Digitization and automation offer the opportunity to save rural areas from emigration, thinning and brain drain. Above all, crafts and agriculture could benefit from new technologies. But that is only possible with a strong digital infrastructure. This is the conclusion of futurologist, technology and innovation expert Petra Schaper-Rinkel of the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), who will speak at the Economic Forum in Fresach during the European Tolerance Talks. “If there is a digital infrastructure in Austria that is close to people and regional needs, then local actors can create innovations that incorporate their own individual ideas – the classic craft does not have to go away, it can come instead to a renaissance in which creativity is the driving force,” says Schaper-Rinkel in an recent interview. Through automation, physical tasks (heavy and stressful) would fall on the machines, creating more freedom for innovation, spirit and ingenuity. The whole interview can be read on pressetext.