Facing the Digital Age with a Pioneering Spirit

by Luca Zappaterra, Managing Board of ANIE Automazione

2019 is coming to an end, the year in which the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing occurs; that moment was the peak of the period called the space age, which began in 1957 with the launch into Earth orbit of the satellite Sputnik. From the launch of that satellite began a competition between the United States and the Soviet Union for supremacy in astronautical technology, accentuated by the already present political and military competition called the Cold War. The conquest of the moon in itself did not give tangible results (the Apollo program was closed a few years later), but that race brought countless benefits in technological evolution and research, just think of the development of integrated circuits or the search for new metal alloys.
Today we are living the digital era; there are technologies that are born and die in a few years without apparently bringing any benefit: just think of the consumer field of 3D TVs, or Samsung which announced this year that it will no longer produce blu-ray players.
In the industrial field, in order to compete even more strongly on the market, new technologies are being introduced (artificial intelligence, cloud computing, virtual and augmented reality, …) of which we do not yet know the actual extent in terms of benefits, and above all we still do not know if they will be durable or ephemeral technologies, which can lead us to be wary of them if not completely indifferent, or adopt them by force, simply because some customers require them.
Looking at the television reports dedicated to the recurrence of the lunar landing, one in particular struck me very much: it was a video that referred to the phases immediately before the launch of Apollo 11, the mission that would bring the man on the moon. The control room, the rocket on the launch pad, but also the faces of the people attending the event were shown. Those faces expressed a mixture of emotions, such as a sense of adventure, of competition, of hope, and if we want also of fear for something that until then was and remained unknown, the same emotions that probably accompanied the ancient pioneers to the conquest of the new world.
Of course, with due proportion, facing the digital era today is not like taking a trip to the moon or colonizing new lands, but in any case we are called to make choices that will lead us to results still unknown, it is up to us to decide whether to live this era with a pioneering spirit or choose to undergo passively.