Understanding the future human


Thursday, 27 Sep. 15:50–16:35


Understanding the future human

/ Neil Collman


Future human behaviours and attitudes will play an enormous role in the adoption of technology. In order to design change for good, we need to understand the future human first before we drive forward with more and newer technology. Foresight is the path to this understanding.

Will technology liberate or create useless components of us? The technology pouring out of Silicon Valley in the 1990s was meant to bring cybernetic freedom and economic stability to the world. Stability is still a work in progress but cybernetics in humans and machines (and soon enough animals too) has merged. The tech industry has always chased the ideal of creating a perfect union of man and machine. Looking back 15 years do you think the Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs could have foreseen the increasingly connected and automated relationship we have with machines today? Or perhaps the question is, did they try to understand the multiple possible impacts on the future human? More importantly are today’s designers?

It’s widely understood that technology raises the standard of living and makes life easier but statics say we are more unhappy today than we were 30 years ago. If the point of innovation is to make our lives better, why are we increasingly unhappy? The reason to this is, as yet, unknown. What we do know is we need to get better at thinking about the long-term impact of our actions. This isn’t easy because as humans we are hardwired to think about the ‘now’. However, all is not lost, we can use Foresight tools to help us overcome our psychological biases to learn how to think differently about the future to make positive change today.


Neil Collman

Neil is a design leader and speaker who cares about making an impact for people and profit through insight and design. He heads up the practice at leading design and insight consultancy Nile where he develops their methods and offering to stay at the forefront of the industry.
In the past year, Neil has introduced a foresight practice to Nile, helped NHS Digital reimagine it’s B2B experience using service design and introduced new ways to scale customer involvement in design for banks.
Neil regularly speaks at leading industry events, such as UX London, BIMA and the Institute of Marketing.