Explores questions around the role of empathy in a world where the separation between humans and our technology grows smaller every day.
Is technology destroying our ability to empathize? Are our devices and media platforms designed empathically? What changes to these platforms could lead to greater inclusion for all people? Creating tech to serve us rather than distract us? Could future AI and VR technologies be harnessed to increase empathy rather than create feelings of social isolation? What does it mean to design empathically, and why does it matter for our future?
Through lectures, readings, cultural immersion, and reflection students will become familiar with the general psychology of empathy and learn best practices to build empathy. Group work and mock debates develop skills of empathic negotiation as it relates to technology and “start-up” culture. Research focuses on case studies of technologies that have succeeded and failed in fostering empathy, reflecting on the underlying cultural frameworks. We will redesign existing and create new technologies that are more empathic, inclusive, and human-centered. Students will come away from this course with a new mentality aimed at designing technologies to serve our highest level of humanity.
Students who successfully complete this course will: