PUSH UX 2024 is coming on November 7-8

Design After the Anthropocene

Design After the Anthropocene
Ákos Csertán at PUSH UX 2023

Human-centric design came into our lives with a great promise - the promise that a specific methodological framework will be able to help us solve the big issues of our time. We were promised a more sustainable, more equitable, more livable world through the idea of technooptimism - the idea that adding more products and services will gradually take us to a promised land. This is an idea built on the core narrative that we are living in the era of the Anthropocene - where humans are the primary actors of change in the world, so positive interventions by designers on the level of humans are effective ways to create positive change in the ecosystem.

But are we still living in the Anthropocene era? The environmental and social crises we are living in, suggest that non-human actors and hyperobjects may have a more important role in our outcomes than humans. At the same time, through technology mediation and continuous augmentation, the human of today may not be the same as the human of the Anthropocene - humans became a complex biological-technological ecosystem, intertwined. We are post-humans, living in a post-human era.

In this talk, we will explore how designers can take a post-human-centric approach to design by incorporating the ideas of technological mediation by Peter-Paul Verbeek and a flat ontological mindset from the Object Oriented Ontology movement in the design of products.