The Intersection of Technology and Human Empathy

It’s never been more clear that we live in times of transformative change. Thomas Friedman’s latest book, Thank You for Being Late, is a fascinating account of the impacts of the accelerators of globalization, climate change, and technology. The intersection of the three is shaping the world in profound ways.

The fast pace of change is challenging human’s ability to adapt. Part of our human nature is looking for simple answers. See: Donald Trump and his assertion that he alone can solve all of our problems. This is appealing because change (especially at its current scale) makes it easier to hand over responsibility to someone else.

However, that’s a temporary and inadequate solution. The fact is we’re all in this together – and it’s complicated.

Along with technology, it’s evident that consultants, mentors, coaches, therapists, and teachers have an important role in helping each of us navigate these changes. Guides that have tools to help us improve our relationships are critical. They can help us enhance our relationships with each other, with the planet, and with technology. When we have relationships that work –  we can create a culture that thrives.

Friedman predicts the highest paying industry in the future will be at the intersection of technology and human empathy. Healers and guides are perfectly positioned to harness technology in a way that increases humans understanding of each other.

Stories of technologies like robotic suits that create an experience of aging fifty years in minutes are becoming more and more common. We can literally walk in someone’s shoes. With virtual reality we can see the world though someone else’s eyes. Creating these kinds of empathetic experiences is unique and has the potential for each of us to view the world from a new place – and take new actions.

Virtual reality, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and others have changed the game. Who knows what we will learn via these technologies, but if they can help us relate to one another as humans then the possibilities are limitless.

We’re all inter-connected. We are our brother’s keeper. Your happiness in my happiness. This understanding is evolving over this period in history and it’s happening in the blink of an eye. We may or may not be able to look back to see the exact moment that we reach a critical mass of this awareness –  just like we can’t exactly pinpoint when smart phones became a must haves. But we know it happened.

As humans, we know the answers to our societal problems. It’s when we act out of our connection that we will begin to actually implement the solutions. It’s the people and organizations that are clear on this vision, along with an actionable plan, that will ultimately come out the other side. In fact, these organizations are not only helping create a critical mass of this awareness, they’re also creating new systems from which we will operate.

This moment in time offers a unique window of opportunity. Changes of heart and new understandings are happening all around us. There’s an energy that won’t last long. And those that step forward, mindfully and with purpose, will be rewarded.

Old systems are crumbling in front of our eyes. In the midst of the dust, new systems are being created. Though it’s sometimes difficult to see, progress is created one day at a time. One project at a time. One conversation at a time.

The more we explore the shared space of technology and human empathy the better we’ll be able to adapt to the changes of our time. Within that space lay the answers to creating a thriving and resilient society.

Image Credit