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Gabriele Ferri

Head of Programme; Lecturer in Design Ethics


I am a design researcher specializing in ethics, civics, and the future. This means that I try to understand the consequences of designing and producing something. Does it empower people, or does it discriminate them? Does it perpetuate some biases, or does it challenge them?

I like games, especially those connecting people to places through pervasive technologies, such as sensors and beacons. I am particularly interested in designing games that are played “far away from screens” and in the city, with smart objects. Also, I think that this type of games can be used to reach people – such as migrants and other underserved folks – and engage them in imagining a different future for their neighborhood.

I think that computers can tell very good stories, if you design the right format. Years ago, when I was still a student, I was about to become a semiotician, which is a kind of anthropologist who studies narratives. Then, I got bored and I wondered if The Secret of Monkey Island, my favorite video game at the time, told a story. I thought it did, and I persuaded my professors to let me take a Ph.D. on it.

And I try not to take myself too seriously.

Computers are not ‘thinking machines’ that assist dull people, but ‘dull machines’ that work only for smart people. (Umberto Eco)
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