Raffaele Boiano

Raffaele Boiano explores the busy intersection of cultural anthropology, experience design, storytelling and coding. He has 20+ years experience shaping usable and delightful product/services experiences.

Co-founder of Fifth Beat, a design innovation studio and Adjunct Professor of User Experience Design at Politecnico di Milano.

Former VP of the Italian Information Architecture Society and co-founder of Roma’s UX book club.

About the talk

February 27, 10:45 – 11:15

Raffaele Boiano – Curiosity as an epistemic strategy

Curiosity is a busy intersection, there is no single definition. I’d like to say that it’s the ability to happily get lost for no apparent reason. Unlike human intelligence, curiosity doesn’t need skills in processing huge quantities of data to make a decision. Unlike artificial intelligence, curiosity can do without endless repetitions, computational power, and electricity.

Intellectual curiosity is an epistemic strategy in movement: each new piece of information we encounter gives us new ideas and directions to follow and, consequently, a new interest. According to Marcia Bates (1989, 189), “Searchers gather information in bits, moving from a berry to one other”. So knowledge is not static, it evolves while people move in fuzzy directions to understand and recombine shared meaning.

We can see curiosity as a muscle: it’s something that we consciously have to train and nurture in ourselves, at school, or at work. The more you know, the more you want to know. Faith is the negation of an epistemic willingness to know.

During our existence, we collect a collection of cross-disciplinary building blocks — knowledge, memories, bits of information, sparks of inspiration, traumas — that we then combine and recombine and that’s what allows us to be creative.

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