Title: How to use empathy in design without killing millions of women
Context: Empathy is neither good nor bad, it is in the eye of the beholder.
Synopsis: Traditionally, empathy gets a pretty good rap. If you are empathetic, you are able to relate to people, and put yourself in their shoes. The follow-on assumption being that once you’ve walked that mile, you develop a newfound appreciation for the individual’s circumstance and can then relate, on an emotional level in order to act accordingly, presumably in an appropriately sympathetic manner. What if, however, instead of using the power of empathy for good, one were to leverage it in the service of evil? You still walk a mile in the person’s shoes, but instead of trying to alleviate their pain with your fresh perspective, you compound it because once you know someone’s weakness, the Machiavellian thing to do is of course exploit it for personal gain. But of course, we are designers and not devious manipulators of the downtrodden. We choose to use our powers for good. We make the world a better place. We help people. Now run along and check your mobile for the umpteenth time today to see if anyone has finally liked your latest Facebook post yet. Bastards.
Best Bit: “In short, empathy is a predatory tool. When we understand and can predict the action of another we can use that to our advantage.”

via medium.com/fluxx-studio-notes