Empathy Cannot Be Automated with Jenn Downs

July 1, 2015

Empathy Cannot Be Automated

Humans have been trying to automate tasks since the Industrial Revolution. Build faster, smarter, cheaper! Now in the age of the internet we’re trying to automate personalized content and customer relationships. And it’s not always working out.

Using technology to manage relationships isn’t a replacement for human to human contact. You still have to talk to people to develop empathy for your customers. You still have to treat people with respect and dignity. When people are reduced to just a number, a twitter handle, a “targeted segment”, or a blip on a chart, you run the risk of breaking good customer relationships.

This lack of empathy in automation can on occasion be humorous, so I’ll show you some automation fails (and some wins). I’ll help you explore how to let automation guide you and feed you information. I’ll also talk about when automation is useful versus when it’s time to write a good old fashion one to one email.

Jenn Downs is a UX Designer/Researcher and adores the web and what it can do for the world. She got her start in tech as MailChimp’s first hire and has now teamed up with the Atlanta photography/tech company ShootProof. Jenn has also been a mentor for Code for America and invented the slightly awkward, yet truly helpful, Laptop Hugging Method for remote mobile testing.

Outside of being a web nerd, Jenn owns and runs a carpentry business with her husband, dotes on her dog Dickie, is a songwriter, and plays bass in Atlanta bands The Sunset District, Superpill, The Downs, and a Misfits cover band called 30 Year Old Women from Mars.