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Innovation to Decision Making with Alessandro Rossi

Alessandro Rossi, dGen Fellow, explains innovation intelligence, talks finance, and gives the reason for his continued interest in distributed technologies



February 16, 2021

Alessandro Rossi reached out to us following the release of our report, “CBDCs: Geopolitical Ramifications of a Major Digital Currency”. We were thrilled, given his extensive experience working in finance. He works for CESINTES (Economic Intelligence and Security Research Center, of University of Rome Tor Vergata and is one of the early adopters, with his interest in the crypto economy dating back 10 years. 

We would like to welcome him onboard, and look forward to the insights he can provide on the future of payments. 

Hello Alessandro, for those who don’t know you yet, could you introduce yourself?

Hi, my background is financial so finance is the area that I have constantly followed: in the last 10 years, with the evolution of complex innovative phenomena of crypto economy and AI, I specialised in their influence in the fields of digital rights, legaltech, and of the support for fragile people.

With the related scouting activity I look for the ways to preserve and increase business competitiveness and the quality of life by the new digital tech paradigms; with training I try to bring innovation in intelligence and decision-making activities, from the smallest, the single individual, to the big ones.

You have been in the innovation intelligence sector for almost 25 years. That’s impressive. Could you explain what innovation intelligence is and share your experience of how you have seen the sector change rapidly?

Innovation intelligence is the production, for specific sectors or activities, of analysis and adaptive paths with regard to the changes that existing technology will bring in the medium term, a period of less than 8-10 years. As science fiction writer William Gibson said: 

‘The future is already here, it's just not very evenly distributed’;

I think that identifying the components of innovation, helping to distribute them, helping to understand how-they-work and bring out the criticality, improves the quality of life of both the people who are contributing to building the novelty and those who will have to use it.

Looking back, it is easy to answer that Digital Transformation is what has upset, more than changed, the  intelligence analysis area in general, and the speed with which this has happened is the most incisive factor. What worries me is that the cognitive processes about ethics and laws have not progressed in proportion, with equal speed: also the need of new paradigms because the gap caused by the information asymmetry has lost the characteristic of linearity in favor of exponentially.

As a technological analyst and professor in economic intelligence analysis and economic warfare scenarios, what significant changes have you seen whose impact has lasted to date, and what can we expect to see in the coming years?

From the second half of the 1900s wars, progressively and except for very limited territories and episodes, have ceased to be geopolitical and geo-economic tools fought by firearms: the main weapons have become the economic and social tools used in an asymmetrical and hybrid manner. The armies themselves, and the intelligence systems, have in their inside structures devoted to economic and techno-social warfare and to develop the innovation tech, think about DARPA and IARPA in the USA. The firearms have, fortunately, become the resource of last resort, almost always used in a targeted and limited way as a threat and never really. Technology was the protagonist of this epochal change: I think a return to the past is very unlikely because the loss of human lives, due to war, has become an inconceivable social cost for the public opinion of any developed countries.

What made you interested in blockchain and start researching the crypto economy?

In the first months of 2010 I read, on a cypherpunk blog about how Lazlo Hanyecz gave rise to what would become the Bitcoin Pizza Day and the Pizza Index; intrigued, I began to delve into the topic. 

What fascinated me, and continues to fascinate me, is the possibility of sharing the trust in respecting the execution of an algorithm rather than in any centralised human authority.

I know you’ve focussed on CBDCs quite a bit. What sort of change do you expect to see as they start to launch? How do you feel the Eurozone is prepared to receive this?

CBDCs are fundamental for the reasons you have well covered in your recent reports, the first of which is the bridge created by them between the normal people, who have to use money every day, the monetary policies of governments and innovations allowed by the crypto economy, especially through smart-contracts.

The Eurozone is lagging behind overall prospects if compared to European and non-European operational precursors, for example the Asian area, Sweden, and Switzerland.

I think some countries, such as France and the Baltics, will move independently in advance.

You’re our Fellow in Italy. How would you characterise the Italian emerging tech ecosystem?

It is a ‘light and dark’ system: on the one hand, to fill the digital divide that afflicts, for political and historical reasons, the country, great mediatic emphasis is placed on structural Digital Transformation, especially in times of Recovery Fund; from another perspective, of the real economy, the data show that little is invested in innovation and the country continues to hold the lowest positions in terms of functional and digital literacy; finally, there are incredible excellences in terms of innovative propulsion at consolidated companies, start-ups and brains levels. It is necessary to be meticulous in the activity of search, evaluation and enhancement.

What drew you to dGen’s Fellowship Programme, and what makes us stand out from the existing crowd?

I agree with your vision, for which decentralisation will involve a change of social paradigm, transversal and multisectoral, in the medium to long term, and for which the progressive changes must be gradually illustrated above all to the new generations. This differentiates you from the majority of domain think tanks, which are mostly focused on certain specific areas. So I am happy to share with you the aims and methods of disseminating knowledge.

Thank you so much, Alessandro. You certainly have a lot of valuable knowledge and a valuable focus on bringing the benefits of technological advances to the whole population. We look forward to working with you!

Akash has a background in digital marketing and works on UX and UI design. His passion is technological development, and he is currently exploring where emerging technologies will take society.