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Pietro Gravino PhD

Researcher

creativity

We often relate to innovation as if it could be an answer to our questions and needs. But what if innovations are actually the questions? Each advance raises an increasing number of open questions. On one side they unlock a wider range of opportunities, possibly leading to new discoveries (both at a collective and individual level). On the other side, each creative exploit can have a potentially huge impact on humans, at the cultural, societal, and psychological level. The focus of my research is twofold: the study of the exploration of the space of the unknown (in particular the so-called Adjacent Possible) and the assessment of the impact of this exploration on humans. I try to understand exploration behaviours in cultural systems, how creativity can emerge in such processes and the impact of innovations. The aim is to learn how we can use technology to "augment" our exploration and to improve our creativity.

A quantitative and operational definition of what is new is...
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The rise of Information Age is transforming our world and,...
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Anticipation processes concerns all cases in which the next occurrence...
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A key research target is the direct individuation of the...
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Creativity is more and more recognized as the main driver...
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Language dynamics is a rapidly growing field that focuses on...
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2022

The supply and demand of news during COVID-19 and assessment of questionable sources production

Authors
Pietro Gravino Giulio Prevedello Martina Galletti & Vittorio Loreto |

2022.

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Abstract

Misinformation threatens our societies, but little is known about how the production of news by unreliable sources relates to supply and demand dynamics. We exploit the burst of news production triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak through an Italian database partially annotated for questionable sources. We compare news supply with news demand, as captured by Google Trends data. We identify the Granger causal relationships between supply and demand for the most searched keywords, quantifying the inertial behaviour of the news supply. Focusing on COVID-19 news, we find that questionable sources are more sensitive than general news production to people’s interests, especially when news supply and demand mismatched. We introduce an index assessing the level of questionable news production solely based on the available volumes of news and searches. We contend that these results can be a powerful asset in informing campaigns against disinformation and providing news outlets and institutions with potentially relevant strategies.

2021

Finding successful strategies in a complex urban sustainability game

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Bernardo Monechi , Enrico Ubaldi , Pietro Gravino , Chabay Ilan , Vittorio Loreto |

Scientific Reports, 11, 1, Nature Publishing Group, 2021. pp.1--11.

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Abstract

The adverse effects of unsustainable behaviors on human society are leading to an increasingly urgent and critical need to change policies and practices worldwide. This requires that citizens become informed and engaged in participatory governance and measures leading to sustainable futures. Citizens’ understanding of the inherent complexity of sustainable systems is a necessary (though generally not sufficient) ingredient for them to understand controversial public policies and maintain the core principles of democratic societies. In this work, we present a novel, open-ended experiment where individuals had the opportunity to solve model urban sustainability problems in a purposeful game. Participants were challenged to interact with familiar LEGO blocks representing elements in a complex generative urban economic indicators model. Players seeks to find a specific urban configuration satisfying particular sustainability requirements. We show that, despite the intrinsic complexity and non-linearity of the problems, participants’ ability to make counter-intuitive actions helps them find suitable solutions. Moreover, we show that through successive iterations of the experiment, participants can overcome the difficulties linked to non-linearity and increase the probability of finding the correct solution to the problem. We contend that this kind of what-if platforms could have a crucial role in future approaches to sustainable developments goals.

2021

Impact analysis of COVID-19 responses on energy grid dynamics in Europe

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Annette Werth , Pietro Gravino , Giulio Prevedello |

Applied Energy, 281, 2021. pp.116045.

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Abstract

COVID-19, Electricity consumption, Electricity generation, Governmental restrictions, Renewable share, Electricity grid”,

abstract = “When COVID-19 pandemic spread in Europe, governments imposed unprecedented confinement measures with mostly unknown repercussions on contemporary societies. In some cases, a considerable drop in energy consumption was observed, anticipating a scenario of sizable low-cost energy generation, from renewable sources, expected only for years later. In this paper, the impact of governmental restrictions on electrical load, generation and transmission was investigated in 16 European countries. Using the indices provided by the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker, precise restriction types were found to correlate with the load drop. Then the European grid was analysed to assess how the load drop was balanced by the change in generation and transmission patterns. The same restriction period from 2020 was compared to previous years, accounting for yearly variability with ad hoc statistical technique. As a result, generation was found to be heavily impacted in most countries with significant load drop. Overall, generation from nuclear, and fossil coal and gas sources was reduced, in favour of renewables and, in some countries, fossil gas. Moreover, intermittent renewables generation increased in most countries without indicating an exceptional amount of curtailments. Finally, the European grid helped balance those changes with an increase in both energy exports and imports, with some net exporting countries becoming net importers, notably Germany, and vice versa. Together, these findings show the far reaching implications of the COVID-19 crisis, and contribute to the understanding and planning of higher renewables share scenarios, which will become more prevalent in the battle against climate change.

2018

Complex delay dynamics on railway networks from universal laws to realistic modelling

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Bernardo Monechi , Pietro Gravino , Di Clemente Riccardo , Servedio Vito DP |

EPJ Data Science, 7, 1, Springer, 2018. pp.35.

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Abstract

Railways are a key infrastructure for any modern country. The reliability and resilience of this peculiar transportation system may be challenged by different shocks such as disruptions, strikes and adverse weather conditions. These events compromise the correct functioning of the system and trigger the spreading of delays into the railway network on a daily basis. Despite their importance, a general theoretical understanding of the underlying causes of these disruptions is still lacking. In this work, we analyse the Italian and German railway networks by leveraging on the train schedules and actual delay data retrieved during the year 2015. We use these data to infer simple statistical laws ruling the emergence of localized delays in different areas of the network and we model the spreading of these delays throughout the network by exploiting a framework inspired by epidemic spreading models. Our model offers a fast and easy tool for the preliminary assessment of the effectiveness of traffic handling policies, and of the railway network criticalities.
2017

Significance and popularity in music production

Topics:
creativity music
Authors
Bernardo Monechi , Pietro Gravino , Servedio Vito D. P. , Tria Francesca , Vittorio Loreto |

Royal Society Open Science, 4, 7, The Royal Society, 2017.

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Abstract

Creative industries constantly strive for fame and popularity. Though highly desirable, popularity is not the only achievement artistic creations might ever acquire. Leaving a longstanding mark in the global production and influencing future works is an even more important achievement, usually acknowledged by experts and scholars. ‘Significant’ or ‘influential’ works are not always well known to the public or have sometimes been long forgotten by the vast majority. In this paper, we focus on the duality between what is successful and what is significant in the musical context. To this end, we consider a user-generated set of tags collected through an online music platform, whose evolving co-occurrence network mirrors the growing conceptual space underlying music production. We define a set of general metrics aiming at characterizing music albums throughout history, and their relationships with the overall musical production. We show how these metrics allow to classify albums according to their current popularity or their belonging to expert-made lists of important albums. In this way, we provide the scientific community and the public at large with quantitative tools to tell apart popular albums from culturally or aesthetically relevant artworks. The generality of the methodology presented here lends itself to be used in all those fields where innovation and creativity are in play.
2016

On the Emergence of Syntactic Structures: Quantifying and Modeling Duality of Patterning

Topics:
language
Authors
Vittorio Loreto , Pietro Gravino , Vito DP Servedio , Francesca Tria |

Topics in cognitive science, 8, 2, Wiley Online Library, 2016. pp.469--480.

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Abstract

The complex organization of syntax in hierarchical structures is one of the core design features of human language. Duality of patterning refers for instance to the organization of the meaningful elements in a language at two distinct levels: a combinatorial level where meaningless forms are combined into meaningful forms and a compositional level where meaningful forms are composed into larger lexical units. The question remains wide open regarding how such a structure could have emerged. Furthermore a clear mathematical framework to quantify this phenomenon is still lacking. The aim of this paper is that of addressing these two aspects in a self-consistent way. First, we introduce suitable measures to quantify the level of combinatoriality and compositionality in a language, and present a framework to estimate these observables in human natural languages. Second, we show that the theoretical predictions of a multi-agents modeling scheme, namely the Blending Game, are in surprisingly good agreement with empirical data. In the Blending Game a population of individuals plays language games aiming at success in communication. It is remarkable that the two sides of duality of patterning emerge simultaneously as a consequence of a pure cultural dynamics in a simulated environment that contains meaningful relations, provided a simple constraint on message transmission fidelity is also considered.
2016

Crossing the horizon: exploring the adjacent possible in a cultural system

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Pietro Gravino , Bernardo Monechi , Vito DP Servedio , Francesca Tria , Vittorio Loreto |

submitted to "ICCC 2016 - The Seventh International Conference on Computational Creativity", Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Computational Creativity, June 2016, 2016.

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Abstract

It is common opinion that many innovations are triggered by serendipity whose notion is associated with fortuitous events leading to unintended consequences. One might argue that this interpretation is due to the poor understanding of the dynamics of innovations. Very little is known, in fact, about how innovations proceed and samples the space of potential novelties. This space is usually referred to as the adjacent possible, a concept originally introduced in the study of biological systems to indicate the set of possibilities that are one step away from what actually exists. In this paper we focus on the problem of defining the adjacent possible space, and analyzing its dynamics, for a particular system, namely the cultural system of the network of movies. We synthesized to this end the graph emerging from the Internet Movies Database (IMDb) and looked at the static and dynamical properties of this network. We deal, in particular, with the subtle mechanism of the adjacent possible by measuring the expansion and the coverage of this elusive space during the global evolution of the system. Finally, we introduce the concept of adjacent possibilities at the level of single node and try to elucidate its nature by looking at the correlations with topological and user annotation metrics.
2016

Unveiling political opinion structures with a web-experiment

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Pietro Gravino , Saverio Caminiti , Alina Sirbu , Francesca Tria , Vito D. P. Servedio , Vittorio Loreto |

COMPLEXIS 2016, 1st International Conference on Complex Information Systems, Rome, 22-24 April 2016, 2016.

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Abstract

The dynamics of political votes has been widely studied, both for its practical interest and as a paradigm of the dynamics of mass opinions and collective phenomena, where theoretical predictions can be easily tested. However, the vote outcome is often influenced by many factors beyond the bare opinion on the candidate, and in most cases it is bound to a single preference. The voter perception of the political space is still to be elucidated. We here propose a web experiment (laPENSOcos'i) where we explicitly investigate participant's opinions on political entities (parties, coalitions, individual candidates) of the Italian political scene. As a main result, we show that the political perception follows a Weber-Fechner-like law, i.e., when ranking political entities according to the user expressed preferences, the perceived distance of the user from a given entity scales as the logarithm of this rank.