Silicon Valley Study Tour

Here we are!

This is the Forum for the attendees of Catania Univesity to get the chance to attend to the Silicon Valley Study Tour 2016- august 22-26.

Discuss the attached articles, tell your thinking, share yr ideas and links.

Within June 5th we'll ask for your Cv...and will judge the best to come with us!    

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Hi there! I'm very glad to be the first to write in this section and I want to thank Mr. Marenco for this amazing opportunity and the very interesting article to discuss about.

First of all, let me briefly introduce myself. I'm a Computer Engineering student and I have fallen in love with computers since I was 8, when I started to use my first PC. So, simply having the chance to visit Silicon Valley is a dream for me!

Now let's talk about the article.

Although I'm really fascinated by the wave of innovation in all those sectors, I want to ask the following question:
Don't you think we, as society, are disrupting the "wrong" fields?

What I currently see is that almost every big tech company of our world is focusing all its attention and its efforts on many non-essential things.
In my opinion there is other more important stuff we would need to start disrupting seriously. I mean things like bigotry, cancer, clean water, climate change, homelessness, hunger, poverty, refugee crisis, which could benefit of some kind of tech solution. I think we are spending our brainpower, our money and our time on the wrong category of issues.
Maybe we have to put our best in these problems that really affect our world nowadays. Maybe we have to put back humanity at the center of our thoughts, instead of trying to replace humans in all possible ways.
I obviously understand tech companies have to turn a profit by everything they do, but they could devote part of their time and their money, and their skills to philanthropy, as a "hobby", now that this is necessary and more possible than ever before.
In other words, nowadays they have opportunity to create value not only for their businesses, but also for society. An example of this approach could be what Apple has been doing for about one year from now with the introduction of ResearchKit (, an open source framework that helps to create apps for medical research reasons. This is the kind of stuff I mean!
Another example, from those listed in the article, I find truly intriguing in this sense is self-driving cars industry. In fact if we consider death and injury rates derived from vehicle crashes, we'll see they heavily affect our society. If we have fewer people injured or died in road crashes, we'll reduce demand for medical services. Certainly we'll also need fewer car repair shops and insurance companies, but we won't need to spend so much money in public health care due to car accidents and hospitals will have less sources of stress on emergency services, greater availability of free operating rooms and more time to dedicate to other kinds of surgery.

These are only two little examples of what we can do to make the difference, but summarizing it's all a matter of using tech for good and disrupting the "right" things, toward making the world a better place.

That being said, I'm looking forward to knowing your thoughts!

Kevin! good topic, I totally agree. The problem of refugees, the education of our country culture, languages, the intro to jobs that we do not choose anymore...all topic very important. In a sense ...for the environment side, I see Tesla...the electric cars ( soon by Google, Apple...) as a cool topic that I, walking in every city and smelling car pollution..always hope for!

I think something is moving...genearl awarness too...your generation is the main actor for that

Hello Mr. Marenco, thank you for replying :)

I know maybe I was too critical in my first post, but I was to make us thinking. What I meant to say is that we do not probably need a new social network or the next messaging app for example, quite the contrary it would be better to focus on that "right" stuff in my opinion. And I'm not saying anything hasn't been done in this sense, though I think we didn't reach any big goal so far, at least to the large scale. Maybe we achieved good results in lab, but till innovations in those important fields aren't suitable for all is like we didn't do anything. Summarizing what I mean is it seems to me as if there are many promises but a few of them kept in those sectors, and not due to lack of skill, but due to carelessness and economic speculation.

That being said, you gather correctly. I intentionally omitted to talk about Tesla in the previous post to discuss the article further, but I absolutely appreciate what Elon Musk and his company are doing for the environment.
And regarding this topic, I find very interesting another his project, SolarCity (, which is America's largest solar power provider and of which Elon Musk is the chairman.
He is considered the next Steve Jobs and I admire him for his initiative and his interest in promoting renewable and environmentally friendly energy technologies. I identify with him in this sense, I love nature and in my daily life I try to minimize my environmental impact on Earth, therefore this kind of projects makes me happy!

Focusing us on Tesla, their efficient PowerWall batteries and their powerful, though electric and zero-emissions cars are obviously fantastic products. However I think we'll make the real difference only when all charging stations of these products will obtain energy from renewable sources. In other words, if most of power plants still use so much fossil fuel to generate energy, we are only at the halfway mark, there is still much to do. And besides, this is the situation in the USA, but if we think about Europe, we are shamefully late in these sectors, as in many others after all, regarding for example both mass production, widespread use of electric cars and availability of public charging stations. In this sense, I hope news like this ( will come true and that they will change direction of European car market.

Finally, I totally agree there is more global awareness and that my generation plays a crucial role in accelerating the transition to a sustainable energy economy for example, we absolutely need a change in all those "right" things I have listed above.

Great news...have you red his story ?  

Amazing life!

Oh yes, I have, what a life! I think we should take him and his determination as an example.

Regarding the comparison with Steve Jobs, personally I consider Musk a real genius, inventor of the most of his successful projects, as well as a good businessman, a clever investor, and also a committed philanthropist and a person very conscientious about environmental issues; whereas I consider Jobs "only" a top executive, a clever marketing expert and a great orator, but I love him and his company, they revolutionized tech industry, and besides, I don't think he was a bad person as lots of people say.

That being said, I noticed a strange bond between some people who lived tough childhood and their following success stories. I'm talking about Elon Musk, Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, for example.
Elon's parents divorced when he was only 9 and he chose to live with his father. Moreover, he got bullied at school, thrown down a staircase.
Steve was given up for adoption by his biological mother and he was adopted at birth. Jeff has grown up with his step-father since he was only a toddler.
I think these kinds of life experience, especially the latest two cases, could affect you in many different ways. They often lead to issues in life that impede success but sometimes, with a bit of luck, they can even be beneficial or be overcome by a stable adoptive family. In fact, though it's obvious that adopted people can feel a sense of loss and consequently could feel more compelled to show that they can do it, in this situation I think there are two possible different paths: either feeling a sense of rejection, asking yourself "Am I good enough? Was it because of me?", or saying to yourself "I'm going to show that I'm worthy and good and won't let anything like that happen again" and making your life the best it can be.
In conclusion, I think it's all a matter of reacting against difficulties in a positive way, bringing out the best in ourselves in any situation that can occur, as Musk, Jobs and Bezos have already done in their respective lives.

totally agree Kevin...I do think that sometime difficult childhood can foster a positive growth .... making yr skin tough and yr mind mature in advance!

I totally agree too! I find myself in your words

Regarding the news linked above ( ), it will be even better if electric car manufacturers adopt an universal standard for charging infrastructure, from the plug to the charging stations, before electric vehicles will become really popular, in order to not have a different network for almost every single car maker.

In this sense, Elon Musk has said Tesla is willing to open up its Supercharging technology to other companies, but this won't necessarily involve patent giveaway.
Moreover, though Tesla is ready to share its Supercharger network too, Musk has stated that other interested makers would need to be able to accept the power level of the Superchargers for their new cars and that they would also have to "contribute to the capital costs proportional to their fleet's usage of the network" (which I think is pretty fair) and to adopt the same business model, which is "the company doesn't charge customers on a per-charge basis".
However, these two statements could also represent two problems.
The former is this way Tesla may be in the position to dictate standards and business practices for the entire electric vehicle industry, though the company might partly deserve it for being the first fully electric car manufacturer and that means it has been brave and first to have to deal with a lot of related problems.
The latter is, if Tesla's Superchargers become the standard for charging and Musk continues pushing the idea that electric cars should be free to charge, he will drive people to the idea of a vehicle as something you don't almost pay to fuel. If other car makers join Tesla's network, they will have to join on these company's terms too.
Therefore, they will be two real problems if a company wants to introduce an alternate charging technology or to adopt a different business model at some point in the future.
(Sources: - )

In fact, Tesla's approach probably led to this kind of news: . BMW and Nissan have worked together to roll out a public charging network for electric vehicles, opened to any fast-charging-capable car, thanks to the use of universal connectors in these new stations.

The best solution may be represented by news like this one: , that is, building networks of public fast-charging manufacturer-independent stations, where any car-maker adaptor can be easily added on companies' demand.

Very clear status of Art Kevin thks!

Pls send me yr english cv

Done! :)

Very good Kevin , you are selected for SVST 2016. Attached the preliminary program.

Via e mail all details! Good Job :-)








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