“Facing the Empathy Deficit,” a talk about mindful technology by Pitzer College alumnus Ari Saperstein ’15, was recently posted on the TEDxTalks website. In 2014, Saperstein was the first Pitzer student to win the TEDxClaremontColleges’ Student Speaker Competition, which guaranteed him a spot to speak at the 2015 TEDx conference in March.
Saperstein’s 16-minute speech focuses on the impact social media has on emotional intelligence and human behavior. He shared his observations on the importance of social media and technology with personal reflections from his past. In telling his own story about hurt and forgiveness that spans a decade, he illustrates the importance of empathy.
Saperstein shares a shocking statistic: “College students today do half as well on tests that measure empathy than students did 30 years ago.” Saperstein explains that this statistic stems from his generation’s addition to technology addiction and the way social media allows people to “photoshop our lives.”
“This technology, which is ostensibly about connection, might be the source of our growing disconnection,” he says.
He ends by saying that his intentions were not to give an “anti-technology talk” but rather to encourage “mindful technology” use. “When we use technology mindfully, we can mend bridges and come together,” he says.
Ari Saperstein graduated with a combined major in Media Studies and Studio Art. While at Pitzer, Saperstein hosted a weekly radio show on KSPC 88.7, worked as a research assistant at the National Science Foundation and with the Linguistics field group at Pitzer and volunteered at Camp Afflerbaugh-Paige, a juvenile probation camp. His interactive performance piece, “I Know I Was There, But I’m Not Really Sure What Happened,” was part of NINE, the 2015 senior art show held this spring.
Originally from Washington DC, Saperstein now works at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado.
–Alegria Martinez ’18