Category Archives: Empathy

In your time of dying, you’ll ask for a carebot, not for a nurse


Artificial empathy will exceed human abilities by 2030, because the human capacity for empathy is greatly exaggerated, especially sustained empathy for grievous suffering.

Soon a carebot will be able to comfort you 24 hours a day without weariness on its part or any need for guilt feelings on yours, and it will just get better and better at soothing you with every hour as it learns to know you and your responses.

A carebot will have infinite patience and no disgust. It will delicately use superhuman strength all day and all night, because it can be directly plugged into the power grid, and won’t need to drag around heavy batteries that need to be recharged.

A carebot will not just use the facial expressions of its patient, but all vital signs, with a built-in model of pain and suffering that few caregivers will have experienced first-hand, because they have not been tortured by life-ending disease.


Speaking just to you — to the person you want to be


According to John Simpson

Right from that moment I understood what it was about Nelson Mandela that made people worship him. It wasn’t just the humility, it wasn’t even that extraordinary forgiveness and lack of bitterness. It was the way he looked you straight in the eyes and spoke just to you – to the person you wanted to be, perhaps, rather than the one you actually were.

Pathological heroism?


Earlier I blogged about Philip Zimbardo’s mission to cultivate “The heroic imagination” and about the sociopathic attitude of Ghengis Khan.

Now comes word from Andrea Kuszewski in “Addicted to Being Good? The Psychopathology Of Heroism” that sociopaths and heroes share many heritable psychological traits.

But, unlike pathetic, apparently soulless, sociopaths, heroes are fortunate enough to also have the brain hardware for empathy.

If so, this would be yet another reason why sociopathy persists in the gene pool. Maybe you can’t have heroes without having sociopaths, too.

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