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Networks, algorithms, artificial intelligence and Tolkien’s palantírs – these are the main threads of the second edition of the biennale, titled The Seeing Stones and Spaces Beyond the Valley.
The world of fantasy and the world of digital technologies have more in common than we think. The seeing stones created by the elves – Tolkien’s palantírs – have become the inspiration for Peter Thiel to name his company that deals with advanced Big Data analytics: Palantir Technologies. For many years is served intelligence and military purposes, working for the government agencies of the US and Western countries by providing the Gotham Analytics platform. One of the objectives inscribed in the company strategy is protecting the interests of the Western world, and Tolkien’s slogan “Save the Shire” appears on employee T-shirts and in the company offices interior decoration. The Shire, a green realm of the hobbits – both idyllic and conservative, remaining unchanged for centuries – is, of course, the West. And while in the 1960s and 70s The discussion on technologies was conducted within the progressive and utopian sci-fi order, today the imagination of technology creators from the Silicon Valley is permeated by the images and metaphors from the fantasy genre.