The era of technology has arrived, and it has penetrated in every aspect of human lives. From apps to social media platforms, the influence of technology has transformed the way people think. The technology can be used to educate people and expand their thinking to form perspectives and opinions about certain issues. The education through technology has become a new way to spread knowledge. Along with education about science, arts, and civics, it is also important to educate people and children about human emotions. Empathy is one of the vital emotions toward understanding people. The technology needs to influence human lives in a good way such as feeling empathy toward others instead of being rude and judgmental. Humans are on the verge of the emergence of empathy technologies.
In The Better Angels of Our Nature, Steven Pinker, a Harvard psychologist emphasizes on the role of technology to evoke empathy in people. The first example of empathy technology was Guttenberg’s printing press, which was invented in 1440. The press enabled mass production of books and helped in spreading literacy. However, in this age, technologies such as television, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have advanced. These new empathy technologies and others have diversified thinking of people and expanded the ability to take different perspectives.
Educators in schools and corporate environment have demanded tools such as AR and VR to help students and employees expand their ability to become better perspective-takers. Day by day, the world is becoming more diverse, segregated, and isolated than before. These technologies enable people to connect with others by feeling empathy for them. Empathy means feeling the same way as others feel. The role of new empathy technologies is vital in bringing the world closer.
These empathy technologies different from social media platforms as these platforms are moving us in the opposite direction of connecting with people. These platforms have kept us in our own social circles and rarely exposed us to new perspectives. Social media and clickbait journalism have encouraged to be judgmental and mocking, rather than becoming empathetic toward others. The implementation of empathy technologies at schools and corporate offices increases human connection.
Outschool, a platform for live online classes connects K-12 students and teachers in small groups through a live video-chat. These live video chats help in exploring interests of various students and teachers. Though online teaching has eliminated human connection and engagement, Outschool tackles this issue by letting students and teachers interact with each other in real time in the same way as the school classroom.
Another platform, Newsela, a news platform offers curated and leveled content for every classroom each day. Through this platform, children are educated about recent issues such as gun rights, racism, and others. Teachers have been using articles from Newsela to jump off point in the classroom discussion. In addition, business leaders have emphasized on empathy as an important trait for leadership. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella opined that empathy is a key to business innovation and is a prerequisite to “grasp customers’ un-met, unarticulated needs.” Amazon has been using Mursion, a virtual environment to practice interpersonal interactions. As businesses and schools have been adopting empathy technologies aggressively, the world will be transformed and get closer day by day. The empathy technologies must become widespread rather than social media to change the future of mankind.