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Report: EUFACETS Kick-Off meeting

EUFACETS began with an interdisciplinary event centred on exploring the nexus between elderly individuals, the face, and technology. Embracing a transage perspective, the event underscored the importance of memory in preserving knowledge, identity, and community ethos. EUFACETS at the start: Two keynotes on cultural memory and emotions The kick off started with the welcome message […]

EUFACETS at the start: Two keynotes on cultural memory and emotions

The kick off started with the welcome message by FBK governance: the President Ferruccio Resta; the Secretary General Andrea Simoni, and Prof. Massimo Leone, FBK-ISR Director and the Principal Investigator of EUFACETS.

The keynote of Prof. Ugo Volli, Honorary Professor at the University of Turin and Member of Insula Felix Foundation, focuses on the foundational dichotomies that form the bedrock of EUFACETS. He analysed the category between history and memory, discussing the nuances of social and family narratives through documented evidence versus the subjective nature of oral history. He also analysed the category future- vs. past-looking societies in terms of societal progression and the value given to the elderly. In his exploration of the category digital vs. analog, Prof. Volli deliberated on the benefits and detriments of digitalization.

Photo: Ugo Volli

The second keynote, by Prof. Gabriella Bottini, Professor at University of Pavia, Niguarda Hospital (Milan) and member of the Scientific Committee of Insula Felix Foundation, addressed the complexity of defining emotions and the universal language of facial expressions. She elaborated on the cultural dependencies of emotional interpretation and the role of caregivers in emotion decoding.

Photo: Gabriella Bottini

Two panels on technology and new perspective of care

Two panels followed including technological stakeholders of EUFACETS. A panel discussed the integration of social robots and AI in elder care, proposing a shift from quantitative methods to a focus on enhancing ‘life’ and sustainability in elderly homes. The panel was curated by Maurizio Serpentino, President of Socialcoop; Sandro Brignone, Research fellow at University of Turin;  Maria Adelaide Gallina, Professor at the University of Turin; Guido Magrin, CEO & Co-Founder of TeiaCare.

Photo: Sandro Brignone

Sara Lodi, Head of Strategic Marketing & Business Development di Interacta, presented on the synergy between community, technology, and culture, emphasising demographic challenges and the notion of technology as a tool for wellbeing in the workplace.

Photo: Sara Lodi

On the future of time

The keynote of Didier Tsala, Professor at the Université de Limoges, examined the concept of old age from multiple perspectives, including its epistemological, marketing, biological, and anthropological aspects, suggesting that the notion of old age is a cultural invention with different existential trajectories.

Photo: Didier Tsala

A roundtable on elders, face, and technology

A roundtable discussion followed including post-doc researchers at the University of Turin from the ERC project FACETS – Face Aesthetics in Contemporary E-Technological Societies (Grant agreement ID: 819649), from which EUFACETS originates and aims to leverage its theoretical outcomes to envisage a new conception of the digital face.

Remo Gramigna touched on the perception of old age from a semiotic point of view, linking it also with concepts such as violence and disease. He discussed the digital transformation of facial representation and its impact on personal identity.

Gabriele Marino focused on active ageing and the media’s portrayal of ageism. He shed light on the impact of algorithms and online ageing, advocating for a global approach to geriatric discourse.

Francesco Piluso analysed the practice of classifying generations based on uses and practices of technology and their technological proficiency, urging for an approach beyond polarisation and leveraging technology to enhance the capabilities of the older generation.

     

Gallery (from left to right): Remo Gramigna, Gabriele Marino, Francesco Piluso

A roundtable to reimagine technology for the elders

A roundtable to reimagine through innovative approaches the relationship between the elders and technology was led by researchers at the Bruno Kessler Foundation.

Teresa Andreani took a juridical and ethical stance, underscoring the project’s protective nature and advocating for a human-centric approach in digital transformation and AI.

Daniela Ghidoli analysed the representation of the elderly on social media, also pondering the fate of digital identities post-mortem and addressing the diverse digital needs of older people.

Daria Arkhipova emphasised the need for digital literacy and Heads-Up computing to forge semantic connections, stressing the humanistic aspect of usability in technology stressing concepts such as curiosity and need.

Stefania Yapo highlighted the intergenerational exchange and the need to  understand the technological interpretations of those not regularly using technology. She emphasised the need for technology to offer unique experiences reflective of individual identities and histories.

 

 

Gallery (from left to right): Teresa Andreani, Daniela Ghidoli, Daria Arkhipova, Stefania Yapo

Elders, technology and ethics

Finally, Maurizio Balistreri, professor at the University of Tuscia, and independent ethics advisor of EUFACETS, called for harnessing technology to create atmospheres and narratives that honour the passage of lives, with a focus on intergenerational compassion and understanding. He also provided a discussion on the ethical considerations surrounding the intersection of elderly individuals and technology.

Photo: Maurizio Balistreri

A wrap up of the kick off was provided by Federico Bellentani, Post-Doc Researcher and Project manager of EUFACETS, and Massimo Leone, Principal Investigator of EUFACETS.

        

Photo: Federico Bellentani and Massimo Leone

A video inspired by the main topics of EUFACETS by digital artist Giacomo Calzolari, also known as “Bugibba”, concluded the event and it is here published for the first time.