La presentazione di "Università futura" a Harvard

Martedì 28 febbraio ho avuto il piacere di presentare alcuni dei punti principali di "Università futura" a Harvard, nel contesto dei "luncheon talk" del Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Il titolo dell'incontro era "Five Global Challenges and the Role of University". Al mio fianco, il prof. Charles Nesson, fondatore del Berkman Center; "Università futura" è dedicato a lui (oltre che al prof. Angelo Raffaele Meo).

"Università futura"

Il 2 febbraio è uscito nelle migliori librerie (sia fisiche, sia online) il mio primo libro, "Università futura - tra democrazia e bit", pubblicato da Codice Edizioni.

Il quotidiano "La Repubblica" il 7 febbraio ha pubblicato un'anticipazione, disponibile online qui.

La prima presentazione del libro avrà luogo - grazie al Centro per la Riforma dello Stato- a Roma il 23 febbraio; dal momento che l'incontro si terrà in una sala del Senato occorre registrarsi entro il 20 febbraio, maggiori informazioni a questo indirizzo.

La presentazione successiva sarà a Harvard, dagli amici del Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society che mi hanno ispirato e sostenuto fin dall'inizio di questi sei anni di studi matti e disperati. L'incontro - dal titolo: "Five Global Challenges and the Role of University" - avrà luogo martedì 28 febbraio a mezzogiorno (ora di Boston) e sarà trasmesso anche sul web; maggiori informazioni qui.

Technology and/is Humanity*

Technology is one of the determinants of the future of humanity, at the same level of importance as environmental, geopolitical, economic and socio-political issues. It is enough to think of energy, transport, defense, medicine and digital to understand that this is indeed the case.

Technology should therefore be incessantly at the center of a broad and in-depth public discussion, from schools and universities to Parliament, from political parties to the media. To identify needs, to establish priorities, to favor the search for solutions, to analyze the economic, social and cultural consequences of the various options, to decide if, when and in what form to deploy a specific technology, to understand how to ensure useful technologies for the community. In short, to reflect politically on technology.

It would be logical for this to happen, especially in a democracy. However, with occasional exceptions, it does not happen. Not that we ignore technology: we do talk about it, and a lot too. But it is mostly fragmented reflections in areas that are disconnected from each other. As in the Buddhist parable, blind monks touch an elephant, but only its tail, paw, tusk, trunk. Nobody touches other parts of the elephant's body and therefore nobody comes to understand that they are dealing with a whole, with, in fact, is an elephant. So the media celebrates (or criticizes) the latest smartphone model or fears - for at least the last sixty years - the end of jobs, technicians think about making existing technologies more efficient regardless of the consequences of such increase in efficiency, philosophers question how much technology is more or less out of control (or, on the contrary, how is the way to achieve heaven on earth), economists are concerned with how to promote and make use of "innovation", and so on stricly for silos. Silos that tend to polarize into "apocalyptic" and "integrated", into enthusiastic and pessimistic, but all retaining the tendency to take for granted a fundamental premise, that is, that technology somehow happens. Consequently, not many feel the need to reflect broadly on technology: for enthusiasts, because every technological evolution is by definition progress, for pessimists because technology is out of control and "only a god will be able to save us". So, why on earth make the effort to reflect on technology by putting together different forms of knowledge? And - above all - why on earth reflect politically on technology?

This situation must change. Technology, in fact, should be considered as one of the crucial themes of collective life. After all, without technology we would not exist; indeed, homo sapiens itself without technology would have died out immediately.

Perhaps the key to going in the right direction lies in making people understand that technology is a human product. Or, reversing the perspective, that man is inherently technological; not only technological (thankfully!), but certainly also technological.

And therefore technology does not just happen. Technology is not nature, it does not arise spontaneously. Technology exists only and exclusively because human beings have imagined, wanted, designed, implemented, financed, disseminated, told, accepted, criticized, used, modified it. Paraphrasing the great Italian economist Federico Caffè, we could say that all technology can be traced back to actors with "name, surname and nickname".

Therefore, as a human product, technology is culture and imagination, an expression of values ​​and visions of the world, the desire to contribute to the community with something useful and perhaps aesthetically pleasing, an extension of our body and our senses, support for our faculties, means to live a better life and to take care of the community and the planet.

But precisely because it is human, technology is also simultaneously power, an instrument of exploitation and domination, a means of plundering the planet, a weapon against animals and plants, as well as a means of controlling or destroying other human beings or even entire civilizations.

In short, technology is deeply human, with all the positive and negative potential of humanity, with all its explosive contradictions.

In terms of understanding, therefore, we need a very strong collaboration between different forms of knowledge, including the arts, to understand technology in a broad way, that is, the opposite of the fragmentation and incommunicability that almost always dominates the scene today.

But technology is also human in another sense, namely, that as a human product it is - in principle - absolutely malleable by human beings themselves. Contrary to what both enthusiastic and pessimistic people think, there is no determinism, neither positive nor negative. But if technology is controllable by humans, then upstream of the technology discourse is the discussion of how we would like to live together. The type of society we would like to create, its internal structure, its relationship with the planet. It is on the type of society that we will be able to create, in fact, that will depend on whether we have technologies more or less at the service of the community, more or less respectful of the environment and of other human communities, more or less at the service of the weakest, more or less sensitive to democratic decisions.

It is essential, however, that from the beginning of this philosophical and political reflection we think about technology in a new way: no longer a mere set of tools of variable effectiveness and cost, but an immanent component of humanity. Technology is humanity.

Juan Carlos De Martin is full professor at the Polytechnic of Turin, Faculty Associate at Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and co-curator, with Luca De Biase, of Biennale Tecnologia. Prof. De Martin is writing a book with the provisional title: "Ten Lessons on Technology".

* Text of the speech by Juan Carlos De Martin during the inauguration of the first edition of Biennale Tecnologia (Turin, 12.11.2020). A slightly modified version was published by the Italian magazine “Left”, 13.11.2020, pp. 60-62.

Università e rifugiati

Ultimo aggiornamento: 6 ottobre 2015

Ecco una prima rassegna, sicuramente parziale, delle iniziative da parte di università europee (e non solo) a favore dei rifugiati. Eventuali ulteriori segnalazioni sarebbero ovviamente benvenute!

--jc

Articolo sul tema: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20150918113842639

FRANCIA

Editoriale: http://www.liberation.fr/debats/2015/09/12/pour-l-accueil-des-refugies-dans-les-universites_1380431

Call from presidents of all French universities:

"Solidarietà - una parola che ritorna"

Ci sono parole che tornano. Possono inabissarsi per qualche tempo, ma poi la loro forza intrinseca le spinge di nuovo in alto. Solidarietà è una di queste parole. Poco considerata negli ultimi decenni, sta ora tornando ad imporre la sua forza, come testimoniato non solo dal nuovo libro di Stefano Rodotà, “Solidarietà - Un’utopia necessaria” (Laterza, 141 pagine, 14 euro), ma anche da “Due giorni, una notte”, il film del fratelli Dardenne nei cinema proprio in questi giorni. E’ forse la più grave recessione economica a memoria d’uomo a renderci più sensibili all’idea di solidarietà? Riscopriamo un’idea antica per il ritorno di paure che si pensavano superate per sempre - come la paura di non potersi curare o di non potersi permettere di studiare? Le difficoltà economiche stanno probabilmente favorendo il fenomeno, che però ha radici che vanno al di là della congiuntura. Questi ultimi trent’anni, infatti, hanno visto l’affermarsi di idee fortemente anti-solidaristiche.
In molti ambiti sono stati avviati processi con l’obiettivo di sostituire all’idea di istituzione (e a quella di comunità) quella di mercato: gli ospedali sono quindi diventati “Aziende Ospedaliere”; le scuole hanno iniziato a doversi vendere su un ipotetico mercato scolastico avente come clienti gli studenti e loro famiglie; persino la comunità scientifica si sta frantumando grazie a processi di valutazione che esasperano ulteriormente i muri tra la discipline e mettono ricercatore contro ricercatore, dipartimento contro dipartimento, università contro università. A questi processi disgregatori la società sta iniziando a opporre, come sempre nella storia, una reazione. E questa reazione passa necessariamente per la solidarietà, per la ricerca di ciò che unisce, per l’attenzione al destino comune. Il libro di Stefano Rodotà traccia la storia dell’idea e poi argomenta con forza che la democrazia deve essere fondata su quattro idee che si affiancano e si sostengono a vicenda: libertà, dignità, eguaglianza e, appunto, solidarietà. Sono queste le basi per guardare al futuro con speranza. E’ qui che la politica potrebbe ritrovare un suo ruolo forte, ineliminabile.
(Recensione apparsa sull'edizione nazionale de "La Stampa" del 19 dicembre 2014, p. 33).

Pages