Piero Scaruffi (born 26 April 1955) is a cultural historian, cognitive scientist, philosopher, music critic, and media analyst. Scaruffi is an award winning writer who has published poetry, journal articles, and research titles in both Italian and English, with coverage spanning a significant number of interdisciplinary subject areas. He is credited with creating one of the first e-zines and a music database available for download via File Transfer Protocol (FTP).
Scaruffi was born in Trivero, in the Piedmont region of Italy. He completed a Computer Science diploma with honours from the Peano Institute of Turin in 1974. In 1980, Scaruffi graduated from the University of Turin with an honours degree (summa cum laude) in mathematics. His academic research work was focused on the general theory of relativity, with a thesis on quark dynamics. Scaruffi relocated to California in 1983, to work in Silicon Valley's burgeoning computer industry, designing internet applications, and in 1985 developed the world's first e-zine via e-mail. He was appointed manager of the Olivetti Artificial Intelligence Center at Cupertino, and between 1987 and 1992 was a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and at Stanford University. Between 1995 and 1998, Scaruffi was president of OmniwareE in Redwood City and then to 2003, senior systems engineer at IntelliCorp in Mountain View. During the 1990s, Scaruffi published two collected volumes of poetry L'Ultimo (The Last One, 1991) and Dialogo degli Amanti (Dialogue of the Lovers, 1998) which both won major awards in Italy. Scaruffi's interest in neuroscience resulted in the publication Thinking About Thought: A primer on the new science of mind (2003) and The Nature of Consciousness (2006). He also created the science website thymos.com and served as a board member for Leonardo: international journal of the contemporary artist published by MIT Press. Scaruffi has organized interdisciplinary cultural events in San Francisco, culminating with the Leonardo Art Science Evenings (LASERs) on behalf of Leonardo International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (ISAST) and in collaboration with the SETI Institute, San Francisco State University, and the University of San Francisco. In 2011 he published A History of Silicon Valley which covered the founding of Stanford University to the age of social networking.
In 1974, Scaruffi began writing his first Italian-language edition of what would later become his magnum opus, the six-volume set A History of Rock Music. Scaruffi developed one of the first electronic music databases in 1986, which could be accessed via FTP. The database eventually formed the basis for the website scaruffi.com launched in 1995, with coverage including rock, popular, jazz, avant garde, and classical music, reportedly cataloguing over 6,000 musician profiles and more than 20,000 album reviews. The website was later reviewed in a 2006 New York Times arts section feature which unabashedly named it 'The Greatest Web Site of All Time'. His published works on music include A History of Rock Music (First US edition, 2003), A History of Jazz Music 1900-2000 (2007), A History of Popular Music before Rock Music (2007), and A History of Rock and Dance Music (2009).
Criticisms of Wikipedia
Scaruffi has been a vocal critic of Wikipedia, accusing the encyclopaedia's editors of possessing a hagiographic bias towards the Beatles, equivalent to religious fundamentalism. His music writings support the position that the Beatles were overrated, and their musical merits are at best 'dubious' relying entirely on producer George Martin. In February 2010, Scaruffi demanded Wikipedia remove his biography from the encyclopaedia in protest, unsuccessfully. In July 2012, Scaruffi published an essay on his personal website, calling Wikipedia 'a force for evil'.