The Technology of Kindness – How social media can rebuild our empathy; and why it must

The Technology of Kindness – How social media can rebuild our empathy; and why it must

With all that’s going on at the moment, more people are working from home or isolating at home and accordingly, more people are probably spending time on social media. Like most things in life, this can be good and bad. It’s great to stay connected with others; connection and relationships are key for our health and happiness and social media can help us avoid isolation and loneliness. But at the same time, social media can be pretty harsh at times; and social media isn’t always great for our happiness and wellbeing, So it’s important for each of us to manage these pros and cons as best we can but also to look at how we can use this wonderful online world to build more happiness and compassion, more kindness and empathy…

via Scientific America by Jamil Zaki

In the run-up to the 1964 World’s Fair, the great science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov was asked what that same event might look like 50 years later. He guessed that by 2014, we’d be in the constant company of “electroluminescent panels”—used for video chat, navigation and, more deeply, “to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit [us] better.”

Asimov’s future is our present. This worries many people, who think technology has left us dumber, sadder and meaner than we were before. Empathy—people’s ability to share and understand one another’s emotions—has declined sharply in the 21st century. If it dies out, technology will probably be charged with the murder. The clues are all there: People in countries with a greater Internet penetrance report lower empathy. Simply leaving a phone between two strangers as they talk lessens their resulting trust. The prosecution’s case writes itself: while apparently serving us, technology quietly poisoned the connections that keep us human.

Yet technology, and the Internet in particular, are not inherently antisocial. They can sap our empathy, but used differently, they could become a world-sized magnifying glass for our better angels. Many corners of the Internet already allow people to broaden their empathy and share collective goodwill. Researchers are pinpointing the ingredients of positive technology. If they become the norm, the future of life online will be kinder than its past. Internet platforms must heed this evidence, and their users must demand them to do so…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE