Benedetto Vigna

When I started my journey into sensor world, sensors were an anomaly. Today, after only a quarter of a century, the world around us is full of sensors, most of which are connected to the cloud. By measuring multiple variables in the analog world and digitalizing them, sensors are a key enabler of the third and fourth waves of Artificial Intelligence Era: the Sensing AI and the Autonomous AI Eras, respectively. Daily and with tireless pace, the sensors inflate the Big Data digital world sphere. Internet of Things and Augmented reality technologies allow human kind to properly use the data collected by the sensors. But this is only one face of the coin. Indeed, once these data are fed in the latest generation algorithms of the big companies, they boost the profit of those companies and we became the means to others’ end. Sensors became a new source of human behavioral surplus with more predictive power, accelerating the transition toward surveillance capitalism, where free will and critical thinking are at risk.

In this talk, after highlighting the key milestones of sensor development in the last twenty-five years and the future trend, I will argue how I see feasible the symbiosis between the Big Data, free will, critical thinking and a more transparent digital world.


Benedetto Vigna is STMicroelectronics’ President, Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group, and has held this position since January 2016. He is a member of ST’s Executive Committee since May 31st, 2018.

Vigna joined ST in 1995 and launched the Company’s efforts in MEMS. Under his guidance, ST’s MEMS sensors established the Company’s leadership with large OEMs in motion-activated user interfaces. Vigna has piloted ST’s successful moves into microphones, e-compasses, and touch-screen controllers, as well as environmental sensors, micro-actuators, industrial and automotive sensors, and low-power radios for IoT. Vigna’s mandate was further expanded with analog ICs and RF products (2011) and smart-power devices for OEMs and mass market (2016). ST’s Imaging division moved under his management in late 2017.

Vigna has more than 200 patents on micromachining, authored numerous publications, and sits on the boards of several EU-funded programs. Vigna’s contributions to the industry have been recognized with the MEMS Industry Group’s Executive of the Year Award (2013), the European SEMI Award (2013), the IEEE Frederik Philips Award (2015), and Manager of the Year 2017 by German magazine Markt & Technik. He joined the MEMS & Sensor Industry Group board in June 2019. Since February 2020, Vigna has been a member of Electronics Cluster Advisory Board (CAB) for the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) of Singapore.

Since June 2020 he is also Member of the Board of Technical Advisors of Leonardo Company.

Benedetto Vigna was born in Potenza, Italy, in 1969, and graduated cum laude with a degree in Subnuclear Physics from the University of Pisa, Italy.