Empathy in the Time of Technology: How Storytelling is the Key to Empathy

Journal of Evolution and Technology (Hartford, CT), – Vol. 19 Issue 1 – September 2008 – pgs 51-61



Will the transhuman technologies that our accelerating future promises enable us to increase our empathy to others? Or will their use decrease our ability to understand ‘the other’ that exists outside our own selves, families, communities and cultures?

As the world grows smaller and more connected, humans will grow ever more divergent because of their possession – or not – of a multitude of transhuman technologies, and so the role of empathy grows larger and more important than ever.

In theory, sensory/media input stimulates mirror neurons, which enable empathy. Practically, empathy is created through storytelling, which is not only the most successful remote means of creating social empathy, but has actually been the engine of social/cultural liberalization and change.

Both the positive and negative affects on empathy through the increasing reliance we have on transhuman media technologies will be demonstrated as well as the belief that storytelling is the key to empathy creation.


Subjects Covered: digital storytelling, education

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