About Future

Look ahead to design for now

Thomas Wagner
Jan 31, 2017 · 3 min read

The World in which we live is changing in a way we’ve never seen before. Every day we get influenced by so many things, that we have to learn how to filter all these information to not feeling lost.

When it comes to thinking about the future and how it could look like, it is really tough to find a starting point because there is so much going on. When we think about how technological innovations like autonomous driving could shape our way of living, it is nearly impossible to imagine a future which is more than 5 years ahead.

As a designer I belive, that we should keep our focus on current problems and the near future rather than problems which could maybe occur in 20, 30 or 50 years. This does not mean to lose track of the wider context. It is important to have a vision of whats ahead but I belive that all we have is now and that it is worth to pay attention to this period of time.

For me, everything what we are doing now is all in all shaping our future. The impacts of those decisions may have different scales but they definitive change the way of our further living. With every purchase, message or like we make a decision and choose a direction. This could be unconscious or conscious and of course with different kind of impact.

We as Designers are making conscious decisions based on research and experience to define and solve problems — and in the end, design our future in a conscious way. It is important to know that everyone has the power to change the future in a certain way. Therefor it is advisable to ask yourself the question “in what kind of world do I want to live?”. This could be in an everyday life situation on a very low level like “Do I want to spend this money for the shoes and have less money for the last weeks of the month?” or more on a meta-level like “Do I want to support this shoe company in the way they act?”. All of our actions will affect economics, society, technology, environment, politics, legal and ethical issues in a certain way.

When I look ahead and skim through all these reports and foresights I sometimes feel really scared about how people are seeing the future and sometimes think “I do not wanna live in such a world”. For this reason I am even more motivated to bring in myself to actively participate to design a future that I feel is worthliving.

Technology is one important driver which shapes how we will live in the future. But instead of thinking what we can do with all this kind of cool stuff we should think about the people first. We should understand technology only as a tool for solving problems. And nothing more. Life is all about people. In my view it is wrong to replace human through machines. We should use machines to support and assist humans, and let them do the work for us. But in the end people should build relationships with other people — and not machines.

Emerging technologies will integrate the value of technology seamlessly into our environment. AI, Voice-Services and the rise of microservices will create a magical and more natural feeling of how we interact with our environment.

There are so many possibilities and opportunities and a lot to learn. I am excited about the possibility to change the way we live — doesn't matter in what kind of scale. I will look ahead to keep on designing for now.