Growing up on a healthy diet of 80’s sci fi TV, it was all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking my first web development job would be plugging people into computers, sending a rocket to saturn or creating some form of teleportation device. Imagine my disappointment when I landed my first job bug fixing a CMS system. It was not the glittering, technologically advanced career I was expecting.
As I moved into design and research, I realised that this fault in the way we predict the future for people is rife in the digital industry, often with UCD folks bearing the impact of these biased and misleading predictions when the organisations we work for get sidetracked by the newest shiny technology, and completely forget the humans who are using it. We live in a society where there is a surplus of poor design, and where products and services are churned out only because it was tipped as the newest technology. It’s often under the guise of “innovation” - but how much are we really innovating, and do we need it?
This talk looks at the historical cases of where the human has been forgotten, and technology was given centre stage - and the inevitable issues that resulted. From how offices and the workforce have evolved, flying cars, and the difference between telegrams and twitter, we take a look at how time and time again we fail to focus on what really matters when we make design predictions about the future.
More importantly, what can we do as designers to achieve progress, helping our organisations gain a more dynamic understanding of why technology changes, how people adapt to those changes, and how we might guide the implementation of these mighty, marvellous machines.