Can augmented reality enhance our sense of empathy?

I’m in.

ideas.ted.com

In Chris Kluwe’s TED Talk, the former NFL punter shares his excitement that augmented reality will soon be everywhere. He focuses on the role it will play in sports, particularly for fans who want to experience the action in the shoes of their favorite players. That’ll be very profitable for the sports entertainment industry — but is that all it’s good for? Toward the end of his talk Kluwe makes a call for a grander application of the technology: more empathy. Says Kluwe, augmented reality will allow us to experience new perspectives, “by literally showing someone what it looks like to walk a mile in another person’s shoes.”

Empathy is a loaded word, one that’s overused in our hyperconnected times. And, as neuroscientist Simon Baron-Cohen and other researchers have shown, there are actually two distinct kinds of empathy. “Cognitive empathy” is the “ability to imagine someone else’s thoughts and…

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