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Future Innovators Summit

Future Innovators Summit 2017
Credit: Tom Mesic

Missions for Tomorrow

From September 7-10, at Ars Electronica Festival 2017

Following its successful premiere at Ars Electronica Festival 2014, and subsequent inspirational editions in 2015 and 2016, the Future Innovators Summit (FIS) has established itself as a dynamic think-tank and key program within Ars Electronica Festival. Now in its fourth year, Future Innovators from different cultures and backgrounds and from different fields such as artists, designers, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, social activists and philosophers will gather in September in Linz to explore new ways of collective brainstorming and creative prototyping on the crucial questions of the future.

Supported by experienced partners such as Hakuhodo (JP) and Internet Foundation Austria as well as outstanding experts from all over the world, the Future Innovators of the Future Innovators Summit 2017 will be challenged to look for the ultimate Creative Question which will lead us to think about Missions for Tomorrow– concepts which are inevitably linked to the main topic of the festival “Artificial Intelligence – The Other I”.

Expanding on the creative questions from Future Innovators Summit 2016 (see , the selected Future Innovators 2017 will imagine alternative future scenarios relating to the main topics and questions, and will try to find the new „Creative Questions“ for our future, which will presented to the festival audience in the end of the workshop.

What are the themes of FIS2017?

The Future Innovators of the Future Innovators Summit 2017 will be set the challenge of looking for the ultimate Creative Question for each theme, which will lead us to thinking of Missions for Tomorrow.

Future Humanity

When we are facing a world where machines could evolve to be better thinkers and better doers than humans, what future awaits us? And what will be our motivations to live? Future Humanity seeks out our visions and missions in correlation with technology, other beings and ourselves.

  • How can we be more human?
  • How can a machine love a human? And vice versa?
  • How can we live as a multiple “I”?

Future Work

Who or what defines our concept of work in today’s world and, when and how will this change? For what reasons and mission do we work, and what will we as humans be looking for in the future? Future Work will explore how and why we work and what the concept of work will really look like in years to come.

  • What if we don’t need to work anymore, what do humans need instead of working?
  • How can AI’s and humans share the same mission for the future?
  • What kind of education is needed for joblessness in the 21st Century?
  • What’s the role of social capital in driving regional sustainable growth and innovation?

Future Home

What is your home? The meaning of home has continuously been evolving since humans first walked the earth. Once considered as a refuge for survival, living and relaxing, but now for future nomads, what will smart homes, creative hubs, digital communities, cities and nation states be? What other factors of homes need attention for us to acknowledge the place that we take shelter, as home? Future Home asks you to evolvement of homes in the future.

  • What factors give us the feeling of home in the future? And what will the home look like?
  • How can we build a sense of solidarity as family and community in the future?
  • How can AI’s become a part of your family?

Program overview of FIS2017

Day 1 (THU Sept. 7, 2017) Kick Off Day
Day 2 (FRI Sept. 8, 2017) Free Inspiration Day
Day 3 (SAT Sept. 9, 2017) Intensive Workshop Day with support by Mentors
Day 4 (SUN Sept. 10, 2017) Final Presentation and Networking Day


Previous FIS editions have shown that the Mentorship element was extremely valuable and all participating Mentors were inspirational initiators for the Innovators – and vice versa. In a dynamic environment, innovators and young professionals will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and ask leading experts for advice.

Mentors in the past years included: Victoria Vesna (artist and professor at UCLA Department of Design), Peter Wouda (Design Director at Volkswagen Future Center), Hiroshi Ishii (Professor at MIT MediaLab), Geeta Mehta (Professor at Columbia University), Oliviero Toscani (photographer), Joachim Sauter (founding member and Head of Design at ART+COM), Alexander Mankowsky (futurologist at Daimler) as well as Robert Madelin (EU-Commission/ Senior Advisor for Innovation).


The workshops will be facilitated by our partner Hakuhodo. The Hakuhodo facilitators will accompany the workshop process and lead the discussions during the Future Innovators Summit.


The Future Innovators Summit is a creative system which has been developed by Ars Electronica Futurelab and Hakuhodo.

At this summit, experienced professionals as well as young entrepreneurs and social activists, technicians and scientists and of course, artists and designers will meet each other at Ars Electronica Festival for mutual inspiration and exchange of ideas and know-how. The line-up will also include opportunities for participants to engage in dialog among each other and with the public audience. Besides a broad range of lectures, presentations and exhibitions, we want to build a ‘special taskforce’ of Future Innovators all over the world who will present their ideas and projects and who will discuss the current topics of the summit.

Why is this a unique opportunity? At the moment, one can find a growing line-up of events and gatherings for young entrepreneurs and start-ups, as well as a lot of hackathons, game jams etc. where the young community of programmers and developers can interact. The same goes for festivals of young artists and conferences of young social activists. What they all have in common is an exciting and virulently inspiring atmosphere, but they often also share a certain flavor of elitist exclusivity, and it’s sometimes difficult to access them as an emerging professional or even as an outsider. Even more surprising is that you can hardly find an event at which these inspiring talents, creators and innovators can convene, and do so across the borders of their communities and disciplines. But this crossover is exactly what we’re looking for!

Ars Electronica Tokyo Initiative

The Future Innovators Summit itself has been developed by the Ars Electronica Futurelab and Hakuhodo since 2013 as part of their collaborative project entitled the Future Catalysts program.  Since that year, our alliance has expanded with the creation of the Ars Electronica Tokyo Initiative, a mission-driven community to really act for shaping a better society together with artists and firms. Originally, art was not the core driving force for industries, but now we’re trying to form a unique meeting point between art and industries—stimulating innovation, visions and social discussions. The Ars Electronica Tokyo Initiative is a community for discussing potential missions for the future. A mission includes intention and also a wish to do something. But this should be done together. The City of Tokyo, the headquarters of Hakuhodo, is one of the biggest ongoing social and future-orientated experiments. Together we are now trying to catalyze this new role of art for society. The Ars Electronica Tokyo Initiative is also co-partner and a background force to sustain this Future Innovators Summit.