The debate between progress and scepticism on stage at TEDxLakeComo 2019


Institutional Communication Service

27 September 2019

On Saturday, November 9, the International congress centre of Villa Erba in Cernobbio, Italy, will open its doors to the 11th TEDxLakeComo. The theme this year is "Noi (sapiens), il progresso" [We (sapiens), progress], and it takes inspiration from the talk that Steven Pinker, Professor of Cognitive Sciences at Harvard, held at TED 2018, at which he wondered why, despite humanity is living in favorable conditions in which it had never lived until now, there is so much skepticism when we talk about progress. The Software Institute of the USI Faculty of Informatics is partner of TEDxLakeComo.

Prof. Pinker argues that believing in progress is not an act of faith or misleading optimism but acknowledging what has happened in large part over the last 250 years. In fact, with the help of reason and science it has been possible to achieve extraordinary results. And, with the well-being of humanity at heart, it will be possible to face and solve the most challenging problems that humanity has ever had to face. Problems that partly derive from our nature as sapiens and partly from the model of development that we have adopted and are adopting, precisely to progress.

For the TEDxLakeComo 2019 there will be 13 keynote speeches delivered on stage at Villa Erba. Among others, there will be talks that describe the incredible results obtained by the convergence of biology and electronic engineering; that analyse the geopolitical conditions that despite the turbulence maintain peace in the world; that tell the wonders that can still be drawn from traveling but also just from looking at the things that surround us; that explain how machines are taught to learn how children do; that will warn us about technological solutions as a way to solve collective problems; that highlight the difficulty - in a rapidly changing world - of designing infrastructure made to last a hundred years; and more.

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