How technology could be paving the way for a more empathetic future

Leading with empathy is one of the most crucial life skills you can learn.

Not only can it help you see things from another perspective, thereby making you more flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances, but it also helps bring you closer to others and forge meaningful relationships. 

According to market data from Gitnux, 98% of employees feel that empathy in the workplace is important, and leaders who operate with empathy increase employee satisfaction by about 50%. What’s more, new data from EY suggests that 86% of employees believe empathetic leadership boosts morale, while 87% say empathy is essential to fostering an inclusive environment.

We know that empathy is crucial to understanding and relating to one another, and therefore, forging closer human bonds. But what about the technological world, which is becoming increasingly intertwined with human life? How can we learn to live harmoniously with technology in a way that maximises empathy?

Some say digital tech like social media and virtual reality may actually decrease empathy because it removes people from the real world and hinders real, human connection—especially in young people. However, there’s evidence to suggest that we can use technology in a way that actually boosts empathy and helps us grow.

Empathetic technology

Saving the environment

Neuroscientist and technologist Poppy Crum studies empathetic technology, which is tech that can sense how we’re feeling based on physiological indicators like the breath, sweat and even the electrical resistance of the skin. She believes empathetic technology represents “the end of the poker face,” and the dawn of a new world for understanding our own and others’ emotions. 

“If we recognize the power of becoming technological empaths, we get this opportunity where technology can help us bridge the emotional and cognitive divide.” — Poppy Crum

Not only could this technology help us understand and manage our own emotions more effectively, but it could also have a massive impact in areas like medicine and healthcare because it would empower physicians to understand and manage their patients’ conditions more effectively. 

Communication tools

It’s a given that technology has enabled us to stay connected in more ways than ever before in the history of humanity. Some might even argue we’re too connected, and that it’s not healthy to have access to a 24/7 feed of each others’ highlight reels.

While they have their downsides, tools like video conferencing, instant messaging and social media can facilitate enhanced communication, sharing, and relationships. Many people don’t feel comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts and emotions with those closest to them, but they may feel safe opening up to an online therapist or coach. Therefore, online communication tools have the power to act as a lifeline for loneliness and mental health issues.

From online therapy services like Better Help to Facebook support groups, the online world has made it possible for people to connect over the challenges they’re facing, whether that be addictions, mental health issues, or grief. For example, Empathy is a comprehensive platform to support those who are coping with the loss of a loved one, offering everything from funeral planning to grief counselling.

Virtual reality

Another way technology is helping to create a more empathetic world is through virtual reality (VR). Some studies have shown that by using VR to simulate experiences of challenging situations like discrimination, visual or auditory impairment, or even schizophrenia, we can increase awareness and understanding of the struggles many people face every day.

While we will never truly know what it’s like to live in someone else’s shoes, VR technology may help us catch a glimpse of what they might be going through. Ultimately, this could help us drive social good initiatives and create lasting change.

What are your thoughts on the relationship between empathy and technology? We’d love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *