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Design After the Anthropocene

By Ákos Csertán

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Session type

Focus Talk


Fri, 20 Oct 2023


Main stage

About this session

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.

About Ákos

Ákos Csertán

Ákos Csertán

Design Strategist & CEO at Atlas, Rise!

Ákos Csertán is a design strategist and CEO at Atlas, Rise! - an impact driven innovation community working with enterprises on designing socially and environmentally sustainable digital products.

With 16 years of experience in UX, service design, design strategy, he started out originally as a psychologist, moved into the field back then known as software ergonomics - practically, UX. He created his first startup in 2006, after an exit, he worked for multiple agencies as a UX-er, and later at an IT security company as a UX lead and Design Strategist.

Along with his work as a designer, Ákos has been teaching UX, design theory and design strategy at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design since 2014 - where he also spent two years as a researcher in the field of smart spaces and smart offices. He also participates in multiple startup incubators in Hungary as a startup mentor; he is one of the organisers of UX Budapest, the biggest tech-related meetup community in Hungary (with over 3000 members currently and monthly meetups with 100-200 participants).

Ákos also holds an iF Award in Service Design, a Red Dot, and over 20 creative awards.