While it is true that digital technologies have merely accelerated processes already unfolding across the industrialized world, they have changed our world and our lives radically over the last four decades. Alongside the growing impact, unease and uncertainty are on the rise, leading the global tech industry into a crisis as we start to question more and more the impact of new technologies (fake news, human downgrading, cyber-crime, trade in personal data, etc.) on the fabric of our lives and society.
Therefore, institutions and initiatives around the globe, including Ars Electronica, are calling for a Digital Humanism that notices these omnipresent transformational processes and reflects on new pathways into a digital society. By initiating the European Platform for Digital Humanism, Ars Electronica and its partners from research, industry and cultural sectors take part in this urgent conversation focused on re-evaluating our relationship to the technologies we’ve created and how we use them – a conversation that is by no means confined to Europe but needs to be tackled on a global level.
User Manual for Digital Humanists is a new series hosted by Veronika Liebl, Director of European Cooperation, and Kristina Maurer, Head of European Projects at Ars Electronica’s Festival/Prix/Exhibitions department. Chapter 4 focuses on human-centered innovation, and the role that artists, creatives and designers can play in making innovation processes more empathic, humane and focused on societal and human needs. The hosts dive into the winning projects of STARTS Prize 2021, a yearly prize awarded to innovative projects at the nexus of science, technology and the arts as part of the European commission’s STARTS initiative. Ann-Sofi Rönnskog and John Palmesino of Territorial Agency, the winners of this year’s Grand Prize for Artistic Exploration, join this chapter to give insights into their project „Oceans in Transformation“.
STARTS is an initiative of the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
The STARTS Prize has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 956603.
The User Manual for Digital Humanists video series is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union in the framework of Digital Cross Over.