Following the success of the first two editions, which focused on “Merit, Diversity and Social Justice” (2022) and “Rethinking Globalization” (2023) respectively, the Festival will return to some of the most beautiful venues in the center of the Piedmontese capital, hosting the world’s leading economists who work on this frontier, as well as researchers who study it across many other disciplines.
The International Festival of Economics is conceived, designed, and organized by Editori Laterza, under the scientific direction of Tito Boeri. The event is promoted by TOLC (Turin Local Committee), which brings together the Piedmont Region, the City of Turin, the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation, the CRT Foundation, the University of Turin, the Polytechnic of Turin, the Turin Chamber of Commerce, Unioncamere Piedmont, Unione Industriali Turin, and Legacoop, coordinated by the Collegio Carlo Alberto Foundation.
“Who Owns Knowledge” is the theme of the third edition of the International Festival of Economics, from May 30 to June 2, 2024, in Turin. A topic of extraordinary relevance that encompasses every single sector of public life: from businesses to trade, from health to urban policies, from transportation to communication, and, of course, the world of research and education.
Digital technology has completely transformed the way we book a flight, choose a restaurant, watch a movie, or listen to music. It has revolutionized the way we get informed, communicate, shop, find jobs, and meet new people. All these choices generate information, or rather, knowledge. But who controls and exploits these immense sources of data? And for what purpose?
The economies of scale achievable with information aggregation have increased the concentration of economic power. Just think of the platforms we all now know: Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb, Amazon, etc. Similarly, social media – Instagram, TikTok, X, and others – have enabled billions of people to communicate at almost no cost.
The concentration, the existence of a few dominant networks, the fact of being able to do everything on a single platform: these are all elements that facilitate our lives. More choice, more convenience, more information, often at lower prices. Yet, concentration also reduces competition and innovation and can leave many behind. And there’s the risk that inequalities in access and the ability to use technology will exacerbate already existing social tensions.
Platforms earn by selling advertising spaces to companies but also part of the vast amount of information collected on the behaviors of those who use them. To what extent is the use of socially produced knowledge permissible? To what extent is it possible to exercise property rights over the latter? What restrictions need to be imposed to protect privacy?
Other fundamental questions concern the ethical aspects and the origin of the information generated by machines (among the most famous cases is ChatGPT) and therefore authenticity in the digital age.
The underlying problem is to govern, rather than suffer, technological progress and regulate access to this immense source of data. But how to do it? And do governments have the necessary strength?
These and many other topics will be the focus of the meetings scheduled for the International Festival of Economics, which will take place in the most suggestive places of Turin, with the most authoritative scholars on these issues. Economists, both international and Italian, but as always also historians, sociologists, jurists, computer scientists, scientists, and media scholars. They will discuss with the protagonists of the economic world, prominent representatives of the business world, trade, and professions, along with representatives of institutions and associations.
The Festival, as always, will be structured through keynote lectures but will then be articulated in many different formats: from keywords to dialogues, from interventions by major ‘witnesses of the time‘ to forums between scholars and protagonists of economic life. In the lead-up to the Festival, universities and the world of schools will be involved, and meetings will be organized in the area, in Turin and in various cities of Piedmont.