This Week in The News

It's been an amazing week. The book is gaining a lot of interest, and things are starting to catch up very quickly. I had an interview with Peter Murray from Singularity Hub, and he wrote a very good article about my upcoming book, which was even featured on the front page of their website.

Next, I was contacted by The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), whose mission is to be a center for voices arguing for a responsible, constructive, ethical approach to the most powerful emerging technologies. They believe that technological progress can be a catalyst for positive human development so long as we ensure that technologies are safe and equitably distributed.

You can read my article here, which will part of a series, outlining the general principles presented in the book.

I've also been contacted by some very influential people and organisations. Things are looking good, the times are extremely exciting.

We are moving fast.

World-Changing Ideas 2012, my letter to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Last week, Bill Gates previewed his fourth annual letter and invites students around the world to submit their own letters addressing what they think is the world's most pressing issue. Students can submit their letters to [email protected] through February 2nd, 2012.

I'd like for us to set the Microsoft talk aside and focus on this. I'm taking his message seriously, so here's my letter to the foundation.

Dear Bill and Melinda Gates foundation,
my name is Federico Pistono, I'm a computer scientist, author, and social activist.

I think the issues that need to be addressed swiftly are: access to clean water, food sovereignty, and education. All of them are enabled by access to the Internet. Here's a very brief overview of my plan:

  1. Millions of OLPC ($80 each, and Raspberry Pi ($25 each, to developing countries, with OSS software, Khan Academy, Wikipedia, and other educational resources preinstalled/preconfigured.
  2. Finance Open Source Ecology (, improve it and fine-tune it according to different locations and resource availability. Scale it and apply worldwide.
  3. Cost-effective water purification and desalinisation through fresnel lenses and other cheap DIY technology (I'm working on it as we speak). Open Source all designs.
  4. Free and unrestricted access to the Internet to developing countries through projects such as Buy This Satellite ( and WiMAX high-power antennas.
  5. Study, develop, and educate people about permaculture and hydroponics/aquaponics systems. Use each according to resource availability to achieve maximum efficiency. The goal is food sovereignty with as little labour as possible.

These five points require an in-depth thorough examination, which I am happy to explore if I have the chance to. There are also many more ideas that I would like to develop, as I study and learn more about the world.

Thank you for the attention and the work you do, I hope you consider the ideas presented in this letter to make the world a better place.
Federico Pistono

The Zeitgeist Movement Symposium with Federico Pistono

See video

After a long and painstaking time, we were finally able to edit, polish and publish the recording of my presentation of The Zeitgeist Movement that I held on October 2010, when I was invited at a symposium called "Foundations of the new civilisation", organised by the World Center of Humanist Studies.

We recorder the event, and it took us several months to capture the material from 3 different cameras, mix the audio, fix the video and add effects and transitions, transcribe and translate the whole conference and Q&A session.

Now are finally done! You can watch the video here in full 1080p-glory with English subtitles.

For those of you who may have seen this video before, I shall tell you that the subtitles have been completely revised, as they were originally poorly translated and much of the meaning was lost. These are very accurate and well done subtitles, which hopefully will give you a real sense of what the conference was like.

I would like to thank all the Italian teams that have been involved with this project, particularly Stefan Danov for the editing and patience, and Daniele Mancinelli, for taking the time to completely revise the subs, as well as giving great insights and teaching me many things.

Peace to you all,


History of the Internet

History of the Internet from PICOL on Vimeo.

Best movie about the history of the internet I've see so far.


Minority Report's computer interface is among us

It's called G-Speak: Gestural Interface Technology. John Underkoffler, one of Oblong’s co-founders, was the science advisor on Minority Report and built much of what we saw in the film from what he was working on at MIT.

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