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Design for the Utopia You Want, Not the Dystopia You're In

Chris Atherton | GOTO Amsterdam 2022

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We make digital stuff, but we also consume digital stuff. While it is smart to remember that you are not the user, there is definitely value in thinking about your own experience as a user.

The wall between consuming and making is porous: the things we consume influence what we make, whether we intend them to or not.

Designer and former academic psychologist, Chris Atherton, will take a look at what it’s like to be alive and using digital stuff in 2021. What is dystopia, and how did it get into prod? What are we really learning when we use technology? Why is psychology from a century ago still relevant, and who are all the old white guys with beards? And what does any of this teach us about our own responsibilities as makers of technology?

Chris will take us back to basics and ask how we might re-evaluate perspectives from the last hundred years or so, in the increasingly uncomfortable glare of the internet. Armed with only a handful of memes and the desire to create good in the world, can we fix these interesting times?

In this talk, you'll learn:

  • Cognitive behavioural psychology 101 (retro edition)
  • Ways of thinking about and evaluating your own use of technology
  • Some strategies for more intentional design

About the speakers

Chris Atherton
Chris Atherton

Pragmatic interaction designer and content consultant with extensive experience from digital product and service development

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