One of the uniquely human characteristics is empathy, our capability of projecting ourselves in the place of others, in order to gain insight in their perspective, and motivations. Without a high degree of empathy we wouldn’t see other human beings as such, but as basically animate objects, and many of our most basic guides which shape our actions would be profoundly impacted.
Empathy is based on many different clues, and can actually apply to animals too, but in its most complex forms it is mediated by our higher functions, especially language. Language, in its various forms, spoken, or written, is the basic, powerful projection of our thoughts. We can achieve enormous force multipliers through the shared understanding mediated by language. It is the foundation of our civilization.
An other, more implicit but not less important element of empathy is represented by the visual clues that observing somebody gives us. Their demeanor, the way they move, speak, or look at us, all convey a very nuanced, complex set of information, which we instinctively use to make very quick judgements of trust, dependability, and affinity.
Technology has enabled an enormous increase in communication through the centuries, and without the increased understanding and interconnectedness that we gained, our global civilization could not exist.
Combining the two elements that I listed above, one can see where the enormous power of online video comes from: whether it is a conference, a lecture, a political speech, a product tutorial, the description of a social cause, or any other form of spoken communication, Internet video uses language, and visual elements, projected on a global level to arbitrarily large audiences.
Making sure that online video can be understood by everybody, and used at its maximum potential is a fundamental enabler of empathy, a new building block of our complex, technological civilization.
This is the reason why I am so thrilled, excited, and proud to have been appointed the CEO of dotSUB, the leading technology and services provider powering video viewing via captions and translations as subtitles in any language, based in New York City. Founded by Michael Smolens, dotSUB increases access, engagement and global reach of online videos. dotSUB’s Enterprise Solutions are easy, fast and cost-effective, and its clients include Adobe, Bank of America, Electronic Arts, GE, NHL Players Association, The Port Authority of NY/NJ, US Army, TED and WETA (PBS).