A new centrality of man thanks to digital humanism


(by Sandro Zilli - Innovation Manager) In a rapidly changing world, the reality in which people and organizations operate becomes more and more elusive and imposes the need to deal with complexity. The digital is the fuse that triggered all this and made it necessary to make reflections to interpret the phenomenon in progress. It is essential to redefine the central role of man as the fulcrum of this evolutionary process in which culture, knowledge and technological growth are giving life to a new reality.

The promise to make the world a better place thanks to the diffusion of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, social media, risks conveying as a single message the predictability of a world governed only by technology, in which the border between man and machine.

There is no doubt that we are living in an era of technological transition but it is not obvious that machines have the same capabilities as man in terms of managing cognitive, creative and emotional processes. If, on the one hand, we have a saving vision of technology, on the other, apocalyptic scenarios open up, which see everything that has contributed to making up what is called "man" disappear over the centuries.

In this turmoil of emotions and in the changing flow of reality, a new conception and a new way of considering human nature definable as "Digital Humanism" is making its way.

Digital Humanism professes the recovery of the centrality of man with respect to machines and technology, to start a "rebirth" of culture, relationships and morality. It does not convert the human being into a machine, nor does it invest machines in the role of "human beings". Digital Humanism recognizes the specificity of the human being and his abilities, using digital technologies to increase them and not to limit them.

Between utopian and dystopian, Digital Humanism is in a state of equilibrium, considering the use of technology at the service of man and his needs. This applies not only in the field of production and economics but also in the fields of medicine, research and all activities that contribute to social well-being.


To better understand Digital Humanism, it is useful to make a distinction between the term "complex" and the term "complicated" because this helps us to understand effectively how we have dealt with the COMPLEX digital issue to date.

Complicated derives from the Latin "cum plicum", which means "with folds" and the etymology recalls the folds of a sheet, which in order to be read and understood, must be stretched eliminating every single fold. When we want to solve a problem through the use of technology, we do nothing but clarify the "need" through an analytical approach. Only by subdividing the whole into individual parts, which are analyzed and only subsequently recomposed, can the problem be understood both in detail and in the whole and then solved with a substitute application solution.

In the case of the complex term, it derives from the Latin "cum plexum", which means "with knots", or better intertwined. The etymological explanation refers to the knot or the intertwining, like the weave of a fabric, which cannot be unraveled without losing its overall vision. By loosening the knots of the weave, you remain with the individual threads in your hand, losing the overall shape of the fabric. In this case, the solution of the problem cannot be done through the segmentation and analysis of the single factors but must inevitably be carried out by adopting a systemic approach, which takes into account the non-linearity of the system, the interdependence of the elements and the total absence of the cause-effect relationship. For example, integrating a technology in an industrial context is a "complex" problem because it can cause the loss of jobs, but it is necessary to understand in which network of relationships the intervention is inserted and how the whole ecosystem changes with human intervention. Not favoring the insertion of a new technology, it is not an adequate solution to avoid losing jobs, but it is simply a self-injurious way to lose competitiveness as a company.

Hic dictis, digital transformation is therefore not a complicated phenomenon due to its technological nature, but it is a complex issue in that it encourages a rethinking of the social role of technology. Digital Humanism takes an overall look at the new world pervaded by technology, distinguishing between what are the promises of a desired future and what is actually the exponential and imperfect development of technologies, bringing man back to the center of our world, characterized by its intellectual abilities that make it different from any technology that wants to imitate human behavior.


The task of Digital Humanism, to date, must also be to act as an alternative to the spread of the ideology of Silicon Valley which, although having had as its starting point and inspiration the improvement of the condition of the human being, has been transformed in a short while in a distorted vision of the future where the negative characters of Transhumanism have risen to guidelines in the creation of a superman completely dependent on technique and devoid of any moral ethics.

Digital Humanism, in the wake of the cultural current from which it inherited its name, places man at the center of the universe as "faber fortunae suae", that is the architect of his own destiny and at the same time welcomes digital technology, adequately understanding its limits and potential. This new paradigm is favored by a society in continuous transformation, fluid and receptive to the digital consumer; a company that allows continuous global exchanges, which facilitates the development of new companies and startups which in turn use technologies not only to develop business but also to scale organizations.

Digital Humanism therefore provides for a careful analysis of the man-machine relationship, in what is, in all respects, a person-technology relationship. The human being has learned to live with digital technologies to the point of considering them an extension of the perceived self. Digital is an integral part of our work, our free time, our relationships, our way of life and in function of this thing also all our business models and management methods have undergone a transformation.

In a study conducted by McKinsey, "Jobs Lost, Jobs Gains" is theorized that in the next 10 years, due to the exponential growth of digital technologies, about half of current jobs will be automated, predicting that many of them will become obsolete and replaced with new professions. The digital revolution will not destroy the world of work, it will inevitably transform its ways. The machines will replace men in the performance of demanding, repetitive, frustrating, easy-to-perform tasks, while human beings will have the task of managing the most complex tasks, those that are difficult to automate, going from the reference model of "Labor" to that of " Opera Minds ". In light of all this transformation, which puts both human and technological capital at stake, Digital Humanism takes on the challenge of configuring digitization in such a way that it can contribute to the humanization of the world by making it a better place.

A new centrality of man thanks to digital humanism