Being able to keep up with the evolution of digital technologies seems to have become a race against time. Many ideas that seemed like science fiction only fifteen years ago are now a reality: machines perform complex tasks faster and faster, drone fleets are used for home deliveries, and self-driving cars are about to enter the market. Artificial intelligence research works on the development of software capable of escaping human control, and the realization of a completely autonomous "superintelligence" is not far away, so much so that many have spoken out about any risks related to use of devices with some form of awareness, one of the most sophisticated and exclusive qualities of the human mind.
Always interested in the impact of digital technology on society and on the lives of all of us, Philip Larrey, a professor of philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University, had the opportunity to converse with some of the protagonists of the "fourth industrial revolution" to investigate the rich and controversial debate on the digital age. Big data, privacy, security, ethics, and work are just some of the issues addressed by the fifteen respondents, including Eric Schmidt, CEO of Alphabet, Carlo D'Asaro Biondo, president of Google's relations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Maurice Lévy, director of Publicis Groupe.
The philosophers, engineers, journalists, advertisers, and pilots featured in this book offer complex and articulated, provocative, at times irreconcilable, optimistic or discouraged considerations about digital technology and its uses. However, the common thread that unites individual interventions seems to suggest that the direction we choose to proceed depends exclusively on our will. More than offering us answers, therefore, where the future begins gives us the tools to ask the right questions to a world in constant change and be able to understand the age in which we live.