the texan startup made of this technology, I am of the advice that new technologies should first serve to improve the quality of life where it’s most needed. That startup is solving a real problem. They nailed it!

    And Alessia, I bet these guys from sharebot will surprise us with some convenient, accessible and perhaps portable devices in the near future:  http://www.raiscuola.rai.it/articoli-programma/eureka-sharebot/34896/default.aspx (Again, another documentary series you should really look into)

    P.S. : @mariodellacorte, In order to have a chance to participate to SVST, you need to participate to this thread by posting remarkably insightful opinions on the topics being discussed. Glad to have you on board!

    Rachel Mazzucchi

    Hello again,

    I agree that the problem of excess supply will be cut down in the final goods market. What I argue though is that this new consumption model, in the absence of an effective recycling system, might create a problem of excess demand (of raw materials). The problem of excess demand is just as problematic and damaging as that of excess supply, to the point that in some instances marketers have been led to engage in practices of demarketing (reverse marketing) aimed at discouraging customers. What’s more, it is true that you might relocate production and thus put a stop to unethical labour and trade practices, but again this is only true for the final goods market. As competition in the raw materials market grows, it will translate in more pressure in those countries where the materials are extracted from, many of which are Middle Eastern, African and Asiatic countries where there is little regulation to protect, for example, child labour.

    All of this is not say that I don’t see the benefits of 3d printing. I agree with all of you that is a revolutionary technology and that it holds tremendous potential to do a world of good, but technology is only as good and virtuous as the human who handles it. For that reason, I believe that, while praising the beauties of it, it’s also important to discuss potential collateral effects so that we’re ready to act on them and improve the tech integration process in society.

    Other than this, I was also wondering:
    – How will consumers react in reality to 3d printing? Will there be trust issues and an initial backleash? Today if you buy, let’s say, toys for your kids at the store you can be sure that they are perfectly compliant with safety regulation and that the manufacturer will be liable if they’re not. As some are already talking about a Wikipedia for open source CADs, I’m wondering it they will really take off. In addition, I’ve already seen that there are apps that let you design your own products and then print them. I believe that this type of creative/personal product design businesses will either grow a lot in the future or be a complete failure depending on how we feel about safety. I’m curious to see how this aspect will develop.
    – A big benefit of 3d priting that is continuously mentioned it that it will completely cut on inventory and storage costs (because you print on demand) and thus will possibly increase profits for companies. But I’m wondering, what will happen to theft costs? Won’t they rise because of piracy issues with people downloading CADs illegaly, the same as it is happening today with music, movies and books?
    – Last but not least, aren’t you curious about what retailers will do? How will Amazon and Wal-Mart re-invent themselves? I’ve read that the latter for example is trying to create partnerships with apps such as the ones I mentioned above (to design your own products), that it is trying to think up 3d printing services (such that you will still prefer to order products, rather than produce them at home, because you benefit from customer service) and that it will focus mainly on the distribution of products especially in the introduction/growth stage of the product life cycle, when people are not yet interested in producing it by themsleves.

    That said, let me know what you think about all of this. I’m especially interested in the last point. I’m fairly sure Amazon has a good reaction strategy up its sleeve already!


    That is right Rachel, additive manifacturing will not helping fighing against the already existing issues related to the extraction of highly demanded raw materials, which is unfortunately often performed in third world countries. Although, I don’t feel the problem of excess demand, since 3d printing will not be a technology impacting domesticities as much as it will impact small makers’ laboratories and current manifacturers. We won’t be printing everything we need and want at home. Beside the fact that 3d printing will not make all of us manifacturers, there are severe obstacles to the rise of 3d printers as mainstream house appliances (mostly, the lack of flexibility in product size and materials).

    Therefore, I wouldn’t worry about a massive rise in thefts, even though some makers could act illegally by printing some products themselves, using those models already available online.

    I think current “superstar” retailers might invest on a trending theme, mass customization, that is, the process of tailoring the design of a mass produced product to a customer’s needs. It would be a coherent move given that, in the end, what really distinguishes these retailers from small ones is what they know about their clients. Amazon might become the interface between customers and producers, who, thanks to additive manifacturing, will be able to offer goods specifically crafted for their clients – say, a pair of snickers that fit you perfectly and are just the right color and shape. But of course, this transformation will take time.

    Alessia Antonuzzo

    Hi guys! 😊

    I read your comments and I just want to point out a few things. The most important is that by focusing on the great potential of 3D printing I didn’t mean to promote it as Holy God on Mother Earth… OF COURSE there are issues that must be raised and solved, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there is no room for improvement. I think the balance between openness for change AND critical thinking is the key to success, especially when discussing complex phenomena like this one, in which it’s not all black or white. Therefore, I would love to share my opinion on some of the concerns you have been discussing.


    OVER-CONSUMERISM. Even though I believe there is potential for this market to develop, I agree with Jacopo and I don’t think domestic 3D printing is going to take the place of large-scale production IN TOTO. As I said, I believe it could be used for niches of specific simple objects but I bet most of the tools we use on a daily basis will remain exclusively made by factories. So, I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

    SAFETY. I agree that giving people the opportunity to create something from scratch means there is a possibility they will make illegal and dangerous objects, like guns. BUT, we should consider some facts.

    First, even though 3D printers are not widespread and common in all houses, if you go on Amazon you can already have easy access to simple versions of them… so, maybe I’m too optimistic… but don’t you think someone would have already used them for making potentially dangerous stuff?

    Second, I’ve never made a gun, but I guess it’s not super easy and you probably need some skills. Also, if you think about it, anything you already have in your house (a knife?) can become dangerous and used for a negative purpose. So, if you want to do bad, I’m sure you don’t need a 3D printer. Moreover, don’t forget in many countries possessing weapons is completely fine and legal.

    Said that, I agree restrictions and some sort of regulations will be needed for sure, but I’m wondering… how can you make them efficient and control the domestic production? (I feel it’s gonna be similar to the issue of underage drinking. Governments make laws but then there is always gonna be that one friend who is already 19 y.o. who buys drinks for his under18 friends).

    To conclude, a few nights ago I spent an interesting night with a friend and we came up with another possible application of 3D printing. What is the most inhospitable place you can think of? Exactly, the space. Nevertheless, it is one of the fields where 3D printing has shown its power, allowing astronauts to bring just a few tools with themselves and make on demand the others they might need on the spot – necessary considering spacecrafts limited dimension (https://www.nasa.gov). Now, if this is possible in the space don’t you think we could do the same, on earth, in places that are hard to be reached? So, another application could be remote production!

    What do you guys think about it? I’d love to hear your feedbacks! 😊

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