Technology and Compassion

Technology has forever changed the concept of human interaction. We can no longer comment on a book someone's reading without having to admit we were peeking at his or her Kindle screen. We find ourselves checking our emails when alone at a bar as opposed to starting conversations with strangers. At my office, people who sit right next to each other are using online messages to interact rather than just speaking. So how does this affect human compassion?

We hesitate to give change to homeless people.
I generally give change to the homeless. At the end of the day, I would like to believe that my dollar would go further for someone else than it would for me. However, some would disagree and believe that charity can be better served elsewhere. Support for cancer research, tsunami relief and other causes constantly show up on my social media newsfeed. It would seem as if some care more for the nameless recipients of our online donations than for the people we actually see living out of cardboard boxes on the street. Perhaps it's because people are driven more by the recognition they receive when they post about what charity they're currently supporting than the actual act of helping someone. Whether or not that's true, I can't say. I would like to believe that altruism still exists. What I have noticed, unfortunately, is that people are more willing to trust a corporate entity with our money than an actual human being. But why's that?

People no longer have real-life conversations.
New York City has a population of over 8 million people who are more focused on what happens on their mobile device than what's going on around them. People are texting and messaging more than ever. Why else would a company like Facebook, whose mission is to empower people from all over the world to share and connect, spend a vast sum of money to purchase a mobile messaging app like WhatsApp? People are more willing to interact digitally than in real life. Are we too dependent on technology?

Computers dictate human compatibility.
We've resorted to online dating sites to filter out people whom we may not be compatible with. Powered by metrics and proprietary algorithms, these sites promise real relationships and deeper connections to other people. Is it not ironic that we now believe that we're more likely to find true love online than in person? I often find myself lacking the time and energy to meet new people, so I too have tried online dating. What I did realize, however, is that we've become so dependent on technology that we're becoming less human than ever before. My goal is to change that.

Let's have a chat.
I can no longer remember when was the last time I had decided to call someone for a conversation. Most of my remote interactions are done via text messages, emails and online messaging platforms. I hate to say it, but sometimes it's just quicker and easier to use an emoticon than to actually say the words it represents. Compassion is quickly disappearing behind these false representatives of human emotion. We can still change that. Try having a real conversation with someone. My goal is to try calling someone rather than emailing. Who knows, maybe it might make a difference in their day. Isn't that what human compassion is really about? ☺

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