Category Archives: Real life

Digital Ipseity: Which Identity?

 

Within the next three years, more than seven billion people and businesses will be connected to the Internet. During this time of dramatic increases in access to the Internet, networks have seen an interesting proliferation of systems for digital identity management (i.e. our SPID in Italy). But what is really meant by “digital identity“? All these systems are implemented in order to have the utmost certainty that the data entered by the subscriber (address, name, birth, telephone, email, etc.) is directly coincident with that of the physical person. In other words, data are certified to be “identical” to those of the user; there is a perfect overlap between the digital page and the authentic user certificate: an “idem“, that is, an identity.

This identity is our personal records reflected on the net, nothing more than that. Obviously, this data needs to be appropriately protected from malicious attacks by means of strict privacy rules, as it contains so-called “sensitive” information, but this data itself is not sufficiently interesting for the commercial market, except for statistical purposes on homogeneous population groups. What may be a real goldmine for the “web company” is another type of information: user’s ipseity. It is important to immediately remove the strong semantic ambiguity that weighs on the notion of identity. There are two distinct meanings…

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

Creativity Draws on the Deep Well of the Past

 


Octagonal Well in the Cloister of Giuliano da Sangallo, Faculty of Engineering,
Via Eudossiana, Rome

In the tetralogy “Joseph and His Brothers“, Thomas Mann states, “Deep is the well of the past...”. Sometimes this well is bottomless and it may appear far away and passed, yet all of our actions and everyday decisions come to life by its contents. It is the fundamental substrate, the raw material from which to draw the basic connections of our creativity.

The image of the well, used by Thomas Mann, is very significant. In symbolism, the well is the place where you take contact with the deep self and where to get water that gives life. The ancient times remind us of the socializing role of the well, invested with an aura of sacredness, where sharing with others took place. It was…

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

The new professionals of the interconnected world

interdisciplinary-learningThere is an empty chair at the conference table of business professionals, a not assigned place that increasingly demands for the presence of a new type of integration manager. The demands for an ever-increasing specialization, imposed by the modern world, are bringing out with great emphasis the need for an interdisciplinary professional who understands the demands of specialists and who is able to coordinate and to link actions and decisions. This need, often still ignored, is a direct result of the growing complexity of the modern world and the fast communications inside the network.

Complexity” is undoubtedly the most suitable paradigm to characterize the historical and social model of today’s world, in which the interactions and connections between the various areas now form an inextricable network of relations. Since the ’60s and’ 70s a large group of scholars – including the chemist Ilya Prigogine and the physicist Murray Gell-Mann – began to study what would become a true Science of Complexity.

Yet this is not an entirely new concept: the term means “composed of several parts connected to each other and dependent on each other“, exactly as reality, nature, society, and the environment around us. A “complex” mode of thought integrates and considers all contexts, interconnections, interrelationships between the different realities as part of the vision.

What is professionalism? And who are professionals? What can define a professional? <…>

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

The logical contradictions of the Universe

Ouroboros

Ouroboros

Is Erwin Schrödinger’s wave function – which did in the atomic and subatomic world an operation altogether similar to the one performed by Newton in the macroscopic world – an objective reality or just a subjective knowledge? Physicists, philosophers and epistemologist have debated at length on this matter. In 1960, theoretical physicist Eugene Wigner has proposed that the observer’s consciousness is the dividing line that triggers the collapse of the wave function[1], and this theory was later taken up and developed in recent years. “The rules of quantum mechanics are correct but there is only one system which may be treated with quantum mechanics, namely the entire material world. There exist external observers which cannot be treated within quantum mechanics, namely human (and perhaps animal) minds, which perform measurements on the brain causing wave function collapse[2].

The English mathematical physicist and philosopher of science Roger Penrose developed the hypothesis called Orch-OR (Orchestrated objective reduction) according to which consciousness originates from processes within neurons, rather than from the connections between neurons (the conventional view). The mechanism is believed to be a quantum physical process called objective reduction which is orchestrated by the molecular structures of the microtubules of brain cells (which constitute the cytoskeleton of the cells themselves). Together with the physician Stuart Hameroff, Penrose has suggested a direct relationship between the quantum vibrations of microtubules and the formation of consciousness.

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

Emptiness and Form

 

Being_ParmenidesIn the perennial search of the meaning of life and the fundamental laws that govern nature, man was always faced – for millennia – with the mysterious concept of emptiness. What is emptiness? Does it really exist in nature? Is emptiness the non-being, as theorized by Parmenides?

Until the early years of the last century, technology had not yet been able to equip scientists with the necessary tools to investigate the innermost structure of matter, so the concept of emptiness was always faced with insights and metaphors that led, over the centuries, to a broad philosophical debate.

For the ancient atomist Greek philosophers, the existence of emptiness was not only possible but had become a necessity, becoming the ontological principle for the existence of being: for them, actually, the emptiness that permeates the atoms is what allows movement.

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

A – not exactly United – Kingdom

 

Island of Ventotene – Roman harbour

There once was a Kingdom strongly United, built on the honours of the people of Wessex, of Mercia, Northumbria and East Anglia who knew how to deal with the invasion of the Vikings from the east and of Normans from the south, to come to unify the territory under an umbrella of common intents. Today, however, 48% of them, while keeping solid traditions, still know how to look forward to the future, joining horizons and commercial developments along with the rest of Europe. The remaining 52%, however, look back and can not see anything in front of them if not a desire of isolation, breaking the European dream born on the shores of Ventotene island in 1944 by Altiero Spinelli, Ernesto Rossi and Ursula Hirschmann through the “Manifesto for a free and united Europe“. An incurable fracture in the country was born in a referendum on 23 June, in which just over half of the population asked to terminate his marriage to the great European family, bringing the UK back by 43 years of history.

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

Analog thinking: the boldness to be creative

 

The binary code, although necessary for major social and technological developments, is annihilating the Homo Technologicus, stifling his innate freedom for analog connections.

Rodin1The first widespread use of the binary code was the Morse code alphabet. For decades, this communication system allowed to transmit information over long distances, between ships in the ocean and the mainland, between one continent and another, and today its use is still active in emergency situations. In its disarming simplicity (connect or interrupt two electrical wires), this system proved to be the shortest way to transcribe an alphabet.

Then, the Boolean algebra (binary) represented the language of communication between humans and computers, enabling the translation of instructions and commands towards the processing unit (microprocessor / CPU). This determined the Big Bang of the computers and the technological era…

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The poetic code

 

As well as the simple reading of a musical score is sufficient to an experienced musician to recognize the most velvety harmonic variations of an orchestral piece, so the apparent coldness of a fragment of program code can stimulate emotions of ecstatic contemplation in the developer.

Don’t be misled by the simplicity of the laconic definition of the code as a sequence of instructions to be given to a computer to solve a specific problem. Generally, a problem has multiple solutions, the most simple and fast to implement, the most economical from the point of view of machine cycles or memory, the elegant solution and the makeshift one.

However, there is always a “poetic” solution, the one that has a particular and unusual beauty and that is always generated by the inexhaustible forge of the human intuition….

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Quantum reflections of a winter evening

 

A problem of interpretation?

December 14th, 1900 is known as the date of birth of quantum physics. In fact, that day Max Planck presented his report to the German Physical Society in Berlin, in which he argued that the exchange of energy in the phenomena of emission and absorption of electromagnetic radiation occurs in discrete form, not in continuous form as claimed by electromagnetic classic theory.

It was like opening a door to a new universe, that of subatomic particles. In a few decades it was learned that the basis of the strength of the real world around us (people, objects, plants, animals, etc.) is a joyful swarm of tiny particles distributed in clouds of probability, essentially surrounded by empty space. A shocking and apparently incomprehensible reality for the man of the ‘900: how could that still solid rock actually contain billions of microscopic “objects” in motion?

With the passing of the years, the road was covered deeper and deeper, revealing ever smaller particles for which new unknown names were coined: Leptons, Gluons, Quarks, Neutrinos, Fermions, Bosons, and so on until…

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Filling old bottles with new wine

 

They are filling old bottles with new wine!” This is what the physicist Werner Heisenberg heard exclaiming by his friend and colleague Wolfgang Pauli who, criticizing the approach of the scientists of the time, believed that they had been forcibly glued the notion of “quantum” on the old theory of the planetary-model of Bohr’s atom. Faced with the huge questions introduced by quantum physics, Pauli instead began to observe the new findings from a different point of view, from a new level of reality without the constraints imposed by previous theories.

Newton himself, once he theorized the law of the gravitational field, failing to place it in any of the physical realities of the time, he merely…

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