Quantified Us: Can Technology Increase Empathy?

The idea of Quantified Us is not new, but I believe it’s the one to focus on. By using this self-tracking technology to not only understand ourselves (of course it is still good for that), but to also gain more insight into those people around us, will help to foster empathy and compassion.

Being able to experience our own feelings, and see what they look like as a set of data, may allow us to “feel” the experiences of others when we see their data.

A digital form of empathy, where we vicariously feel the emotions of others by understanding what it’s like to have a similar heart rate, body temperature, or even activity in similar brain regions as them when we’re in engaged in a creative activity or at play. 

As Daniel Pink stated in his excellent book A Whole New Brain“Empathy is much more than a vocational skill necessary for surviving 21st century labor markets. It’s an ethic for living. It’s a means of understanding other human beings. Empathy makes us human and is an essential part of living a life of meaning.”