How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Social Evolution Through Massively Decentralised Distributed Resilient Networks

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I entered a Scientific American contest with an essay titled "Social Evolution Through Massively Decentralised Distributed Resilient Networks" on How Should Humanity Steer the Future. Help me win by reading and rating the essay here :D

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Survival in the New Knowledge Economy - Esplori at SXSWedu Conference 2014

I'll be presenting Esplori at SWSXedu Conference & Festival 2014, held in Austin - Texas from March 3rd to 6th. The conference is today one of the leading education oriented events in the country. It seeks to drive meaningful conversation and collaboration around the most promising practices to improve teaching and learning by bringing about a forward-learning community of education innovators, all committed to creating a brighter tomorrow.


The Conference introduces thought-provoking featured and keynote speakers - from recognized scholars to CEOs and members of innovative education organizations - that will attempt to shed light on today’s leading topics in education. Also, the conference is enriched by a diverse combination of additional sessions and workshops which follow the same pattern of speakers and topics.

I will be participating on an one hour Core Conversation session on the topic Survival in the New Knowledge Economy with professional musician David Brake - founder of the online education organizations Teacher 2 Go LLC and Here's the summary of our discussion:

What effect do the economic and technological changes taking place today have on adult education inside and outside of the classroom? Are the goals the same, or have the rules changed? Are we addressing these changes holistically, or ignoring them hoping they’ll go away? Let’s take a step back, and have a conversation about the challenges and opportunities these changes present.

Thursday, March 6
10:30AM - 11:30AM
Hilton Austin Downtown Salon A
500 East 4th Street

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When I stopped believing in ___ (ongoing)

Inspired by Scott Adam's Skeptical Journey, I decided to write me own list of realisations and moments of clarity, in chronological order. As Adams writes, a rational mind needs regular maintenance. One of the maintenance systems I employ is to remind myself of things I used to be sure about and later discovered to be untrue. A healthy rational mind needs regular doses of humility, as well as introspection.

Here is the approximate age at which I stopped believing in different stuff.

Age 5-10

  • Mickey Mouse (We call it "Topolino" in Italy) and cartoons in general as real people
  • Santa Claus (Babbo Natale)
  • Tooth Fairy
  • Dragons
  • Most people aren't mean and cruel

Age 10-15

  • God
  • Angels
  • Miracles
  • Money isn't important for happiness
  • Ghosts
  • Superior human races exist
  • Looks don't matter

Age 15-20

  • Reincarnation
  • People will understand if things are explained well enough
  • Nationalism isn't really that bad
  • College is always good for you
  • Memories are generally accurate
  • Alcoholism is a choice
  • School reputation doesn't matter
  • History as taught in school is generally accurate
  • You can do anything you set your mind to
  • Aliens are visiting us/have visited us already
  • Politicians know what they are doing
  • Money has inherent value
  • The planet is too big for man to fuck it up
  • Ceteris paribus, the better option will be implemented
  • State controlled socialism works

Age 20-25

  • Gay is a "choice"
  • Most adults know what they're talking about
  • Don't swim soon after eating
  • Free market capitalism works
  • The government isn't controlled by big money
  • Hard work is almost always rewarded
  • Anybody can make if they try hard enough
  • Environment doesn't matter as much as genetics
  • A calorie is a calorie
  • Germs are bad
  • Talent and hard work will carry you farther than personal connections in your career
  • All drugs are bad
  • Humans are more likely to be real than artificial/software
  • The stock market is mostly legitimate
  • You can win an argument with facts

Age 25-today

  • Elections can work, we just need a good party to vote for
  • Wealth doesn't make you more attractive
  • If you're doing something wrong, the people around you will always let you know in a timely fashion
  • Genetics doesn't matter as much as environment
  • Most People avoid overt self-destruction.
  • The golden rule works
  • Everything can be explained to a person if you explain it the right way
  • Being clever and intellectual is always a good thing
  • Vaccines aren't safe
  • The universe follows simple rules that humans can easily understand
  • Vitamin supplements are backed by science
  • Indefinite lifespan is impossible
  • Drinking eight glasses of water a day is good for you
  • Free will
  • Management is a science
  • Solving your problems can bring you lasting happiness
  • Some men don't watch porn
  • When somebody informs me of a quirk or a flaw I have, I'll be prompt to understand it and act accordingly. (Corollary: I need a minimum of 7 diverse people from different contexts and at different times.)

Feel free to comment and add your own below. This list will be updated as time goes.

Thoughts on the Nobel Peace Prize 2013

This year the Nobel Peace Prize has been very personal for me. I was flown to Oslo to speak at the Telenor Youth Conference, to give a keynote speech to a wonderful group of 25 social entrepreneurs under 25, to share my vision with Esplori, the startup I founded, on how to democratise the tools for teaching and learning worldwide. I told them my life story, the mission that drives me, and some life lessons that I've learned along the way, that might be useful to them in pursuing their projects.

Nobel federico pistono invitation

Official Invitation to thr Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony. Notice how they misspelled my name (I knew I was just an impostor!)

We did this in collaboration with the Nobel Peace Centre, and we were invited to the official Nobel Ceremony, at the Oslo city hall. As I write this on my phone, I'm sitting behind the king of Norway (trying to put my thoughts into words without getting caught).

King of Norway

The King of Norway

This year's prize goes to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The speech justifying this choice outlines what the OPCW has achieves in the last 15 years, with a significant reduction of chemical weapons worldwide, many countries signing the treaty, and the steps they took in making the world safer.

Outside Nobel Peace Centre

Outside the Nobel Peace Centre

All this is very good, chemical weapons are a real threat and I'm sure OPCW has done excellent work in the past three lustra. However, I find myself in a state of emotional conflict. While I understand the reason for this choice, I see its merits, and I'm honoured to be here at the ceremony, I also feel that this has been a very, to use a mild term, safe choice.

What I mean by that is that there are a few elephants in the room, and this year prize seems to be ignoring them wholly. The United States is the country with the most troops deployed worldwide (1,3 million in more than 150 countries), and plays a crucial geopolitical role. The fact that Obama, a warmonger, received the prize a few years ago is a disgrace, and it undermines the credibility of the organisation as a whole. Giving the prize to OPCW is a safe choice, one that offends no one, and it could have been given any year, since they've been around for so long, and they are (luckily) likely to stay here for some more, hopefully until there are no more chemical weapons in the world.

The Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony as seen from the inside

The Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony as seen from the inside

But the political climate of 2013, I think, was not in need of a safe choice. It required a bold action, one that would send a strong message. Personally, I think it should have been given to Manning, Assange, and Snowden, for exposing war crimes, government abuse, and bringing the topic to the public spotlight, while also carefully selecting the material, ensuring that no human lives were at risk as a result of the leaks. This would have been a smack in the face of governments and agencies that are committing crimes against humanity, against millions of people every day, and would have put into question the imperialism grandiose plans that are being enacted without us knowing, without our consent, against most constitutions of civilised countries, ironically using public money to do so.

This is my two cents, and while I'm honoured and humbled to be here at the Nobel Peace Ceremony, I have a bittersweet taste in my mouth, thinking that it could have been so much more than a safe walk in the park and pats on the back.

assang manning snowden

Maybe a mid way would have been more appropriate, with a shared prize between OPWC and the whistleblowers, though I don't know if that's even allowed by the rules.

Perhaps the future will change my mind, but as of now, I think that bold actions, not safe choices, are required to restore the credibility of this ceremony. And in a perfect world, next year they would take away the prize from Obama, but maybe I'm just being delusional.

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