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'Civiltà delle macchine': Between Humanism and Artificial Intelligence

Laura Pace (October 25, 2019)
At the Consulate General of Italy in New York, the Leonardo Foundation presents the relaunch - 40 years later - of the historic magazine “Civiltà delle macchine” (civilization of machines) under the direction of Peppino Caldarola.

Albert Einstein once said that “computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid. Humans are incredibly slow, inacurate, and intelligent. Together they constitute an incredible force.”

And in fact, after a 40 year hiatus, the magazine “Civiltà delle macchine” (civilisation of machines) made its comeback. The editorial project was presented on October 23rd, at the Consulate General of Italy in New York by the Leonardo Foundation and the new editor-in-chief, Peppino Caldarola.

Founded in 1953 by Leonardo Sinisgalli, and active until 1979, the magazine distinguished itself for the originality of the themes it covered, managing to perfectly combine humanism, technique, and art. And it did so by providing readers with the opportunity to read each subject from the perspective of the other.

In its first iteration, “Civilta delle macchine” collaborated with leading figures of the Italian cultural environment, such as Giuseppe Ungaretti, Carlo Emilio Gadda, Alberto Moravia, and many others.

Today, the magazine is back with the mission to bring together - as it did in the past - humanism, in the form of Leonardo Da Vinci’s legacy, and the new themes that charactize contemporary society, such as robotics, artificial intellingence, and digitalization. “To create a new industrial humanism,” such is the slogan of the CEO of Leonardo S.p.a, Alessandro Profumo. Words that fully express Leonardo Foundation’s primary scope. 

As editor-in-chief Peppino Caldarola explains, “We don’t want people to think that this is a ‘serious’ publication, or one that deals with ‘serious topics.’ Is there a relationship between sport and science? Yes. And Carlo Ancelotti, the manager of Napoli and of women’s Italvolley illustrates it in the second issue.”

Ambassador Armando Varricchio opened the event by pointing out how the Leonardo Foundation and “Civilta delle macchine” constitute a bridge between the past and the future, by putting the human dimension at the center of the technological advancements we are witnessing today.

Other important figures discussed the theme of the digital revolution, such as Marco Leona, the founder of the scientific department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and journalist and TV host John Batchelor.

The event ended with a fascinating display of the magazine’s artful covers from the 1950s.

To learn more and get a look inside the magazine, visit their website.

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