Future Built on Knowledge

Piero Angela in Trento for the 2018 Bruno Kessler Lecture

May 21, 2018

People of all ages have crowded the Teatro Sociale theater in Trento to follow the talk by Piero Angela, protagonist of the Bruno Kessler Lecture, the institutional appointment par excellence of the Foundation

This morning, people of all ages have crowded the Teatro Sociale theater in Trento to follow the talk by Piero Angela, the protagonist of the Bruno Kessler Lecture, the institutional appointment par excellence of the Foundation, held annually by experts called to deal with major current issues for a lay audience. In particular, in the year dedicated to artificial intelligence, Fondazione Bruno Kessler invited the well-known journalist and science popularizer for a discussion on how technology has changed and is changing society.

The event, moderated by Massimo Sideri, editorialist of the Corriere della Sera newspaper and head of Corriere Innovazione, was opened by Fondazione Bruno Kessler President Francesco Profumo, the councilor for the University, Research, Youth policies of the Autonomous Province of Trento, Sara Ferrari, the Chancellor of the University of Trento, Paolo Collini and the director of the Department of Knowledge of the Autonomous Province of Trento, Livia Ferrario.

“Our Foundation”, Francesco Profumo pointed out, “has written an important piece of the history of research in the field of artificial intelligence, starting from the 80s. Today FBK has geared itself up to maintain its position of leadership and to strengthen it, looking towards the future, and to write a new page, unheard of as of yet, of the history of an artificial intelligence capable of translating into scientific and technological innovation on the one hand and in social and cultural innovation on the other. An artificial intelligence that does not intend to replace people, but is aimed at collaborating with human beings to face the big challenges of our times and of life”.

“The societies of the past”, said Piero Angela, “have been poor, with little food and high mortality for millenia. The availability of food has increased rapidly with the coming of machines to the fields. At the time of the Unification of Italy, 70% of the population still worked in the countryside and the same number were illiterate. Today, less than 4% of the population works in agriculture, with high productivity, and there is mass schooling. At the same time, the circulation of information and ideas through communication channels has gone up, with an increasingly active participation of citizens in political life and the attainment of new rights. In other words, technology has radically changed the economy, politics and the human condition. Now, with the coming of technologies that require new skills and the ability to adapt to rapidly changing situations, a critical period has begun. But our culture is running late on this front”.

From these considerations emerges the need to involve students in initiatives that will expand their training with a view to evolving and analyzing the world to come.

“In order to build the future”, Profumo stressed, “we need information and this is a belief that Piero Angela has supported throughout his career as a popularizer and that he continues to pursue today with new methods. The attention to young people, their training and information are issues that unite us and it is precisely for this reason that, thanks to his intuition, we have had the pleasure of organizing a unique initiative in Turin this year. Its name is Building the future and proposes a training program consisting of conferences to tell the coming world to future ruling class, offering analysis and visions, through the voice of great protagonists of the present. I am pleased to announce, on this special occasion in which we host Piero Angela in Trento, that Fondazione Bruno Kessler, together with the University of Trento and the Autonomous Province of Trento, has decided that this wonderful initiative will be offered also in Trentino next year”.

During the event, Piero Angela did not fail to tell anecdotes about his life as a student and his profession, emphasizing how it is necessary to get personally involved, never feel satisfied and continue to learn.

In the theater there were also hundreds of high school girls and boys from Trentino who had the opportunity to ask Piero Angela some questions about the professions of the future, the education to innovation, the ethical questions of technology.

The “Bruno Kessler Lecture” series of conferences was inaugurated in 2013 by Michael Spence, a professor at New York University and Nobel Prize for Economics recipient. Other speakers included Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize for Non-fiction with “Weapons, Steel and Diseases”, the English mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, winner of the Faraday Prize, Heiner Bielefeldt, Special Rapporteur at the United Nations and Roberto Viola, General Manager of DG Connect of the European Commission, who last year held a lecture on the Internet of the future.

Piero Angela, a journalist and author of dozens of books born in Turin, received the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science, nine honorary degrees and the Gold Medal for Culture by the President of the Italian Republic.

Foto Federico Nardelli

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