Whether it’s the current famine and death of thousands of Yemenis or the future threats of run away AI, I am constantly struck by our societal inability to empathize with current and future lives. This inability to empathize with populations greater than one is a phenomenon documented in behavioral psychology and is a product of our brain’s evolution and the high cognitive capacity it takes to imagine the individuals behind the statistics.
I am specifically concerned with climate change—along with other problems on the near horizon like AI—that will affect many current and future lives. In my professional and scientific capacities I have come to see our societal inability to imagine the human suffering of climate change as our biggest barrier to creating a sense of global urgency to create political pressure to stem planetary warming.
I personally believe in the power of storytelling and feel that there is a great dearth of story telling—of individual suffering and stories of hope—around climate change which is what’s inspiring me to start a personal narrative initiative in the US.
Very aware that the EA community spend so much time contemplating future catastrophes and ways to prevent such disasters, I am wondering if individuals on this forum can point me to any books/podcasts/articles/forums about methods for getting people to see the human impact of an issue and tackling our mental and societal pitfalls of dehumanization .
Thanks so much,