Editoriale

The medium does not equal the message

di Alfonso Casalini

The medium does not equal the message

While Europe is involved in facing the social and economic difficulties heightened by the pandemic, there are several innovations that are ready to be implemented and to be part of our daily lives. Among them, public debate pays great attention to the enormous possibility that 5G could represent for our development. It’s out of doubt that 5G, and the subsequent development of IoT technologies, could be one of the “next great things” of the very next years. As well as it is out of doubt that this technology could sensibly transform many patterns in cultural production and consumption. Nevertheless, there is a huge risk that the cultural and creative sector could misunderstand the real potential enabled by this kind of technology: a major understanding of non-technological needs. The very real potentiality is not only in the development of new and powerful technological platforms. Neither it is only in the creation of new social platforms. It is in the possibility to connect human beings with “cultural products and services”, it is the possibility to give human beings a more profound understanding of the place where they live and to engage with their own territories. On the other hand, new tech-introduction could give new perspectives about how people react to specific cultural stimuli, prompting us in a data-driven interpretation of reality. In this framework, however, the threat is that cultural and creative professional, organization, and public administrations could be only attracted by the Wow effect that often this kind of technologies produce, and, thus, interpreting it as a sort of a contemporary Wunderkammer developed in a global scale. The possibilities of this new kind of technology are far greater than this: but to reach the real potentiality, we need to develop knowledge and competencies that could enable us in structuring a new system of thought. A system of thought that uses tech to reach humanity, to understand cultural needs in an effective way, in order to understand how to better engage with cultural targets. A system of thought where tech is just a production factor into the wider cultural and creative value chain. After all, as most of the people who love culture know, the famous McLuhan phrase claims that The medium is the message”, and not that the medium equals it.

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Reti creative

IVIPRO: Narrating Italy through Videogames

di Andrea Dresseno

Videogames can become the way to discover the world that surrounds us: this is the premise of the Italian Videogame Program project. IVIPRO is a national and cross-regional project, working closely with all local institutions. On one hand, we are mapping Italy from a videogame-oriented perspective, to identify locations and stories that are more suitable for virtual worlds; on the other hand, we entertain a continuous dialogue with software houses, local institutions and museums, in order to understand their needs and help them in discovering how to promote the Italian heritage inside videogames. The core of the project is the recently launched Places & Tales database, available in Early Access. A tool – based on four different categories: Locations, Themes, Characters and Objects – which can give developers inspiration for the narration of their video games, offering in-depth analysis of Italian places and stories. The article will focus on: an overview on the Italian videogame industry and cultural context; IVIPRO and its goals; an in-depth analysis of the database, plus some concrete examples of games set in Italy and of fascinating locations and stories.

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Tecno-scenari

What Big Data Is and How Can We Use It

di Luigi Laura

In recent years, we have witnessed an exponential growth of the amount of data we are generating. As an example, consider the numbers depicted in Figure 1, that shows what happens in one minute in Internet, for both the years 2016 and 2017. In a single minute, approximately 150 million email are sent, 350 thousand new tweets appear in Twitter, and 40 thousand posts in Instagram, both in 2016 and in 2017. But the figure allows us also to see the impressive growth, in a single year, of some statistics: the search queries in Google raised from 2.4 to 3.5 million, video views in Youtube jumped from 2.78 to 4.1 million, and Uber Rides almost triplicated, from approximately 1300 to 3800. WhatsApp messages exchanged went from 20 to 29 million. There is an explosion of data, and the natural question is whether we can use it to improve our daily lives. We already witnessed some examples in which we can exploit the data: Google Maps has real time information about traffic data, and suggests us the fastest route available according to this info. Amazon knows what we bought, i.e., what we like, and can suggest us similar items based on shopping preferences of people that have similar tastes. Apple (and other companies) can recognize our friends in the pictures, that are geolocalized thanks to the built-in GPS in our smartphones, and helps us in retrieving and organizing them. We choose restaurants and hotels based on the feedback of thousands of customers in Tripadvisor. Big Data is already in our lives. In the following section, we will try to provide a better picture of what Big Data is. Then, the natural question become “How can we use it?”

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