Have you watched the movies Edward Scissorhands, Wall-E and Big Hero 6? If you have, you might be nodding your head in agreement with this article's headline. And those who have not yet watched these wonderful movies, I highly encourage you to give them a try.
All these movies have one aspect in common - a robot capable of feeling human emotions.
I remember feeling the warmth and crying the first time I watched these movies, and still do while rewatching. These robots know love, respect, trust, empathy and compassion. They protect their loved ones from threats. They also weep, get angry, sad and heartbroken.
I assure you, these robots have portrayed themselves to be much better than us humans. Which is why lately I have been pondering about what has happened to us. Where is all our empathy and compassion?
Over the last year, the world has shifted dramatically and mostly not in a positive way. With the raging global pandemic capturing the spotlight, I strongly felt we will have more empathy and compassion amongst us.
However, we have witnessed all forms of negativity at its peak and the world has become more divided than before owing to inconsideration, violence, racism, hatred, discrimination, climatic and natural crisis and so on.
There have always been two groups of people - one that practices empathy and compassion while encouraging others to do the same; the other group is void of all the emotions.
We have seen people developing these emotional feelings from the void stage over the last year. Also, as global citizens, we have seen incidents occurring where people have lost more empathy and compassion for others and their surroundings. Or is it just me who feels this way? Do you feel you have not been receiving the empathy and compassion that you are seeking? Do you wonder why that might be?
In the last decade, we have seen a boom in digital and technological advancement and progressive social media platforms. However, with the progression in social media, we have also seen the loss of human connectivity, which is such an irony in itself.
I feel as if we have lost the humane aspect of being humans. Often these days, when a group of people get together, we mostly see them engaged with their mobile phones and electronic devices. They hardly engage in meaningful conversation with one another. They are busy scrolling through their newsfeed and talking about materialistic things instead of asking how the person sitting next to them is doing.
They keep themselves updated with what others are sharing, or "portraying" themselves as. They are indulged in taking selfies and pictures and posting them on social media while deciding on which filter to use. A heart-to-heart conversation seems to have become almost extinct.
We have become so bogged down in the rat race with our thirst and hunger to succeed and achieve certain standards, which have been instilled in us by society, that our mindset has become extremely one-tracked.
We have put on blinders like race horses and restlessly running and competing with others with our eyes fixated on the "trophies" - not bothered about what is happening in our surroundings as we continue to live satisfactorily inside our own bubbles, filling our minds with materialistic gains.
We are so concerned about materialistic possessions that the parameters of success and happiness have been translated to how much of these materialistic gains we have acquired.
All that being said, I personally do not put the entire blame on social media because transformation starts within oneself. There is ample amount of positive content on social media. What we choose to see, absorb and project is totally up to us.
If I say that humans have become emotionless due to social media, it will not be entirely true. What we do with access to information, source of knowledge and technology is up to us. Do we let it compartmentalise us, as we have been witnessing an uprising of technology? Or do we explore the vast network full of contents that will allow us to support and help one another?
I feel that the environment around us has become such that humans have turned into heartless machines. We are being operated by machine operators like in the production lines, hence treating one another as objects.
As long as we are of "use", we remain of great value. The moment we display any vulnerability, we are replaced by a new machine. As we are progressing with technology, especially artificial intelligence, I cannot help but wonder: Will a robot with a heart (human emotions and feelings) have more empathy and compassion than us humans today?
Maisha Binte Abdullah is a Human Resources professional with eight years of hands-on work experience in diverse sectors in both local and global organisations.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.