This month's column "Cristina Morozzi's Reading List: Must-Read Interior Design Books" features physicist Massimo Temporelli's book "Noi siamo tecnologia: Dieci invenzioni che ci hanno cambiato per sempre", which is about technology and the relationship between humans and machines.
Physicist Massimo Temporelli’s book entitled We Are Technology: 10 inventions that changed us forever (original: Noi siamo tecnologia, Dieci invenzioni che ci hanno cambiato per sempre) is a fascinating read.
The author introduces the book by talking about technology and the relationship between humans and machines, with all the related anthropological and sociological repercussions that this relationship entails. Temporelli addresses various types of inventions, beginning by examining the 3D printer, and then talks about flint. He then examines brakes because he says that “power is nothing without control, and speed cannot exist without brakes”. The coffee machine is also discussed, as it was inspired by the first industrial revolution given its dependence on dynamic thermal processes. The coffee machine is also a pretext to address the topic of coffee, including the history of literary cafes and the origin of the name “Moka” (the name of the classic Italian coffee maker), chosen by Renato Bialetti.
Chapter VI is dedicated to the Google search bar, “which is essential because it has become indispensable to our lives, but is also incredibly dry and minimal”. Next comes the remote control, which is always hidden between the sofa cushions. Then there is the smartphone, which Temporelli traces a brief history of, dwelling on the iPhone as being revolutionary compared to the other smartphones produced up to then.
The author also discusses the ballpoint pen, invented by László József Bíró, the protagonist of Chapter IX, as a way to introduce the topic of writing, the history of which Temporelli briefly discusses. The ballpoint pen became popular thanks to Marcel Bic, who in 1950 sold the famous Bic Cristal pen for 60 liras. In just over half a century, Bic has produced and sold over 100 billion ballpoint pens.
Chapter X is all about the washing machine, which deserves one of the top places in the list of inventions that have changed society the most.
The book concludes with Wikipedia. Temporelli writes, “few would associate Wikipedia with other inventions. It is not software, nor is it hardware, and yet it is one of those things that is capable of revolutionizing our view of culture”.