Gucci Art Lab
Photo: Gucci

Fashion powerhouse Gucci is throwing its weight behind something other than fashion again (remember when they donated half a million dollars in support of gun control?), this time, by sponsoring business and tech magazine Fast Company’s annual Innovation Festival. The technology-focused festival will make its European debut in Milan and Florence from 9-11th July, and will see many esteemed, high-profile speakers lead conversations related to the theme, ‘The Dawn of Superintelligence’.

The festival aims to examine and highlight the potential for collaboration between man and machine – more essential than ever as our society approaches a new era of technological advancement and machine intelligence. The seminars and talks throughout the three days will cover topics like “What Happens When Technology Hacks Humanity”, “Identity in an Avatar-Friendly World”, and much more.

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From left, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Giuseppe Sala, and Jessica Brillhart.
Photo: European Innovation Festival

The speakers invited to the festival are notably diverse, with each person bringing a unique skill-set and expertise to the table. The confirmed list of speakers include:

  1. Yuval Noah Harari, historian and author
  2. Jared Leto, tech investor, actor and musician
  3. Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, economist, international development expert and former Finance Minister of Nigeria
  4. Alec Ross, author of “Industries of the Future,” technology policy expert, and senior innovation advisor to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  5. Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-A-Porter and co-founder and managing partner, Imaginary Ventures
  6. Jessica Brillhart, immersive director, writer and founder of Vrai Pictures
  7. Dustin Yellin, contemporary artist
  8. Chloe Macintosh, chief creative officer, Soho House, and co-founder,
  9. Marian Goodell, CEO, Burning Man
  10. Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan
  11. Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci
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Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci.
Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci. Photo: Getty

As for why Gucci chose to get behind the cause, president and CEO Bizzarri commented, “We are at a real tipping point with AI (artificial intelligence) becoming pervasive in our lives. At Gucci, we have established a culture of innovation fostering experimentation and new technologies, but always in support of creativity and the human touch. We are therefore delighted to help power this Festival bringing together leading thinkers in conversations about the new paradigms in front of us.”

Gucci Hub in Milan
Gucci Hub in Milan. Photo: Gucci

The Milanese leg of the festival will kick off at brand’s corporate headquarters, known as the Gucci Hub. The Hub is located in a restored aeronautical factory and brings together the fashion house’s Milan offices, worldwide showrooms, while also serving as a venue for fashion shows and photo shoots. During the festival, it will house interactive exhibitions, artistic installations, as well as specially selected startups who have unique solutions, humanistic philosophy and innovative approach to product design. For more information on the full range of activities planned, view the Innovation Festival’s full agenda here.

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Tickets for the Fast Company European Innovation Festival, 9th-11th July are available here.