Design Shift: Tech vs. Humans
Part 3: Observations of the Human Psyche, Behaviour and Cultural Shifts

1pm every Tuesday in June

Well, nothing could have prepared us for the recent events of 2020, not only from major disruptions in our lives due to the pandemic but also the need to adopt technological innovation at a much faster pace than ever before. At the rising age of data science, digital platforms, automation, artificial intelligence, cyborgs and smart technology — are we losing touch with what it means to be human?

AGDA now brings Design Shift: Tech vs. Humans online — a weekly five part live webinar series with our presenter, San San Truong. We have prepared a line up of speakers with a view to learn what communication and technology companies, designers and thought leaders are practicing today to acknowledge humanity in the face of rapid technological change. Plug into their minds as we touch on some key issues each week to consider and explore their contributions of human-centric design for what might shape a better future.

Part 3: Observations of the Human Psyche, Behaviour and Cultural Shifts
Haifa Sekkouah – Product Design Lead at Zendesk
Tilman Dingler – Computer Scientist & Lecturer at Melbourne University

The way we act and behave is considerably different to the pre-digital era. There is a cultural shift in the way we communicate our interests, expressions and beliefs, for example — reacting with emojis, leetspeak, hashtags and comments on social media. As people have more say in what they read, react, purchase and behave, we have society that seems to represent a mass reaction. Therefore, it is important to study the potential risks of what we design and listen carefully to the human needs expressed through these interactions.

Serious concerns have been raised about algorithms and online platforms, manipulating opinion and decision-making. They force users into filter bubbles and create echo chambers which amplify people’s views, beliefs, and convictions. How is it that technologies that make us more effective communicators, workers, and citizens manage to compromise rational thinking?

Haifa Sekkouah starts the dialogue in understanding how our new found data mines and technology require ethics become part of our day-to-day process of design and education. She reveals some deep vulnerable areas of the human psyche and how we can influence behaviours via thoughtful interaction choices and product decisions.

Tilman Dingler illustrates how app designs and interfaces prioritise user attention exploit their users’ cognitive biases, make us misread facts and seduce us to shallow reasoning. Where market incentives and governmental oversight fail us, how can we rethink technology design to build and reinforce critical thinking skills? Tilman advocates a design shift from shallow user engagement towards interfaces that prioritise information gain over attention capture and instil better information processing habits in their users.

We identify some of the cultural shifts and human behaviour as a result of the technological products we design today. We explore human-centred design thinking, by gaining insights from Haifa Sekkouah, and Tilman Dingler. How do we shape a better future through design?