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Issue no. 3 - 2004

by Redazione FGB [1], 1 June 2004

Over the last few months the issues covered in this site have developed along three main lines.

The main theme of the first is Daniele Navarra's report on "Modern Biotechnology in LDCs: Governing Innovation in India's Agricultural Markets", written during a three-month research project for the FGB.

The project included a trip to India to meet the people and see the places directly concerned -- in a country where agriculture is the main economic activity and which is therefore in a key position in the agricultural biotechnology revolution. Listening to people's opinions on the question of whether or not to use genetically modified organisms provided Navarra with real situations against which to measure his own views on the choices and responsibilities involved in the political management of development.

The main strand in the second line of discussion taken forward in recent months was an online Dialogue between Gian Maria Borrello and Fiorella Operto (who works with the CNR-IAN Robotics Department --Robotlab-- in Genoa and is a member of the Board of the Robotics School). Tommaso Correale Santacroce later joined the debate.

The dialogue opened with a discussion of the relationship between art and robotics. With this input as a leitmotif, the conversation went on to cover topics already considered by Giuseppe O. Longo (professor in Information Theory at the University of Trieste) in the Seminar-Forum held last year on the Foundation's website and by Silvana Barbacci (a researcher with the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste) in her essay "From the Golem to artificial intelligence: science on stage for some existential reflections". This document provided plenty of ideas that also inspired two articles published in the Topics section of the site. One (by Borrello and Correale Santacroce) focused on and echoed the title of the essay, while the other (by Operto) was called "Robots: body and soul" and discussed the robotics-based approach to artificial intelligence.

The third line of discussion was sparked by the Telecom Italia Research Centre (TILAB) interview with Roberto Panzarani (who teaches Innovation Processes in Organisations at Rome's Università La Sapienza). The title: "Training means working alongside researchers" already mentions the two key factors on which the question hinges: innovation-focused training and its relationship with scientific and technological researchers. Panzarani points out that: "The obsolescence process, which inexorably affects technologies, is impacting training with a speed that was unheard of in the past".

Further input on this subject was provided in a number of comments on the interview published in the Topics section. These discussed the role of trainers, the "talent" of innovators, the responsibilities of training providers and policies to tap into foreign experiences in this field.

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