Home Forums Silicon Valley Study Tour – August 2020 UniPV Silicon Valley 2020

181 replies, 41 voices Last updated by Paolo Marenco 3 years ago
  • Niccolò

    Hi Ismaele,

    ever since I was a kid I have always had a great interest in technology, probably also because my parents have never been huge fan of it (they are a little bit old-fashioned) and I have always seen it as the forbidden fruit.

    The best experience with technology that I have memory of was to build my first computer myself. Turning it on for the first time and seeing that what I had patiently built worked was certainly an emotion that I will never forget.

    Over the years I have continued to build all my past computers and also all those of my friends and relatives. It’s an activity that I find incredibly rewarding but above all, fun.

    The fascination of technology for me derives from the fact that through it it’s possible to constantly learn something and above all that what some people are able to create could be the future. This is also what prompted me to choose Digital Communication, a faculty that although it’s not strictly connected to the creation of technology, as an engineering degree for example, but still allows me to live in contact with what is the environment that I consider most natural for me.


    Hi everyone!

    My name is Noemi Scifo, I’m 23 years old. I’m attending the first year of the Economic Development and International Relations Master’s Degree.

    I graduated in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Palermo last year. During my third year of Bachelor study, I had one of the best experience of my life: I joined the Erasmus program and I spent 9 months in Vilnius. It was an intense year which made me feel deep emotions that I I’ve never tried before.

    Just one year ago I thought “economy stuffs” were not really my vocation, but then I found out this Master Degree and I became immediately interested in many of the courses proposed, but I was afraid I was not ready for it. However I’m happy I could get over this fear, and now I can say that you have to expect only success when you study something you are passionate about. This is what happened to me with my Master Degree. The link between innovation and development changed my view of the world.

    I think the Silicon Valley Study Tour is a great opportunity to expand the knowledge in the field of innovation, to visit the most important companies in the world, to do networking. One of the best aspects will be for sure the possibility to speak with Italian managers who work there. When I heard Margherita’s words during the first conference, I  felt her enthusiasm; I could taste a bit of that experience thanks to her stroy and I understood the great chance that the University of Pavia presented to me.

    If you ask me about my earlier experience with technology, I will tell you the first time I turned on my sister’s personal computer and I will describe to you which kind of weird monster I started to draw on “Paint”; or I will explain to you that time when I saw a feather moving in slow motion thanks to a display case with special ventilation system (I was at the museum of illusion, but for me it’s still magic). But the time I was most surprised and at the same time scared from technology, it was this summer at the Venice Biennale. In the Chinese Pavilion there were a lot of exhibitions and installations, one of them was based on a categorization system developed by an artist and a group of engineers who use information extracted from Google maps. The machine collects the emotions and appearances of the spectators to gather elements of their identity, for example if a girl is a dancer or a police officer.

    I was staring at the camera and suddenly appeared the labels “little sister” and “lithuanian girl” next to my image which was projected on the wall. I am a little sister and I am not a lithuanian girl, but I spent 10 months there. I was scared, but at the same time curious. I wanted to understand, to learn more, to be part of what is going to happen around us in our century. I don’t want to accept the change, I want to be part of it. I want to create it.

    The “creepy” installation of the Chinese pavilion is a <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>mass face recognition system</span> (or kind of) used mostly in China for the controversial Chinese social credit system and for many other activities. The face recognition system needs to be improved because it is mostly used for security systems and it could still create some misunderstandings.

    On the one hand, this “invention” seems to help humanity (for example could be useful to find missing children), on the other hand it could represent a trouble for the privacy of everyone and could  favor mass control by governments and multinationals. Aware of the risks they could face, San Francisco already decided to prohibit its use.

    I think mass face recognition system should be refined in order to be perfect as possible and it should be ruled by the law in order to make a good and ethic use of it!

    Here is an article which could help you understand better and go deeper in this topic: https://forbes.it/2019/05/16/riconoscimento-facciale-rischi-di-una-nuova-tecnologia-di-massa/

    And what’s your opinion about mass face recognition system?



    I would like to begin from your point of view about technology. Specifically, I am asking you to share a past experience of yours in which you have been fascinated about the application of technology.

    Hello Ismaele!

    It’s hard to find a particular experience about tech, in fact like a digital native my life has been always accompained by technology, from the hospital where i was born, to the computer through which i’m writing right now. Actually there is a particular situation in which i can feel something extraordinary: everytime a rocket is launched there is a countdown, during that i feel a mixture of excitement and fear, and you can see this two opposite emotions also on the faces of so many people who have worked hard for it and really believe in what they are doing, in that cases the difference between succes and failure is so thin, about microscopical details, that’s why it can unleash so many emotions . Our life is strongly dependent on technology, we entrust to it our health, money, security, and mankind has never known a prosperity like today. The aim of techonology is exactly that, to simplify lifes and improve human condition, thus to research in space sector is fundamental to give us the possibility to reach all the resources and richness which are out there, in the space, for our species and to project us in a new era.


    What’s up, guys? I hope you’re good!

    That’s an interesting topic, Ismael… nowadays technology is everywhere, and it’s difficult to fully appreciate its potential.

    I belong to a generation in which technological development, in particular the digital one, was super-fast. Every day was a new discovery: the phone of last generation, touchscreen computers, 4K televisions and so on… (just like now) I’m so used to this reality that it’s difficult for me to be astonished in front of technological applications. Technology is now a basic element in our society, as it is of huge support in our daily life, and in a certain way, it made us dependent on it.

    In my view, it’s hard to find something fascinating about the application of technology. I guess I could say that nothing really fascinates me about technology and in the meantime, I could say the opposite. This is because as I said before, we are so much surrounded by technology that we don’t really notice it but if we stop and think about its abilities and potentials, we realize how astonishing it is. Really! 😊 a few years ago, all of this was considered science fiction or magic ahahaha

    In my opinion, what is really charming about technology is the fact that behind each technological application or more in general behind technology, there are thousands of minds which commit themselves to reach ever more ambitious goals for everyone’s benefit.

    Looking forward 😉



    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Simona Borghi.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Fabrizio.

    Hi guys!

    I don’t have direct experiences on technology. However, I have always had a great interest in technological innovation. Since the 1990s, we have experienced an impressive acceleration. Very often I wonder how our lives will change in the next 20 or 30 years and what technologies will emerge.

    I’ve always been fascinated by improvements in robotics and artificial intelligence. Time ago I came across a cool and creepy thing at the same time in this field: Sophia. It is a social android created in 2015 by the Hanson Robotics company, capable of reproducing 65 facial expressions, providing answers to questions (answers to specific questions anyway) and recognizing individuals. Link  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78-1MlkxyqI

    We are still far from having humanoid robots walking with us around the city, but this step will not take long. If we achieved these results in 2015, where will we be in 2035?
    When these robots will become truly efficient, I am sure they will be able to provide concrete help in the field of education, customer care and health services.

    What do you think about it?


    Good morning,
    my experience with technology is recent. It all began when i was
    diagnosed with multiple slcerosis and i had many issues moving, so
    a friend of mine game me Alexa. After that i got so fascinated with
    the system that i upgrade my internet connection and i started to make many experiments.
    My parents gave me a TV and some lights to connect with Alexa.
    From that moment on i got so passionate with technology that i’m constantly improving
    everything inside the house. Since i don’t have much experience in this field, there
    are still many things i want to learn. On the other hand, i realise that
    this field is in constant evolution, which is one more reason to know more about it.
    I think that this time of isolation can teach us how Italy is not advanced, compared to other
    realities. We have many small realities in this country, such as the one i live in, where
    internet connection is still too slow and unstable. I believe that
    even in small towns we should be more aware of how to make life easier for the citizens, especially the ones
    who are more in need, by putting more services . There is a need for
    awareness and knowledge, so that we can show how reliable can be small
    realities like mine.



    Being the honest person that I am, I must say that I have not had much direct experience with technology, not any further from the amount of contact that the majority of us has ever had with it ( telephone, computers, etc.). As a matter of fact I have never built from scrap a computer (although I’m really impressed by anyone who might have these type of abilities)or used a 3D printer; I have only recently developed a shy appeal towards the subject.

    Nonetheless, I can vividly recall, as blatant as it may seem, the first time technology struck me as something tangible, something made by humans to ameliorate others lives, to upgrade ourselves: it was the first time I laid eyes on solar panel. I was very young back then and I had absolutely no idea that one could power a house, even a neighbourhood by converting sunlight into electricity. From that moment forward I found great source of interest in reading and discussing about alternative energy’ technologies. To date, it never fails to amaze me how humans discovered ways to exploit natural resources, especially green ones, and produce energy out of it.

    Nowadays, this so much rooted interest combined itself with a newfound curiosity for the question:“how can technology and its discoveries be implemented or channeled into saving our own planet from the threats of global warming?” This extremely “au courant” topic is one of the most debated at the moment. Journalist and writer David  Wallace-Wells stated that “the climate crisis is the work of a single generation” notwithstanding, I also believe that in one generation time, with the help of technology, we might be able to secure ourselves new, brighter future.

    According to the “Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations” cattle are the animal species responsible for the most emissions, representing about 65% of the livestock sector’s emissions.” that means that the livestock carbon footprint amounts to “14.5 percent of all anthropogenic GHG emissions”. For this very reason several industries,(such as Californian based “Memphis Meats” or ”Artemis Foods”) have embarked into the quest of growing meat from animal stem cells, without the actual slaughter of the animal itself.Thanks to technology we are now starting to develop “clean meat” which aims towards a sustainable alternative for meat production. Many companies around the globe are working towards producing cruel free meat that can also spare our planet .1 Gigatonnes of Co2 each year.

    I feel like I have been going on for too long. Perhaps we can discuss this topic more thoroughly shortly, in the meantime I leave you with some links that you might find interesting about “cultured meat”.





    Ciao a tutti!

    Sono Gabriele Verde, ho 22 anni e sono iscritto al primo anno del corso Magistrale in Sviluppo Economico e Relazioni Internazionali di Pavia.

    Sono sempre stato appassionato di comunicazione e dei rapporti che intercorrono tra gli stati. E’ per ciò che ogni giorno mi prendo sempre del tempo per informarmi sulla cronaca internazionale.

    L’anno scorso ho conseguito la laurea in scienze politiche e relazioni internazionali per poi focalizzarmi sullo sviluppo economico.

    Durante il mio percorso di laurea triennale ho partecipato al programma Erasmus, nello specifico in Repubblica Ceca, a Brno, dove ho potuto vedere l’atmosfera di un ambiente all’avanguardia come quello frequentato dai miei colleghi di aree scientifiche nell’Università di Masaryk, polo rinomato per la ricerca scientifica. Questa esperienza ha dato una ulteriore spinta alla mia voglia di vivere esperienze in ambito internazionale e che più si avvicinassero allo sviluppo tecnologico nei miei settori di competenza.

    Non sono mai stato un profondo conoscitore delle specifiche tecniche in ambito tecnologico, ma sono sempre stato affascinato dall’evoluzione degli strumenti che l’innovazione ci offre e di come essa abbia il potere di effettuare “rivoluzioni silenziose” sui nostri stili di vita. Ecco perché una volta che l’Università di Pavia mi ha posto di fronte questa occasione sono stato ben lieto di provare a prender parte a quella che sembra essere un’esperienza altamente formativa.

    Uno dei temi che più solletica il mio interesse è quello delle implicazioni sulla privacy dell’uso di nuovi strumenti tecnologici. Col passare degli anni, l’avvento dei social network, il sistema di profilazione dei consumatori, gli innovativi servizi di facetraking, è stato chiaro come nella società odierna si sia ridefinito il concetto stesso di privacy, rimodellato in base ai servizi offerti dalla tecnologia e dai vantaggi che essa ci offre.

    Ricordo di aver percepito l’impatto che la tecnologia ha sulla nostra quotidianità quando, qualche anno fa, ho toccato con mano e sentito parlare per la prima volta del settore dell’assistenza domestica, delle sue sempre più interessanti applicazioni e del possibile uso di informazioni che tali strumenti, proprio perché posti in ambiente “sensibile” come quello domestico possono facilmente intercettare. Oggi questo settore è già da alcuni anni in forte espansione ma ai tempi era del tutto una novità.

    Servizi come quelli offerti da Alexa o Google Home sono ormai noti, ma se ne stanno sviluppando molti altri, come quello del videocitofono intelligente “Google Nest” di Google o del competitor Amazon “Ring”, che uniscono il mondo dell’assistenza domestica a quello del riconoscimento facciale, con tutte le potenzialità e i rischi che ne conseguono.

    Voglio infine rifarmi all’intervento di giorno 17 di Lorenzo Lacchini sulle potenzialità della stampa 3D e su quanto l’abbia trovata rivoluzionaria. Concordo in toto con lui e con l’entusiasmo mostrato per questo strumento. Alcuni l’avranno sentito, ma è ad esempio notizia di qualche giorno fa che la stampa 3D è stata utilizzata a Brescia per la realizzazione urgente di dispositivi salvavita, come le valvole respiratorie utilizzate per la rianimazione di pazienti affetti da complicazioni respiratorie legate al coronavirus! Sono già pronti i primi test e presto potrebbero essere stampate su richiesta.


    Hi guys,

    As far as I can read all of us had, one way or another, his/her personal experience with technology. I just wanted to think over the history of the many application we use every day. As many of you have taken in consideration, our generation is constantly surrounded by technology, even if as @stefano-cassani pointed out, our country is maybe not as advanced as others.

    However, we need to acknowledge that many inventions of the last century have been made by Italians such as the telephone or the radio. Not to forget the inventor of the microprocessor Federico Faggin. An Italian physic and entrepreneur that discovered the technology behind the microprocessor and founded the first company producing it. Not many of us know that it was a compatriot to invent that. Without Faggin’s technology nowadays there would not be the same technology we have.


    Italy has always been made the country of many “Brains”, that as Faggin did, moved to other places to let their ideas see the light. That implies that our country may not be as advanced as other, maybe because of financial restrictions, but Italians’ minds are one of the most innovative and visionaries of the last Century, thanks also to our advanced universities which, as some other of you pointed out, have laboratories in which every day students work and study to improve the current technology limitations.


    What do you think about it? Do you appear to know any other Italian technology invention that has transformed the world of robotics or telecommunication?




    Hello to everybody! Sorry for having written in Italian first.

    I’m Gabriele Verde, I am 22 years old and I’m attending the first year of the Master Science course in Economic Development and International Relations in the University of Pavia.

    I’ve always been fond of communication and relations between States. That’s why I take time everyday to get informed about international daily news. Last year I got my Bachelor Degree in Political Science and International Relations in the University of Palermo.

    During my third year I joined the Erasmus program by living in Brno, Czech Republic, where I could experience the atmophere of an updated environment, in a different university  from the hosting one, by getting into touch with colleagues of other scientific areas coming from the Masaryk University, a well known institution for the scientific research. This experience gave me a strong push to look for new experiences in other countries, especially in the technological development referring to my sectors of interest.

    I don’t know much about of specific techonologic know hows, but I am very interested into the evolution of innovation instruments that carry out “silent revolutions” in our lives. That’s why as soon as the University of Pavia gave me this chance, I was very happy to take part into this highly educational experience.

    One most interesting topic to me is the implication of technological means involved into the concept of privacy. The development of social network, the consumer’s profiling and the facetracking services have developed a new concept of privacy.

    Some years ago, I remember that I experienced the impact of technology in my life when I first saw and heard about home assistance services, which today are strongly developed while they were something completely new at that time.

    Today, we know sevices like Alexa and Google Home very well, but others are going to enter into the market, such as the intelligent video door phone “Google Nest: Hello” or its competitor Amazon’s “Ring” which joined domestic assistance with facial recognition – this raices consequent potentialities and risks.

    At last, I want to refer to the intervention of March 17th by Lorenzo Lacchini about the 3D printing which he finds revolutionary.

    I totally agree with him for the enthusiasm he showed about this instrument. Some of you may have heard about it, the 3D printing was used in Brescia for urgently making lifekeeping disposals, such as the valves for artificial breathing in favour of coronavirus patients, suffering from lung complications. These are the first attempts and they could soon be at disposal on request.


    Hi everybody!

    Talking about @danieleborin experience, if you are interested, I’m quite sure there is another Enigma machine in our Museum of Electrical Technology here at the University of Pavia. I visited it last year, and if you have never been there, I recommend it to you, because you don’t have to move so far and it’s a place where you can see the progress that technologies have made during years.

    But as @giorgiaamatemaggio remember us, the greatest inventions were and are not designed only by foreigners, there are also many Italian innovators who have made history. We have a beautiful example in our university: Do you remember Alessandro Volta? He was a physics professor here at the University of Pavia. We have also a room with his name “Aula Volta”, and it was there where he gave his public classes. Isn’t it wonderful? We do lessons were the inventor of the electric battery taught his students.

    Some of you was discussing about technologies applied in the medical field and how they can help persons with disabilities. To link with this, just the other day, on the news there was a service about a person affected by SLA at his last stage of disease, who couldn’t talk and to communicate he used an eye communicator that reads the blink of his eyes through a webcam. I think it’s something amazing because the same dispositive is utilized by people who are unable to use their arms limbs, so they use their eyes to write on their computer. In this way they can communicate with others always keeping their independence and autonomy (thing not to underestimate and take for granted).

    To link with @jacopotirintilli’s answer, I’m glad someone talk about technologies applied in museum, because it’s a topic not so discussed, but very noteworthy. Last year, during a lesson of museum communication, we saw a video which showed that some art museum around the world are accessible also for people who can’t move from their house because of physical disability. Their visit is possible thanks to robots that they can control and guide through museum’s spaces, just from their houses. Of course, there is a human guide that accompanying the robot during the visit and explain at the visitor what they are seeing. I believe that this brings museum’s experience to another level.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think here in Italy we have something like that in our museums, because many of them, as we know, are traditional ones. But even if Italian museums don’t use robots or virtual reality because are technologies not so cheap, very often museums create applications downloadable on mobile. These applications guide visitors during their visit and give them more explanations, information, and curiosities about what they are seeing, and certainly these are less expensive than others. (Just like FOCUS magazine that through an application, called “FOCUS augmented reality”, allows you to get extra information, like videos or 3D images, about an article that you are reading, only using your smartphone).

    However, taking about my personal preferences, what I really love is 4D cinema. I don’t know if you have ever tried it, but it offers an incredible experience. I remember the first time I saw a short video in 4D at a cinema in an amusement park: the video was so realistic, seems like you could touch everything in the screen, and there were also some real effects like shaking seats, water spray and “wind” effect that give you the impression to be there in the set. It was a 360-degree experience. They are talking about cinema like this in the future … hoping is true.

    I think a talk too much, so wish you a good day!


    Hi everyone,

    My name is Marianicla Chielli and i’m from Noci, Apulia. I currently live in Pavia, attending the second year of bachelor’s degree in Political Sciences and International Relations.

    When I first had to chose what I would have studied in the future, I was absolutely sure it would have been oriental languages; I’ve always loved talking to different people with different cultures, trying to understeand their world, their point of view. I wanted to be a translator and work in some embassy, it didn’t really matter where.

    When I was 18 I decided that I wanted to study in England for a while, in a very english school in order to improve the language. I spent a month in Bournemouth thanks to the EF experience and there I achieved the B2 certification. I remember how helpful this experience has been, and I promised myself that I would have repeated it in the future.

    At the time, I was sure about my choice but, somehow, I changed my mind. The last year of highschool I understood that I was capable of so much more, that if I really wanted to help people and do my part for the society and for those less lucky than me, I should have choosen something more particular. This is why I chose to study International Relations and become a member in the association AIESEC. I’m really proud of my choices and, even during hard times, I keep going and try to do my best.

    My curiosity towards the world hasn’t changed, tho. Rather, it’s stronger than ever. I know that if want to achieve what I really want I have to try and do my best, and that’s the reason why I want to be part of this program. I think that this opportunity could really profit my personal knowledge, my skills and, I hope, my future carreer. I’ve always been pretty sure about who I wanna be when I grow up, and the only way to make that working out is to get involved, right?.

    Thank you very much.



    Hi guysI

    It was very interesting reading all your experiences and point of views about technology. My suggestive experience with it is related to Arts: some years ago, while I was in Florence on a vacation, I went to a digital exhibition dedicated to Gustav Klimt, called Klimt experience. Firstly,  we had to sit down in a big room, while Klimt’s works were screened on big tarps, which recovered the walls and the ceiling, offering us a 360-degree high definition view of the artist’s works. Then we had to wear a VR headset, which literally could get us into the works to admire all Klimt’s subjects and details. I remember I was completely astonished, because it was the first time ever I tried a VR headset, and above all I had the possibility to appreciate all the major works of one of my favourite artists in the same place, without having to visit lots of museums around the world.

    In that moment I understood that technology has a very huge power, capable to improve our life in any area. In these difficult days we are living, I had another proof of this: since the covid-19 emergency has started, forcing us to change radically our routines, a sort of digital solidarity is spreading between us in every fields. The fact that we can follow our university’s lessons by computer at home is an enough evidence of this. Furthermore many big companies, such as streaming platforms or online journals, have made their contents available for free. Without technology none of this could have happened.

    What do you think about it? Hope you’re all having a good time, despite this difficult situation.




    Hello guys,

    speaking of 3d print, in 2014 during a normal family lunch I saw on the news an interview with a 15 year old boy who had built a 3d printer. This boy is an Italian boy, his name is Cesare Cacitti, do you know him?

    I was surprised by his age and his ability to create innovation. So I decided to contact him, I wanted to know more about him. I seriously thought I knew a future genius, the future Italian Gutenberg.

    He told me all the technical details of his printer (I honestly understood very little about it), but he also told me that he started as a self-taught and subsequently participated in communities where he could exchange tips and suggestions.

    This makes me think how important sharing and cooperation with others is, and it is thanks to technological progress if today we can get in touch with many more people than we could have done in previous years.

    I want to leave you some articles about Caesar and his creation:

    I’m curious about your other experiences 😀


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