From Human to Hybrid

Scott Robinson
Experience Design Insights
5 min readJan 17, 2020

The Future of Human-Centered Design

Human-Centered Design (HCD) might be limiting our ability to anticipate the future. Let’s suspend ideas about the human being, and instead design for dynamic, socio-technical beings: Human-technology hybrids. We call it Hybrid-Centered Design™.

Written by Natalie Porter, Ph.D. and Scott Robinson on behalf of FreshForm.

A simple, line drawing illustration of a human head and mobile phone as one.
The Future of Human-Centered Design is Hybrid-Centered Design™. Illustration by Abey Tidwell.

User Experience (UX) design is a human-centered process of creating products and services that provide meaningful experiences to users.

For UX designers, humans take center stage.

We’re driven by a mission to optimize how humans experience technology and technological systems.

We think of technology as a tool that humans use and interface with in order to enhance our perceptions and skills.

We imagine that technology exists to improve human lives.

Put simply… Humans come first.

Human-Centered Design has its advantages.

Designing with and for people means:

  • We can be intentional about the technologies we build.
  • We can create objects and systems that meet our diverse psychological, cultural, and biological needs.
  • We can reflect on and direct the course of technological change.

Yet, there is something unsettling about a problem-solving approach that places technology in a supporting role vis-a-vis humans.

Consider controversies surrounding emerging technologies. Digital assistants, advanced robotics, and autonomous vehicles — these are just a few examples of how artificial intelligence (AI) is creeping into “human” domains.

The World Economic Forum has already declared the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is underway. 4IR represents a “fundamental change in the way we live, work and relate to one another”. In the coming decades, our future world will be one where billions of people and billions of machines live together.

As AI continues to demonstrate capacity for subjective reasoning, complex social interaction, and moral choice, we are beginning to…

Scott Robinson
Experience Design Insights