The Circolo del Design di Torino talks about the humanization of technology through an exhibition dedicated to the Interaction Design Institute of Ivrea that kicks off a cycle of appointments and insights

What paths do our online data take? What space are the virtual places we inhabit taking on in our lives? How much do we mediate our emotions through devices? How much can technologies represent the project tool for the planet? And again, what can design do?

These are the questions underlying Humanizing technology, the cultural program of the Circolo del Design of Turin which, from May to September, will see national and international guests confront each other in a rich schedule of talks, lectio magistralis, workshops, films and artistic performances.

Humanization of technology

The first appointment is the Easy as a kiss. Humanizing technology through design exhibition dedicated to the Interaction Design Institute of Ivrea, which retraces the fundamental stages of the high specialization school, born in Ivrea in collaboration with Olivetti, which until 2005 contributed to the development and dissemination of interaction design. The exhibition opens the wide program of the Circolo del Design which consists of more than 45 appointments and involves more than 70 designers, researchers, engineers, philosophers, artists, directors who discuss, both in presence and online, on the theme of humanization of technology, using different knowledge, experiences and skills to help frame the phenomenon in its complexity.

Digital acceleration

In the last year, technology has made its way even more disruptive in our daily lives, influencing both the professional and private spheres, raising ethical questions with greater force and impacting with great importance on the economic, social and cultural context. The humanization of technology is today the great challenge that technological progress is facing from an ethical, economic, social and environmental point of view, a challenge made particularly evident by the pandemic situation, with its imposed digital acceleration, its physical limitations and consequently our renewed habits of consumption, relationships and use of services.

A planet-centered approach to Interaction design

With Humanizing Technology, the Circolo del Design has decided to focus attention on a theme that will have more and more relevance in the coming years and that needs a re-foundation of the thought and practices developed around the use of technologies and the way in which man interacts with them. Just as industrial designers shape everyday life through the objects they design for homes and offices, so interaction designers shape our lives with interactive technologies for work, play, socializing, public services. Design, and in particular interaction design, is a fundamental tool for the creation of digital experiences and services designed by placing man at the center of the process, which in a broader perspective, now unavoidable, also means passing, as Jan Jan-Christoph Zoels argues “from a people-centered design approach to a planet-centered approach”.

Ivrea at the center of the world of innovation

And it is the designer Jan-Christoph Zoels who curates Easy as a kiss. Humanizing technology through design. Vision, story and impact of Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, the first historical exhibition hosted and produced by the Circolo del Design which, through the collection of historical documents and the production of unpublished testimonies, reconstructs the life of one of the very first schools in the world in train professional figures dedicated to designing the interaction between humans and technologies, thus creating the first physical and digital archive dedicated to the institute.

A story that at the beginning of the millennium placed the Ivrea city at the center of the world map of innovation, combining experimental models of teaching and avant-garde design with the Olivetti culture, attracting talents from all over the world and founding a new training model whose ingredients were: a combination of humanistic and scientific skills, free and open experimentation, mutual exchange of knowledge and skills and collaboration with Italian and foreign companies. Here, projects that are still used and have become universal, such as Arduino and Processing, were born, and the discipline that made possible the services we use every day, such as car sharing, payments via apps and online service bookings, was born.

What is the future of interaction design?

From Thursday 17 to Saturday 19 June, the Humanizing technology through design conference is scheduled at OGR Turin. Through the voices of designers, companies in the sector, researchers and institutions, it is divided into six sessions  ethics and technology, public services, artificial intelligence, health, mobility, education  with the aim of providing new visions and tools for innovation.

The reflection opens online with What’s the future of Ixd ?, an unpublished video that collects the contributions of 10 of the most important international names in the interaction design landscape. They all answer a single question: what is the future of interaction design? So how can we design a better interaction with technologies? Ten different backgrounds, differing in origins, roles, training and generations bring unprecedented visions and reflections on the subject.