Empathy in a Digital Age

In world of Facebook feeds, Snapchats, big data and analytics, your needs are furthest from focus. Today’s technology has made humans more efficient than any living creator before us. We can communicate at the speed of light and share knowledge spanning generations. You’d think with all this processing power, we’d have the understanding and tools to empower anyone to realize success. Yet when you look around, all you’ll see is negativity, de-personalization and the stripping of everything that makes us human.

“How do I become human again?”

Stop Being Naive

Digital tech by itself is benign. Today’s technology has no emotional intelligence. It doesn’t desire. It doesn’t want. Today’s technology is as alive as a coffee pot or flush toilet. AI and Bots are jargon for things that are in their infancy. In the 1980’s and 1990’s the human race had a front row seat to witness the birth of digital technology. In our simple ignorance, we projected humanity onto tech in an effort to ignore what it really was. How many times have you heard someone say, “it has a mind of its own”. We give technology devices a life they don’t really possess. Most people still do not know how computers work, what the Internet really is, and when computer programming is at play. We are an ignorant society giving life to lifeless objects in an effort to ignore the complexities of what we really own. Worse, we don’t really care.

Digital tech is nothing more than today’s version of a hammer or mailbox. If you own a computer, learn how to use it. STOP BEING BLISSFULLY IGNORANT. Just like a hammer, digital tech can hurt you if you don’t know the basics. If you own a smartphone, understand what it does. If you use the Internet, ask WHY it works the way it does. The important questions when dealing with technology are things like: Who is issuing this content? What could I make with these tools? How do they serve people around me…

Stop Being Selfish

There are plenty of good implementations of digital technology. We connect people all around the world. We have open platforms for discussion, sharing and debate. Technology gives amputees the ability to walk and deaf infants the ability to hear. Technology is not an enemy. The enemy is the same as it was centuries before electronics and tech…Greed. Selfishness. Ego.

Less processing power was needed to get human’s to the moon. Less connectivity was needed to fuel exploration that found North and South America. The human race thrived because of a collective effort to expand, build and push forward. Today, we use tools and connectivity that are trillions times better than centuries before. Ironically we use this power to share pictures of our dinner, and stream video of games we play. We pack endless electronics into our pocket so that we have the ability to spy on our ex’s and complain about the opposite minded. We care only about our own story when we have the ability to hear everyone’s story, effortlessly.

Stop Feeding The “Machine”

Some time in the 80’s it became taboo to learn a skilled trade. Our parents feared grease and our children feared work. Higher education became mandatory, and physically labor became negative. In America, we either consume what other’s create, or we create what we know will be mass consumed. There’s no focus on each other. No focus on skilled labor. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. With today’s technology it is easier than ever before to share in the human experience; build things that will last the test of time.

Instead we focus on social platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other’s are platforms that survive by their user’s input. Every time you comment, post or retweet you have a responsibility. You have ultimate control over what other’s will see. The “machine” is fed by people like you or I. When we push negativity, fake news, propaganda or self loathing, it becomes available for the next person to consume and regurgitate. Change must come from within. Each of us has a responsibility to protect the other…not sell each other on our own ideas. Beyond that, we have the ability to teach each other. Today you can find tips and tricks from professionals spanning generations. It’s no longer taboo to work. Thanks to certain demographics, artisan bakers and craftsman woodworkers have become something to aspire to. Instead of recycling the same ideas over and over, we need to teach our children how to use the tools we have to create real things.

How do you become human? Use tools, not tech.

Be Empathetic…

There’s a time and place for gossip. It’s human nature to talk through what we’ve heard and spread inaccuracies in hopes of finding real truth. Social media is the world’s biggest bar with everyone screaming at the top of their lungs. It’s time to listen. I’m not saying social media is a problem, I’m saying people need to stop pretending it’s magic. Stop clicking “SHARE” unless you know what you’re sharing. Stop posting every mundane detail of your life, it makes other people miserable. If you’re on social media, you can entertain, educate or conversate…don’t grandstand. No one cares about your game-stream.

For every selfish thing you post, ensure you help other’s twice as much. Use technology to learn about the one’s around you. Learn new skills and teach your trade. We have the tools to experience life in someone else’s shoes, in real-time. It’s more important now, more than ever, to demonstrate when given power, the public can do amazing things. I’m suggesting a world that disproves we’re ignorant, selfish, creatures. I’d like history to speak, instead, of empathic and emotionally intelligent beings that can do amazing things.

Work Hard. Work Smart. Care for Each Other. Learn Tools, not Tech.

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