In history, technology has always changed the world.
It did so in the 18th century with steam engines which, overcoming the physical limitations of human beings, led to large-scale production and the founding of large industrial cities.
It has been doing it again in recent years, this time overcoming not the physical limits of human beings, but the cognitive ones, thus opening up humanity to scenarios previously unthinkable. And one of the first consequences is that many jobs with low cognitive engagement, especially the repetitive ones, come and will be increasingly automated.
In the face of these changes, there are human profiles and social groups who take fear and start cultural battles against technological progress that inevitably will remain losers for them. An example of the past that makes me smile, to make people understand how strong this cultural humus is in Italy, was the arrival of color TV in Italy 10 years behind the rest of Europe. Delay not due to technological problems, but due to resistance to change and a strenuous defense of black and white TV, especially by the PCI of that time.
And the paradox is that my country is enormously rich in inventors, I think of Guglielmo Marconi for the radio, Antonio Meucci for the phone, Federico Faggin for the touchscreen, Leonardo Chiariglione for mp3 or Bruno Murari for accelerometers, while it always remains far behind in adopting any kind of innovation!
Delays due to a resistance to change resulting from a conformism rooted in the ruling class of the country. Thus, those who has a plus end up paying for the mediocrity of a cultural humus that marginalizes and often derides those who have the attitude to go beyond the ordinary administration for vision and lateral thinking. Sad to remember that none of the inventions made by the Italians mentioned before was developed in our country. In the Sicilian dialect it is said ” those who leave (from Italy) succeed” and certainly is not a compliment for my country.
One of the immediate consequences of the low rate of technology in the work of many Italians is the low productivity with one of the highest CLUP (labor costs per unit of product) in Europe. Certainly low productivity is also the result of other critical issues (position rents, bureaucracy, infrastructures, …), anyway the fact is that this lack of competitive capacity forces Italy to keep wages low.
So a change in cultural humus in favor of digital transformation would be a very important lever for economic development. And on a certain conservatism everyone should make an examination of conscience, because another Italian problem is that we think that everything is collective responsibility self-absolving ourselves, while we should take example from other cultures that immediately train children to personal responsibility.
Throughout history, great changes have always occurred as a result of wars or pandemics. So covid-19 could be an opportunity not to be wasted. On the one hand, the reactionary forces, always fearsome and transversal, that will propel a country perched on the past will grow, on the other The New World will take shape with ecosystems that will use 5G and artificial intelligence to make us live in smart cities some of those scenarios that we are used to seeing in science fiction films.
To give a small contribution to Catania in the direction of this necessary change of mentality, the mindset as the Americans say, within the JO Group I have recently redesigned the mission of our non-profit JO Education making it an Innovation Hub, as cradle of talented people dedicated to digital transformation. In the near future we will try to plan activities in the Innovation Hub that will aim to create trend, because those who do my job also feel a moral duty in indicating a direction of travel to get out of economic and cultural underdevelopment and I have never escaped, although sometimes it may appear that every effort is futile and I feel misunderstood. But that’s part of the game.