By @SimonCocking

Interview with Federico Guerrini  @fede_guerrini Journalist. Writing about Technology & Startups for la Stampa @ la_stampa, Forbes @Forbes, Zdnet @ZDNet and others. Federico moderated a number of panels at the Belfast Web Summit and brought a different and well informed view of global tech trends. We thought it would be interesting to get his perspective on Fintech, and some exciting future trends.

Belfast WebSummit, what trends were you interested in?

I was in Belfast for EnterConf, the talks I liked best were Nell Watson’s speech on DAO @ FounderNell,  and DataSift Nick Halstead’s @ I talk on how they organize and make accessible raw data coming from social networks and a number of other sources.

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Nell Watson’s keynote speech at Enterconf

Did you learn anything new / that surprised you? Any useful new connections made?

Sure, I met many people, being a “small” event, in terms of attendees, compared to other conferences,
made it easier to make new acquaintances.

You write for Forbes looking at the positive uses of technology to help humanity. What recent ideas / possibilities are you most excited about?

There are a lot of interesting things going on in AgTech, personalized medicine, robotics, etc. It’s difficult to make a list. I think that, if we think in terms of what’s more urgent and maybe more useful, I would look probably at the improvements in the efficiency of renewable energies and in devices/materials that help fight pollution.

Humanity is busy using up resources faster than they are dealing with the consequences in some fields – overall are you optimistic about our ability to find tech solutions to the big issues we’re facing, food / water security, global warming etc?

Frankly, I don’t know. I think sometimes we tend to think in terms of positivism, or “solutionism”, as some say, as if everything could be solved only with technology. But innovation does not take place in a void. If you have to think in terms of the future of humanity, other factors count probably more, like political and financial interests, power struggles, wars, etc.

In this respect, the situation is probably getting worse, not improving. Tech can help, but it’s not a silver bullet.

You write for La Stampa and others too, are Italians more or less interested in some of these issues mentioned?

It’s difficult for me, to speak of “the Italians”. We are a complicated country, full of contradictions. Probably many people don’t really care, but there’s also an increasing part of the population that is passionate
about some of or all of these topics. My perspective is probably biased, because due to my job, I’m more in touch with the tech-savvy part.

Will we see you back for the Web Summit, what tech trends are you excited about in the near future?

Yes, I think so, although I still have to close my agenda. About tech trends, I mentioned some above, probably one that is going to be fun, is the availability of private space flights. I’m not sure that it will happen in my lifetime, but I think one day having holidays in orbit will be like taking a train from Paris to London now.

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