How Can We Be More Empathetic?
Google dictionary defines empathy as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” While this may sound obvious to some, there are an overwhelming number of people who actually don’t know what empathy is. Despite being talked about frequently the concept of empathy can be difficult to grasp or hard to know how to practice. It is something people tend to do intrinsically to some extent with those close to them, like with family. Therefore, it is important to introduce this in other environments.
Design Thinking Can Help
David M. Kelley, the founder of IDEO consultancy, conceived of “Design thinking” as a discipline. The basic premise of this process is to begin with empathy for the end user. For us, the primary individuals we set out to protect are students & educators. By learning about what makes people actually feel safe and cared for, we have been able to develop a technology that can protect people effectively. More educational programs for children are introducing the methodology of design thinking now.
“Wicked problems,” are a concept within the context of design thinking. Wicked problems in a design thinking context refer to those especially “tricky” problems that can also be hard to define. They do not necessarily refer to “wicked” meaning “evil,” though in the case of school shootings that definition surely applies as well. While creating a sense of safety & security in schools seems obvious, the actual root cause of the problem often gets missed.
Extreme Measures Can Create More Anxiety
Beginning with empathic thinking gave us insight into the common problems caused by certain proposed solutions. Having armed personnel on school premises may be a preventative measure. However, this still misses the empathic insight. Metal detectors are effective at determining whether or not a person has a gun in their possession. However, both of these options actually induce more anxiety in students & educators. Think for yourself. Would you want to enter a building every day with these kinds of security measures?
Would they make you feel more safe or uneasy?
Even adding more cameras can give people an undo sense of panic. By providing a solution to strengthen the power of already existing camera technology, we are able to increase security, add a layer of safety, and avoid increasing the level of anxiety people feel in a location that should be filled with joy & wonder.
On February 14, 2018, a former student entered a Parkland, Fla., high school with an AR-15 rifle, killing 17 people and wounding 17 others. A year later, students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School continue to search for a sense of normal. Young activists from Parkland have launched a national movement, and policymakers around the country continue to scrutinize the details of the attack, searching for ways to make schools safer. Education Week asked those involved in conversations about safety, guns, and youth engagement how Parkland has changed the debate. And we asked those directly affected by the shooting how it continues to shape their lives.
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At the 19th-floor co-working space in Philly, ZeroEyes is raising money and aiming to partner with the Philadelphia School District. Started by a group of former SEALs, Zero Eyes is developing an artificial-intelligence product aimed at alerting first responders in school shootings.
“ZeroEyes is an intelligent video analytics company. Powered by AI, our technology can detect weapons and recognize faces in real time,” said Rob Huberty, ZeroEyes’ executive vice president for schools. “Once weapons or persons of interest are in view of camera, our platform sends alerts that lock doors and provides first responders the description and location of threat.”
Why set up at WeWork? The space was free — at least for a period of the residency.
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Bunker Labs: Tell us a little about your background.
Mike Lahiff: I grew up in the Philly area, graduated from Bishop McDevitt High School in ’99, then I went to Slippery Rock University. I’d always been fascinated with the military since a young age, particularly with the Navy SEALs. After 9/11 happened, I joined the Navy and made my goal to become a SEAL. I was in the Navy for ten and a half years, deployed in multiple places and spent a lot of time overseas.
After ten years, I decided to retire from the Navy because I had a family at home that I didn’t get to see very much. I was interested in studying business, so I applied to Wharton at Penn and was fortunate enough to get accepted. I worked at Comcast as the Director of Digital Program Management before joining ZeroEyes.
BL: What is ZeroEyes, and what do they do?
ML: The company was founded two years ago by Al Shore, also a Navy veteran. Al came up with this idea to use artificial intelligence to connect pieces of data to process images and videos.
The company was still in ideation stage when I was brought onboard in the spring of 2018. A friend of mine from SEAL training who was working with ZeroEyes called me and told me to check out the company. I saw a lot of potential for the software to be trained to recognize weaponry, to be used in schools and public places as another layer of security.
Read Full Interview Here.