This is a rewrite of yesterday’s post about understanding each other better through software. The question it explores is - How can software play a role in creating and promoting empathy? More importantly - how and where should it play that role?

This is a challenging and unbounded problem. It’s difficult to know where to start.

Empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

Technology has helped in building the foundation. To understand, we need to be able to connect and communicate with each other. We’re here - everyone is for all intents and purposes, connected.

But, technology (networks in particular) hasn’t gone much farther to create understanding, let alone ‘shared feelings’. This can become esoteric very quickly, so I’m interested more in areas where empathy creates value. This is the case for knowledge workers working in team environments, i.e. the majority of startups today.

So, what can software do to create empathy in a team environment? Breaking this down into sub-problems:

  • How can software help us understand each other and our personalities?
  • How can software help us resolve conflicts?
  • How can software help us become better listeners?
  • How can software help us express ourselves more authentically?

This is just the start. This is an area that I think we need to explore further. As software moves to higher order problems I imagine more problems of this nature coming to the surface.