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The Interesting Correlation Between Empathy And Technology

April 22, 2020 4 min read
relation between empathy and technology

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The Interesting Correlation Between Empathy And Technology

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The empathy with which the generation of today is familiar is a 20th-century term. It has become much more than just a physical reaction to another person’s sensory stimuli. It is not just the ‘motor mimicry’ anymore, as early philosophers described it. Empathy in today’s world is a person’s capacity to see, feel, and understand what another person is going through. It is about understanding and seeing things from someone else’s perspective. And today’s generation knows that empathy need not necessarily be a positive feeling. Moreover, there is a correlation between empathy and technology.

As technology advanced, empathy lost its essence. The main characteristic of empathy has been a human connection. As social media advanced, it did connect people from far off places, but only virtually. So in this world technology, even when the generation of today is sending texts to one another frequently and are sharing events of their lives online, they barely know how to talk to one another. 

A lot of psychologists have stated empathy as a positive emotion. However, humans feel empathy for not just the positive achievements of another individual. They also feel empathetic towards the loss or failure of another person, if it is in their own favor. Therefore, empathy can be good as well as bad.

Technology And Communication

Even in offices nowadays, employees are either immersed in their own work or are deep into social media while on a break from work. There are hardly any real conversations that take place. Technology has made quantity a top priority and pushed back quality. That is to say, people are more bothered about how much they can share on social media platforms. That is their priority. So technically, people are still communicating all the time. But there is no quality of the communication, hence empathy is losing its importance and it is causing social skills to atrophy. 

Soft skills like kindness and empathy are taken over by technology. The most important human trait, empathy, has lost its essence. Communication is right at the center of empathy creation. So when real communication is lost with technology, so is empathy. 

The Conflict Of Empathy

Technology has indeed transformed the face of communication. From language, writing, telecommunication, to information technologies, there have been a lot of options. The 21st century brought the face of communication technology that was unprecedented in human history. Therefore, the question that arises is, if there has been such a favorable evolution of communication by technology, then why are people still facing a conflict with empathy?

The matter of fact is that an office has employees from various cultures, of varied traits and ideologies. And one fact about empathy directly deals with these three terms. Studies have shown that humans generally empathize with each other when they have the same ideologies and cultural traits. And they fail to empathize with people if they disagree on the ideologies or cultural traits. Human brains have an idea of ‘group’. The people with the same ideological ideas and traits tend to unconsciously think of themselves as a part of the same group. Therefore, they are unable to empathize with the people who are not a part of their group.

Empathy In The Work Environment

The workplace is one of the best examples of the correlation between technology and empathy. While working, there is too much information that the brain has to take in. When this happens, the brain is not ready for emotionally draining stories. And because the brain refuses the barrage of those stories, it leads to negation or suppression of the human emotion of empathy.

So employees need to be more patient. If employees are aware of the diminishment of empathy in them, they will be able to gather it back consciously. It is an exhaustive world, but each human is important. So instead of destroying empathy, use communication technology to recover it. Technology is a tool and the results of technology depend on the intention with which we use it. So whether you construct or destruct with technology is in your hands.

Employees can use the various communication platforms to bring each other together rather than breaking themselves apart. Technology can and has been destroying as well as constructing empathy. Humans can actively use technology for the creation of empathy and make it stronger. Expand the notion of who should be a part of your ‘group’ and encourage storytelling. The human race will not be able to survive the consequences of a society where empathy is dead. 

So it is time for employees as well as employers to start thinking and seeing things differently. If the two together can recreate empathy, a lot can change for the better. Stories should not go unheard. If you are too occupied by work, take out time from the rest of your day. A few minutes can make a lot of difference. 

Conclusion

Empathy is a fundamental part of our society as well as emotional development. Businesses need empathetic employees as much as a personal society does. Employees and employers need to be empathetic towards their clients in order to understand what kind of services they need and provide them with the best. 

The correlation between technology and empathy is quite interesting. If technology has affected empathy adversely, it can also help greatly in recovering it. Without technology, the modern world of today cannot survive. In fact, there is no denying the fact that technology has made a lot of things evolve for the better. And we wouldn’t want it any other way. Technology provides us with what nothing else can so easily. It provides us with opportunities to grow and gain vast knowledge. It also gives us the opportunity to stay connected with everyone around us.

So we can use this technology for a lot of positivity as well. Let us not forget that as much as we need technology, we also need satisfactory, healthy, and polite social relationships. Hence, the correlation between technology and empathy. And all of this will only be possible if humans do not let empathy die. Social relationships can only be maintained on the pillar of empathy. So instead of blaming technology, let us mind the way we use it. Humans are meant to use technology, not the other way round. Use technology wisely and build a better society around. The technology was invented for the betterment of the human race. Let us keep and use it for the same!

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