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Bocconi futuro

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Digital Humanities: media ecology, the future

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Bocconi futuro

  1. 1. Digital Humanities - Bocconi 2016 - Luca De Biase The future “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us”. Winston Churchill
  2. 2. The future is changing
  3. 3. Shift happens ❖ Deep Knowledge Ventures hires Vital, an algorithm, for the board ❖ Narrative sciences writes financial articles for Forbes with no human involvement ❖ Watson, IBM, is better than most physicians in reading medical analysis ❖ A self-driving car, by Alphabet Google, has not been responsible of any accidents after 3 millions miles on the road (there have been 17 small accidents caused by cars that were driven by humans)
  4. 4. Shift happens ❖ Digital technologies have taken most of human information recording ❖ The web has changed a lot of industries (music, news, tourism, banks, and counting) ❖ But a lot more is coming
  5. 5. Shift happens ❖ Big data ❖ Robotics ❖ Nanotechnology ❖ Biotechnology ❖ Neuro-science ❖ Particle physics ❖ Additive production ❖ Artificial intelligence ❖ Collective intelligence ❖ Sharing economy ❖ Climate change ❖ Space exploration ❖ Startups ❖ Bitcoin
  6. 6. A robot suitcase which follows you is made by the Israeli startup NUA Robotics. It is full of sensors, computer vision and robotics
  7. 7. Lily is a drone that follows you whereever you go and takes pictures or movies about everything you do
  8. 8. Teslasuit is a virtual reality device for full immersion experiences
  9. 9. Nice… (sort of)
  10. 10. –Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, Oxford University “According to our estimates, about 47 percent of total US employment is at risk”. THE FUTURE OF EMPLOYMENT: HOW SUSCEPTIBLE ARE JOBS TO .COMPUTERISATION? http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf
  11. 11. Edward Snowden revealed what the Us mass surveillance program is doing to the net
  12. 12. ❖ Are you worried about the future as a citizen, or as a worker? ❖ Are you interested in the future to improve your projects? ❖ Are you looking for opportunities in the context of the Big Shift?
  13. 13. How to look ahead?
  14. 14. Forecasting is difficult, when change is deep
  15. 15. –The Economist “Economics is the science that studies why its predictions didn’t work”.
  16. 16. What will happen? ❖ What we know that we don't know? ❖ What we don't know that we don't know?
  17. 17. What will happen? ❖ Are we biased by what we want? ❖ Are we biased by what we hope? ❖ Are we biased by prejudice?
  18. 18. What will happen? ❖ Do we need an understanding about the future to improve the quality of our projects?
  19. 19. We need an epistemology ❖ Asking the Question; ❖ Scanning the World; ❖ Mapping the Possibilities; ❖ and Asking the Next Question Jamais Cascio, futuris, Futures Thinking: The Basics http://www.fastcompany.com/1362037/futures-thinking-basics
  20. 20. We need an epistemology ❖ Asking the Question? Make it operative, if you can ❖ Scanning the World? Make it inter-disciplinary ❖ Mapping the Possibilities? There is more than one future (The future is what I expect. The future is better than I expect. The future is worse than I expect. The future is weirder than I expect) Jamais Cascio, futuris, Futures Thinking: The Basics http://www.fastcompany.com/1362037/futures-thinking-basics
  21. 21. We need an epistemology ❖ The Dragon - what we know that we don’t know ❖ The Black Swan - what we know doesn’t fit the theory ❖ The Mule - what we don’t know that we don’t know Jamais Cascio, futuris, Futures Thinking: The Basics http://www.fastcompany.com/1362037/futures-thinking-basics
  22. 22. Or we need a strategy ❖ There is no possible prediction: what’s possible is to define a strategy to make our system anti-fragile Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan, 2007 Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Home Page: http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com Two quotes form Taleb’s new book: “Rationality is avoidance of systemic ruin.” And “Rationality is indistinguishable from precaution.”
  23. 23. What can we really say about the future?
  24. 24. –Everybody knows that “The future is the consequence of what we do”.
  25. 25. How we decide?
  26. 26. How we decide? ❖ Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Penguin, 2013
  27. 27. How we decide? ❖ We usually go with the first idea that comes to our mind ❖ Reasoning is rare ❖ The first idea, intuition, comes for repeated messages, deep rooted ideas, culture, prejudice and other things ❖ Some intuitive decisions are made in terms of the way we look at the future
  28. 28. ❖ We decide by intuition ❖ What we decide builds the future ❖ Sometimes there is reasoning, most of the times not ❖ The ideas we have about the future shape in some ways our decision making ❖ The ideas we have about the future shape the future
  29. 29. The first law of future studies
  30. 30. –Institute for the Future “There are no facts in the future, only narratives”
  31. 31. Narratives
  32. 32. Narratives ❖ Financial ❖ Technological ❖ Ecological
  33. 33. Narratives ❖ This is where humanities and techno-science collide and generate what we are - for now - calling: digital humanities ❖ Both science and arts are a sort of research in unknown territories ❖ They just use different tools. And they should be talking more between each other
  34. 34. Narratives Financial values The only judge is the market value, which in turn is defined by future ability to make profits. This means, for example, that if humans cost too much, they will be replaced by robots. This means that if a startup has more financial backing it will win on every competing idea. Because the best is the financially healthier. The rest is secondary.
  35. 35. Narratives Techno-progress What works wins. There are laws in technological progress which allow us to understand what will happen. The Moore’s law commands on all of them. And it describes the future in terms of exponential explosion of the power of computing. Which will extend to every digitally powered machine. Exponential growth is inevitable. Resistance is futile.
  36. 36. Narratives Ecological stories Everything is interconnected. Phenomena coevolve. There is a plurality of life forms and the more there are the better for the health of the environment. Pollution happens when consumption of resources exceeds the generation of resources. Every species growth arrives to its limits. Every mutation looks for its niche. Equilibrium is in diversity.
  37. 37. Narratives create a perspective ❖ People need to choose and a narrative creates an idea of what a choice will bring ❖ Storytelling can be a sort of manipulation of the will of people ❖ Freedom is consciousness about the narrative we think we live in
  38. 38. –Carlo Goldoni “I cannot write what is true, because if I did nobody would believe me. Thus, I write what is likely”.
  39. 39. Narratives need to be credible ❖ If people experience a life that is defined by a narrative, they are brought to think that the narrative is the truth ❖ If a narrative is shared by the vast majority and is not challenged, it tends to become self-fulfilling ❖ People live in an environment which is build by its architects with a narrative in mind
  40. 40. Future thinking readings: ❖ Al Gore, The future, WH Allen, 2013 ❖ James Canton, The extreme future, Dutton, 2006 ❖ Joel Garreau, Radical evolution, Broadway Books, 2005
  41. 41. Future thinking readings: ❖ Age of networked matter. http://www.iftf.org/aonm/ ❖ Future visions. http://news.microsoft.com/ futurevisions/ ❖ Fantascienza come racconto del futuro http:// blog.debiase.com/2016/01/15/fantascienza-come- racconto-del-futuro/
  42. 42. Future thinking readings: ❖ FUTURES THINKING: THE BASICS ❖ http://www.fastcompany.com/1362037/futures-thinking-basics ❖ FUTURES THINKING: ASKING THE QUESTION ❖ http://www.fastcompany.com/1413317/futures-thinking-asking-question ❖ FUTURES THINKING: SCANNING THE WORLD ❖ http://www.fastcompany.com/1470137/futures-thinking-scanning-world ❖ FUTURES THINKING: A BIBLIOGRAPHY ❖ http://www.fastcompany.com/1617780/futures-thinking-bibliography
  43. 43. Future thinking readings: ❖ Future timelinehttp://futuretimeline.net ❖ How to see into the future. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/ 2/3950604a-33bc-11e4- ba62-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3zPYJLR8D ❖ CHAMP ● Comparisons are important: use relevant comparisons as a starting point; ● Historical trends can help: look at history unless you have a strong reason to expect change; ● Average opinions: experts disagree, so find out what they think and pick a midpoint; ● Mathematical models: when model-based predictions are available, you should take them into account; ● Predictable biases exist and can be allowed for. Don’t let your hopes influence your forecasts, for example; don’t stubbornly cling to old forecasts in the face of news.
  44. 44. If we think the future as narratives: ❖ We don’t know the future, we just build it, by acting now and generating consequences ❖ We act now by thinking in a way that is understandable in terms of narratives ❖ The future is not the future of technology: it is a mix of scientific, technological and humanistic knowledge
  45. 45. –Tom Perrault, Harvard Business Review “But there will be a limit to how far computers can replace humans. What can’t be replaced in any organization imaginable in the future is precisely what seems overlooked today: liberal arts skills, such as creativity, empathy, listening, and vision. These skills, not digital or technological ones, will hold the keys to a company’s future success.”. Digital Companies Need More Liberal Arts Majors https://hbr.org/2016/01/digital-companies-need-more-liberal-arts-majors
  46. 46. It’s what happens in the info-sphere
  47. 47. It’s what happens in the info-sphere ❖ The info-sphere is no abstract notion: it is build of nature, cables, platforms, information, knowledge, networks, social relations, algorithms… ❖ The info-sphere evolves by projects and failures, visions and experiments, startups and mega-companies, software and hardware, power and critics. ❖ Innovation is the name of the game. And it shows some evolutionary patterns

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