Gianpiero Lotito’s speech at the United Nations (October 2nd, 2018)

Gianpiero Lotito makes his speech at the UN General Assembly.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa ONU

The October 2nd event was opened by Maria Fernanda Espinosa, United Nations General Assembly President.

Gianpiero Lotito ONU

The ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) Chamber is one of the most famous rooms of the United Nations used as central platform for reflection and debate on sustainable development.

Full speech

“Distinguished Guests Ladies and Gentlemen, today as we celebrate the International Day of Non-Violence I am proud to say that one of the great innovations of the early 20th century was the concept of Non-Violence as a tool for Conflict Resolution. And this innovator was a man called Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

I’m a startupper. Yes, I’m an Italian startupper. With my white hair, because innovation has no age. It is not just a subject for the younger generation. It’s a state of mind that follows you for all your life. As for all our life the spirit of peace can be with us, as the desire to live among others, to live WITH others.

Is it possible that innovation, technology and peace can go in the same direction letting people in peace with others? Yes it is possible. We must build a technology that places human beings at the centre of the world, and that does not see us only as numbers, customers, consumers, profiles, objects… I truly believe that none of you want to live in an algorithmic society where the machines will decide for you what is good for your life, what is right to choose. Our commitment must be to create machines, technologies that are at the service of human beings and not a world of humans driven by machines.

As Founder of FacilityLive in Pavia, Italy, as Founder of European Tech Alliance in Brussels, as Founder of the Startup Europe Mediterranean network in collaboration with the European Commission, I can say that we work every day to reach this goal. This is a technological, political and cultural objective.

My generation has destroyed some dreams of the younger generations. I believe that it’s our mission to give them back the dreams that our parents, our grandparents offered us. Our parents, our grandparents lived during times of war, so they lived with the desire to give their children and grandchildren the opportunity to live in a better world. In a world of peace. Gandhi was pioneering many concepts that are currently promoted by environmentalists. We can consider him as a post-modern philosopher from the age of modernism.

Of course, technology helps us to be protected against threats. We fight against terrorism, cyberterrorism, digital warfare and physical war to protect people, thanks to technology, which, paradoxically, also creates them. After all, the weapons were created by humans to defend us from beasts, and then they became instruments of death, betraying their origin. And even the control of the atom was born with a peaceful intent, but it caused the greatest single destruction event that human memory remembers. That’s why the combination of technology and peace is so important. That’s why working on a more human, more inclusive and less worrying technology becomes a mission.

We don’t know if the future memory of humanity will be preserved by digital libraries as it was for those printed on paper. We need to be careful: if we transfer the world’s memory only in the digital format we don’t know today the long term effects of this paradigm shift. We cannot risk to discover in two hundred years that we were wrong and that we left a hole in the memory of humanity. Human beings cannot have the presumption to think they can create eternity only through technology. And the same is for health, science and tenths of other disciplines. Only by returning to a more ethical, more human and more useful dimension of technology, we will respect our mission as technologists, men of peace and humans.

Recently I read a sentence on a movie billboard: “We must live looking forward, but everything makes sense only if we look back”. Today, anyone affiliated with digital technology, somehow, has questions of conscience to face. Sooner or later, the world would have to get there but Gandhi launched the quest. He was the starting point of the lookout for alterna- tives. For those reasons, I hope and I wish that we are not destined to live in a world of machines. Thank you.”