The Era of the Empath

Poppy Crum’s talk from April of this year discusses in 12 short minutes the possibilities inherent in a technology that can read and understand our ‘chemical signatures’; our biological tells.

It is rare in life for humans to fully or efficiently convey their feelings and emotions to one another. Often because they may not understand these themselves, and often because they perceive benefit in secrecy.

Using practical examples, Poppy demonstrates the ability of existing technology to tangibly recognise and even quantify otherwise covert emotions.

For her, these technologies open up a future of social cohesion, understanding and empathy. As we develop these techniques with the aid of artificial intelligence, we may use this biological knowledge to form rationale decision-making processes, for the benefit of everyone.

Whilst I understand these potentialities, technology is rarely uniformly positive. I find it bizarre to give a talk on bio-recognition technology, and the resulting data on one’s individual chemistry, without mentioning the extraordinary capacity for negative consequence.

Yes these technologies will create better understanding of the human condition, but we must be particularly careful to address the fundamental ethical concerns inherent in their creation, before we look to employ this information to mould a new era of the empath.

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