Translated's Research Center

The Innovation Game

Culture + Technology, Technology

The rapid acceleration of technological innovation defining our era has spurred a proliferation of studies into its intricate relationships with society. Alongside the opportunities, there are growing risks and concerns. This is particularly relevant in the 21st century, where innovation’s success is not only measured by its functionality and profitability but also by its contribution to addressing global challenges such as the climate crisis and social inclusion. Consequently, the impact of artificial intelligence on communication, economics, culture, and politics is being scrutinized more than ever. These inquiries into the nexus between technology and society are coalescing around a critical realization: at the heart of these challenges lies the potential to fundamentally transform the paradigm of innovation design.

Historically, the model of innovation was predicated on the notion that technologists innovate, financial gains are realized, and society adapts, thereby rewarding the innovators while leaving future generations to bear the brunt of negative ecological and social externalities. Today, however, an innovation is not deemed successful unless it yields societal benefits and is intentionally designed to achieve such outcomes.

From a short-term viewpoint, Large Language Models often elicit high expectations as they are seen as the next interface with digital resources. The values embedded by their creators significantly influence the functionalities of these models. Inspired by Alan Turing’s “Imitation Game”, the initial concept was to develop solutions that replicate human cognitive behaviors. But is this the only approach? An alternative way involves designing computing systems that perform tasks beyond human capabilities, thereby fostering societal progress, as advocated by distinguished contributors in the Imminent Annual Report 2024. Questions remain, however. How will this advanced level of design be achieved? To what extent can big data bridge the gap between engineering and social sciences, a critical prerequisite for innovating design? This, in turn, necessitates a concerted push toward standardization.

It must be said that quantifying societal impact will also invariably require qualitative insights. Research into intercultural dynamics continues to uncover realizations that can only be grasped through human sensitivity and unbridled intellectual curiosity, enriching the design process. Designers who are acutely aware of the new historical milieu in which they operate exhibit not apprehension, but a readiness to explore. The work of neuroscientists epitomizes a profound amalgamation of quantitative and qualitative inquiry: posing the right questions, harnessing human empathy, and maintaining an open-minded curiosity are as vital to theoretical frameworks as the availability of data. And as has become increasingly evident, there is nothing more practical than a sound theory.

Symbiotic Connections

Symbiotic Connections

Imminent’s Annual Report 2024

A journey through neuroscience, localization, technology, language, and research. An essential resource for leaders and a powerful tool for going deeper in knowing and understanding the perceived trade-off between artificial intelligence and humans and on their respective role in designing socio-technical systems.

Secure your copy now!

Index of new research report 2024

1. Understanding “human touch” – P. Baglione

2. The symbiosis between AI and humans opens up a world of possibilities for social inclusion – M. Curzio

3. Indigenous language revitalization: a journey of localization – E. Urrere

4. The magic of messaging with strangers – S. Giammarresi

5. Around the world in 80+ languages – J. Tinsley, A. Fusacchia, A. Cattelan

6. The Path to LLM-based Machine Translation – K.Vashee

7. Healthy innovation ecosystems – L. De Biase

8. Large Language Thoughts – M. Suleyman / G. Hinton / J. Huang / E. Mollick / N. S. Baron

8. Design Intelligence – P. Ciuccarelli

9. My twin is an only child – G. Nicoletti

10. AI: a sociotechnical systems transition – C. Accoto

11. How Unicode’s values helped shape the digital world – T. Cowieson

12. Question of the year – A. Rayo, M. De Fino, F. Olivera, M. Ota, E. Xavier

13. How language connects – M. Ardizzi, S. Garello

14. Imminent Research Grants

15. Making machines speak in Yoruba – K. Túbọ̀sún

16. When speed meets precision – A. Santilli

17. Morocco – Language Surveys

18. Ireland – Language Surveys

19. Bangladesh – Language Surveys

Photo credit: Google-Deepmind – Unsplash

Luca De Biase

Luca De Biase

Imminent Editorial Director

Journalist and writer, head of the innovation section at Il Sole 24 Ore. Professor of Knowledge Management at the University of Pisa. Recent books: Innovazione armonica, with Francesco Cicione (Rubettino, 2020), Il lavoro del futuro (Codice, 2018), Come saremo, with Telmo Pievani (Codice, 2016), Homo pluralis (Codice, 2015). Member of the Mission Assembly for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities, at the European Commission. Co-founder of ItaliaStartup Association. Member of the scientific committee of Symbola, Civica and Pearson Academy. Until January 2021 he has chaired the "Working Group on the phenomenon of hate speech online", established by the Minister of Technological Innovation and Digitization, with the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Publishing at the Presidency of the Council. He has designed and managed La Vita Nòva, a pioneering bi-monthly review for tablets, that has won a Moebius Award, 2011, in Lugano, and a Lovie Award, 2011, in London. His work has been honored with the James W. Carey Award for Outstanding Media Ecology Journalism 2016, by the Media Ecology Association.