Porte in faccia dalle istituzioni, contratti alla NASA, brevetti, finanziamenti, cervelli in fuga, ricercatori…
In quest’ultima settimana sono state spese molte parole, parole che mi hanno descritta in modi diversi che non sempre sono stati specchio della realtà.
Uno degli episodi a cui faccio riferimento è stata la menzione come sostenitrice di De Magistris per il suo progetto di ricostruzione di Napoli, progetto di cui non ero neanche a conoscenza.
Ciò che mi preme chiarire in questo contesto è il quadro che più testate hanno dipinto a tinte fosche, quello dell’Italietta dalle università vecchie e snob e dei cervelli in fuga, quadro che non rende conto delle istituzioni italiane che mi hanno aperto le porte, sostenuta, incoraggiata ed educata e che in molti contesti pubblici non ho mancato di menzionare.
A maggio, dopo la vittoria del concorso Axelera Singularity Contest, che metteva in palio una borsa di studio di 30.000 dollari per partecipare al corso Graduate Studies Program 2012 della Singularity University di base nel centro ricerca NASA di Mountain View, ho iniziato a bussare a delle porte di diverse istituzioni italiane, per chiedere un sostegno e un coinvolgimento di media partnership per il mio blog,Singularity trough my eyes, per le spese di viaggio ed assistenza sanitaria che non erano comprese nella borsa di studio.
Ho avuto la pronta risposta personale del sindaco di Firenze Matteo Renzi che mi ha indirizzata al coordinatore dell’Area Programmazione, Sostenibilità e innovazione del Comune, l’ing. Giovanni Menduni, il quale a sua volta mi ha invitata ad un incontro a cui sono seguite diverse occasioni di incontro e di contatto.
Alla Provincia di Livorno sono andata personalmente, per vedere quali tipi di opportunità potessero essere compatibili con le mie esigenze, trovando anche qui tanta disponibilità e voglia di collaborazione. Toscani nel Mondo ed in particolare Nicola Cecchi mi hanno accolto a braccia aperte, come InToscana e GiovaniSi con cui abbiamo da subito stabilito una Media Partnership con il mio blog personale.
Questo breve diario di bordo delle settimane precedenti alla mia partenza mostrano che nessuno in Italia mi ha chiuso le porte in faccia, compresa la mia Università, l’ISIA di Firenze, che mi ha sostenuta ed aiutata in ogni mia perplessità ed esigenza.
Ciò che ho detto in più di un’ intervista non è molto distante da quanto ho scritto qui sopra ma è stato manipolato e riportato in maniera inesatta per proporre l’ennesimo esempio di una Italia che si vuole piangere addosso e che pensa che l’unica soluzione sia andare all’estero, dove tutto sembra più bello, nuovo e luccicante e le opportunità sono tante e per tutti.
Non sono un cervello in fuga, non sono fuggita, sono andata e poi tornata, da un’ esperienza che vorrei potesse essere di tutti, il mio intento non è quello di fuggire, cerco la mia strada, come tutti e colgo le occasioni che mi si presentano.
Questa emigrazione, il brain drain di giovani talenti ha certamente degli aspetti negativi se la fuga è costretta ma aldilà della facile retorica è un passaggio essenziale per la formazione in qualunque tipo di professione e per l’arricchimento culturale di ogni individuo.
La differenza fra i due fenomeni è che il primo si chiama fuga, il secondo mobilità.
Credo che in Italia e più in generale in Europa, le acque inizino a muoversi vedo una voglia di recuperare il terreno perso in questi ultimi anni. Forse è la mia natura ottimista che mi guida, ma credo che ci sia un piccolo spazio di ottimismo all’orizzonte per chiunque si sforzi di guardare lontano.
Personalmente sono grata per quello che ho ricevuto e sto ricevendo dall’Italia, continuo ad essere studentessa alla specialistica dell’ISIA di Firenze, che ho frequentato per 5 anni, nessuno mi ha offerto un contratto a 5 cifre in America, come da alcuni articoli si poteva immaginare.
Sono grata all’ISIA per le opportunità, la formazione ricevuta e per i rapporti che si sono creati con studenti e docenti, e ritengo che questa importante realtà dell’alta formazione italiana, dovrebbe essere meglio supportata dalle Istituzioni per il servizio che rende ai giovani e al territorio.
Sono riconoscente ad Axelera, giovane organizzazione italiana fatta da italiani che ha lo scopo di favorire lo sviluppo e il potenziale italiano per affrontare le grandi sfide del nostro tempo, Axelera mi ha permesso di partire alla volta dell’America con la borsa di studio che l’organizzazione stessa ha messo a disposizione.
In particolare ringrazio le persone che mi hanno aiutata, spronata ed hanno permesso questa esperienza che mi ha cambiato la vita ed in particolare mi riferisco in primis al mio mentore, il Prof. Paternich, al Direttore S. M. Bettega, l’occhio dall’alto, e a Riccardo Sabatini, senza il suo foglietto nulla di tutto ciò sarebbe stato possibile e in fine tutti i membri di Axelera che hanno scelto di puntare su di me e hanno creduto nelle mie capacità e nella mia potenzialità.
DNA sequencing, nano robots, genetic engineering and synthetic biology as future of a Designer?
Over the past few weeks I’ve been listening to amazing lectures about biotechnology, synthetic biology and genetic engineering.
I have been impressed by the interesting and amazing intersection between biology and design.
I’ve learned how to design in nanoscale, I’ve created a glowing bacteria colony, I’ve sequenced my DNA, I’ve injected nanorobots inside a cockroach and I’ve been dreaming about thousands of amazing ideas!
One of my professors is Andrew Hessel, a futurist and catalyst in biological technologies. He is also the co-founder of thePink Army Cooperative, the world’s first cooperative biotechnology company, which is aiming to make open source viral therapies for cancer.
Andrew is an advocate of open genetic engineering, believing that the field will increasingly resemble the software industry and give rise to open source, single purpose (app), and ‘freemium’ applications, and that it will be spearheaded by younger programmer-entrepreneurs.
Andrew says: “the only sustainable architecture we have is life”.
“The beauty of biotech is it is manufactured for almost free. But it couldn’t accelerate. I couldn’t see a way to make drugs better faster and cheaper. Whole Pharma business couldn’t accelerate. Weren’t finding a way to translate all this new data and push it through the pipeline. So he dropped out and went to Thailand. It took him a couple months just to slow down. At the end of 6 month, he realized. It all came back to computers. He had a computer. Very few people did. So he started talking to those with computers. People writing books. People from yahoo writing code. He writes genetic code. His goal became Genetic engineering from anywhere…from a beach in thailand. From beach in thailand realized Synthetic Biology is going to be most important revolution in the next 100 years. Kinda like the computer in the 50s.” Andrew Hessel
Some Andrew suggestion:
1. Avoid the conventional
2. Start Small
3. Revel in the potential 4. Think Different
Now it’s time to speak about one other extraordinary person that I’ve had the honor and pleasure to meet here at Singularity University: Ido Bachelet. Ido is the ambassador of DNA Origami. After a Ph.D. in pharmacology and experimental therapeutics in Jerusalem, a first postdoc at M.I.T in biological engineering, a second postdoc at Harvard University working on immunomics and DNA nanotechnology, he opened “one of the most amazing laboratories” in the words ofRaymond McCauley.
Thanks to him, I can now design in nanoscale with nanocad (software for designing at the molecular level)! During his lesson “Cad tools for DNA origami design” I’ve been deeply immerged in this fascinating nano world uncovering the potential of nanoscale.
DNA origami is the nanoscale folding of DNA to create arbitrary two and three dimensional shapes at the nanoscale. The process involves the folding of a long single strand of viral DNA aided by multiple smaller “staple” strands. These shorter strands bind to the longer strands in various places, resulting in various shapes, including a smiley face and a coarse map of China and the Americas, along with many three-dimensional structures such as cubes. This design is then fed into a computer program that calculates the placement of individual staple strands. Each staple binds to a specific region of the DNA template. The DNA is mixed, then heated and cooled. As the DNA cools, the various staples pull the long strand into the desired shape. Designs are directly observable via several methods, including atomic force microscopy, or fluorescence microscopy when DNA is coupled to fluorescent materials.
The possibilities are endless: therapeutic, environmental protection, computation, materials, defense and security, food supply, nutrition, sensing, art and design.
What for me is really important is to materialize nanoscale biological abstract concepts into something touchable, to play with and to learn from, and my goal and hope is to converge design tools and design thinking with biology tools that everybody can use, and in the future every kid will be able to play and learn.
This is not a fraternity teenage american movie but is the intense weird atmosphere during the team building process in the last week.
We’ve been involved in cool team building exercises, workshops, speed dating or creating new world concepts, with the main purpose to get more in contact with mates and get to know each other more than just knowing them through their skills.
After several proposals and different “walking meetings” my team has been born rather naturally!
The most important thing that we are sharing is our main vision to the bottom one billion people creating something to be proud of and something that will makes us happy.
Something that could take a little step in the next coming months and then scale up in the next years.
We trust in each other, we believe that is really important to have a lot of communication, openness and flexibility.
We share the perspective of enjoying our time together and having fun!
So let’s work hard and play harder!
Dearly beloved I’ve a lot of expectations about these 6 weeks in front of us.
I dedicate to all my GSP12 classmates the best time and the most successful ideas.
I dedicate to you this amazing video with the hope we work in complete equilibrium with everyone!
At the entrance of Autodesk gallery in San Francisco:
“Design has never played a more important role in turning change into opportunity. Every day, Autodesk customers are recreating the world around us and how we experience it – from new and innovative processes to things never before seen. This gallery showcases some of that daring work and illustrates the ways an idea can become real”.
We have had the pleasure to visit one of the most amazing and innovative Company in the world, mainly if you are a designer as me! Autodesk is an American mutlinational corporation that focuses on 3D design software for use in the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media and entertainment industries.
In March 2008 Autodesk was named number 25 on Fast Company’s list of “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies”. In 2011, Autodesk was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for the fourth consecutive year. The same year, Glassdoor.com listed Autodesk as one of the top 25 companies for work-life balance.
The company was founded in 1982by John Walker, a coauthor of the first versions of the company’s flagship CAD software product AutoCAD.
Autodesk software has been used in the design of everything: New York Freedom Tower, Tesla electric cars, Hermann Miller chairs, Zaha Hadid and Renzo Piano architecture…
The company has announced plans to transition most of its software into cloud services over the next three years.
We have assisted to an amazing lecturer by Scott Summit about the future of design and 3D printing.
About the future of 3d printing.
The most important point of possibilities and suggestions are:
-design as nature
-create as a body
-increase complexity to reduce cost
-start a product company with up-front cost
-really truly optimize
-see things that can’t be seen
-it makes everyone happy
-they self replicate
// 3D PRINTING TREND:
-print your next home
-print in space
-print living issue
Everybody has the potential to be a designer with this exponentially increasing technology, so wich will be the real role of designers?
Abbiamo visitato una delle più innovative e sorpendenti Company nel mondo, soprattutto per una designer come me! Autodesk è una multinazionale americana che punta alla realizzazione di software 3D per l’uso in diversi campi: architettura, ingegnieria, costruzioni, media e nell’industria dell’intrattenimento.
Nel marzo 2008 Autodesk è stata al 25° posto nella lista di Fast company per “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies”.
L’azienda è stata fondata nel 1982 da John Walker, co-autore della prima versione del software CAD e del prodotto AutoCAD.
I software Autodesk sono stati utilizzati in diversi campi di progettazione: New York Freedom Tower, Tesla electric cars, sedie Hermann Miller, progetti di Zaha Hadid e Renzo Piano.
La compagnia ha annunciato ufficialmente di voler transare la maggior parte dei suoi software nel servizio cloud entro tre anni.
Durante la visita abbiamo assistito a una interessantissima lezione tenuta da Scott Summit riguardo il futuro del design e del 3D printing.
I punti più importanti riguardo queste tematiche sono state:
-design e natura
-design il corpo umano
-incrementare la complessità per ridurre il costo
-iniziare una azienda senza troppi costi iniziali
-vedere cose che non potevano essere viste
-possibilità di auto-replicazione
// 3D PRINTING TREND:
-3D print la tua prossima casa
-3D print nello spazio
-3D print tessuti organici/animali
Tutti hanno il potenziale di essere designer con la democratizzazione degli strumenti, quindi quale sarà il futuro ruolo del designer?
“We believe that innovations in biology should be accessible, affordable, and open to everyone. We’re building a community biology lab for amateurs, inventors, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to experiment with friends.”
Kristina Hathaway co-founder
BioCurious is a complete working laboratory and technical library for entrepreneurs to cheaply access equipment, materials, and co-working space , a training center for biotechniques, with an emphasis on safety , a meeting place for citizen scientists, hobbyists, activists, and students.
“You’ll be genetic engineer after today” Alaina Hardie
We have mixed an organism (E-Coli bacteria) with plasmid to create a new DNA and a new colony of glue bacterias. Simply amazing!
“Crediamo che l’innovazione nella biologia debba essere accessibile e aperta a tutti. Stiamo costruendo un lab per amatori, inventori, imprenditori e chiunque voglia sperimentare con gli amici” Kristina Hathaway co-founder
BioCurious è un laboratorio e una libreria per imprenditori attrezzata con materiali per il co-working, centro di “allenamento” per biotecniche, un luogo di incontro per scienziati, attivisti e studenti.
“You’ll be genetic engineer after today” Alaina Hardie
Abbiamo mixato un organmismo (E-Coli bacteria) con un plasma per creare un nuvo DNA e una colonia di batteri luminescenti. Straordinario!
Le immagini sono il risultato del lavoro del chimico Alessandro Tocchio e di una designer, me!
“we need to think exponentially and not linearly. You have to think how to impact 1 billion people in 10 years!” Peter Diamandis co-founder SU
This is our goal for this summer!
“The myriad of Grand Challenges facing the world are growing, and many are growing at an exponential rate. Despite significant emphasis and investment, advances in meeting the Millennium Development Goals are not enough to reach them by the 2015 deadline. In global health, disease and pandemics such as malaria, avian flu, and cholera affect more than a billion people. Lack of access to energy limits the economic development of billions while at the same time energy production is one of the principle causes of global warming– accelerating global climate change and putting places and people throughout the world at risk. These exponentially growing Grand Challenges will take political will, large investments, and the development of equally accelerating technologies to affect large enough numbers of people to make a real difference. Without immediate large-scale responses, the continuing effects of these challenges in the next 10 years will range from unacceptable to disastrous. The 10^9+ Team Project sets out to address these grand challenges by focusing teams on developing business models, products or services that can positively impact a billion people within a decade.”
Ray Kurzweil co-founder SU
This week has been really important for our work here at SU, beacuse in 6 days we’ve assisted to 36 speakers regarding the 8 big Grand Challenges in the world about: Education, Global Health, Energy, Environment, Food, Water, Security and Poverty. Some notes from the 8 Grand Challenges: 1# EDUCATION
Why should we care?
• Intelligence characterizes the human race
• Education is the great equalizer
• Essential to survive and succeed
“For more than a hundred years, complaint has been made of the unmethodical ways in which schools are conducted, but it is only in the last thirty that any serious attempt has been made to find a remedy for this state of things. And with what result? Schools remain exactly as they were.” John Amos Comenius, 1632 AD
How to introduce a silent revolution and how to outbeat the system?
“None of us alone is as smart as all of us together” – Francois Taddei
How can we digitalize laboratories?
Promote child-centered cooperative learning:
Empathy, peaceful social interactions
2# GLOBAL HEALTH
Estimated 7 billion mobile phones already in world , there are more phones than people!
Mobile Health: Medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices. Learn from the past. Listen to the customer
Don’t focus exclusively on technology. Spend as much time in field as possible
Not credible to do strategy work until have done on-ground work
Need government support for scale
1.3 billion in darkness. Imagine living in a village your whole life without being able to turn on a lightbulb
Energy is a primary driver in all activities 2012 – year of sustainable energy for all.
• If you want to go to 80% renewables you cannot use the grid we have today
• Wind blows in the middle of the night, it doesn’t blow when you want to turn on the power
• Problem between the generator and the consumer
• Fossil fuel use – burning diesel for example – is the biggest problem – avoid waste!
• 2 billion have no access to grid or electricity
• They use wood, charcoal, waste at up to $2/kwh
• 500 million in 500K villages in India have no access
• Lack of power holds back social mobility, educational, growth prospects
The energy industry will make $507 Trillion in revenues in the next 40 years
Solar Trillions future of energy?
1. Is it clean?
2. Is it financially viable?
3. Is it scalable?
Bioenergy, biomass and biofuels?
Green plants are solar plants – they convert solar energy into biomass using photosynthesis
The only energy source that can fill the gap is the sun! Is it so?
speaker: Dr Paul Werbos, Tony Seba, Robert Freling
How we mobilize political will so that all people have access to clean water and air, equitable distribution of benefits and burdens. How to reduce waste? Reality: many of us are sick and dying due to toxins, pollutantsa and scarring landscapes.
The environmental justice vision is to expand democratic space for all voices to be heard and incorporated into solutions that work.
Individuals can act against powerful industrial and gov forces to protect their homes & families.
Decreasing health disparities:
1. Get a handle on environmental conditions in neighborhoods
2. Air cleanliness – impact on asthma, other conditions
3. Better food and nutrition in all communities
4. Planning for waste and green benefits for all communities
What are indicators for a healthy community?
• ambient air quality
• healthy indoor environments
• access to good food
• equitable public transit
• toxic free products
• open space
• reduction in (garbage) waste
“Sustainability is not the burden on the bottom lines that many executives believe it to be” Sustainability shoud be the touchstone of the innovation.
-Harvard Business Review
speaker: Stewart Brand, Peggy Shepherd, Hunter Lovins 5#FOOD
Blindness starts with night blindness based on missing nutrients.
Hidden Hunger – a little thin, small, not emaciated but malnourished, lack of nutrients in diet – vitamins and minerals – micronutrients.
Global hidden hunger affects more than 2billion worldwide.
Expertise in the first world, deliver that experience to the doorstep of those who need it.
• Animal farming is by far the most environmentally destructive industry on the planet
• 30% of the land surface of Earth is devoted to animal farming = huge opportunity cost (= huge opportunity!)
◦ if this were converted to natural state it would remove 13 years of CO2 level growth
• absolutely no requirement for animal protein for a balanced, nutritious diet
• about 95% of grains grown in the Midwest (US) go to animals
• the worlds 4 major commodity crops already supply more than 100% of the requirements for calories and protein, including every essential amino acid, for 9 billion people. Helping farmers, product sales, not a lot of infrastructure but great for local information resources.
Tissue engineering… & food? 3d printing food?
Modern Meadow – printing food? still in stealth – no additional info to share socially Organovo Company is bioprinting tissue, could print animal tissue for feed! Animals as technology = transformed low density biomass into high protein foods that people love to eat.
The Problem Today:
• 783 million people without water access globally
• 50% of people in hospitals are there due to water-related diseases
• 6,000 children die from water related diseases EVERY DAY
How do we solve for scale?
• Integrated Approach – water purification systems
• Findings and Key Initiatives
• Franchise models
• Document Best Practices
• Engage Stakeholders
• Integrate Functional Expertise
• Creating Interactive Maps of what we see happening as it happens – transparency, bottom up
• Open source software, we give it away and want people to use it
• We think of interesting ways to visualize and make it actionable
• Change the way information flows in the world
• technology is only about 10% of getting off the ground
• it’s about who you’re working with and trustbuilding
• 8 trillion texts sent per year – very powerful tool
• make sure your tech works even on the dumbest phones
Data is changing the game
• We have info — do we do good with that?
◦ It brings transparency
◦ But is hackable, with can endanger people
• Open data
• Include sensor data with Ushihidi is the next step
• Analyzing data – SwiftRiver
◦ pummeled by information
◦ 250 million tweets/day
◦ how do you find the important info?
◦ curation tools combines search and the power of the crowd
◦ real-time info → processed into river → filter with natural language process and crowd → visualized and organized
We don’t just create products, we fix real problems
• What does it mean to be poor?
• How to find out: talk to poor people, and especially: children
◦ What does it feel like if you’re a child to be poor?
• “Being poor is as being a ghost. I can walk and act and do, but no-one sees us, we are invisible, nobody hears us. We are like ghosts”
Poverty is a way of being in the world:
• It’s as much about dignity, respect and identity as it is about a lack of water and financial resources.
• the experience of poverty is profoundly person, intimate and human
• “There are no masses. Only ways to see masses and categorize them.”
◦ No such thing as “the poor”
• because it’s about people it’s awesomely complex
◦ how people make meaning of the world they’re in
• can be understood through empathy
• how we see and make sense of the problem frames what we do as the response
There is a framework:
• think about vulnerability, exclusion, impoverishment
◦ vulnerability – pele are affected by by or resilient to the array of changing threats in their environment
◦ social exclusion – people are marginalized from full participation in the societies in which they live:
▪ forces in play acting to exlude people
▪ social status
▪ group membership
▪ legal & economic
◦ Impoverishment – lack of material conditions and services held to be essential both physically and psychologically to qulaity of life
▪ intesntiy multi-dimensional and reinforcing
▪ relative: consequences of locally determined social values
• From poverty to resilience, exclusion to inclusion, and out of impoverishment to sufficiency
This is one of the most important weeks of this summer: every day there are the Grand Global Challenges presentations!
From 9 AM to 10 PM we have lessons, conferences and lecturer about Education, Global Health, Energy, Environment, Food, Water, Security and Poverty.
At the end of this important session (in two days) I will tell you the most important points about these 8 Grand Challenges.
7.30 wake up alarm clock
9.00/10.00 Biotech & Bioinformatics
11.30/12.30 Medicine & Neuroscience
14.00/15.00 Space & Physical Science
15.00/17.30 TP Skills: Team Building
17.30/18.30 Wellness Program
20.00/21.00 Entrepreneurship: Eric Ries
21.00 Innovation Lab, workshops and meeting mate
03.00/07.30 deep sleep
I’ve just finished my first Arduino shot, now I’m designing a fractal jewellery that I will print in 3D for real in just few minutes and I need to prepare the unconference for tomorrow.
Unconferences seems like to be as PKN night and everybody who wants can present and talk about projects, passions and others.
In just 164 hours I’ve been involved in 4 projects, 2 workshops, 3 start-up visits and 25 lessons from different speakers. I constantly feel like I’m in a spin cycle!!!
I’m coordinating The Golden Bridge Team to design San Francisco LED t-shirts and I’ve started researching for an “Emotiv” project to translate our dreams in something touchable, the deepest Freud’s dream…
Last night after Autodesk Innovation Lab workshop, I dreamt that robots killed us all. I woke up panting. Scary.
Actually, I think I’ll be soon transformed in a transhuman girl or a cyborg!
That sounds good!