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How Nice Are We – Really?

It’s pretty clear why the YouTube video of the person flying with his mountain bike over the side of the cliff and landing safely has received millions of hits.

When many of us walk by a homeless person, we pretend not to see them. However, millions of these same people also watch tearjerker videos featuring acts of human kindness, such as a child sharing a cookie with a homeless person or someone on the train giving away his shirt. Why do we watch those? Why don’t those videos inspire more of us to act? How can they be tweaked to do so?

We’ve all heard the hype about artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, etc., but what are the implications for humanity in this regard?

So, the https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtH9Yllzjcc video of the cats and dogs published in November 2017 has received 59,293,420 (at the time of this writing) views.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vahi77oOsK4 is a video called “10 Incredible Acts of Kindness Caught On Camera,” posted in March of 2017. It has received 10,425,860 views (as of this writing).

Here’s where human kindness and technology can intersect.

A comprehensive machine / deep learning system can analyze both the video technically – camera angles, location, sounds, length of shots, telephoto or wide-angle shots – and the activities within the video – the animals’ and the people’s actions – to determine the reaction of the viewers. As YouTube is a Google company, those findings can be laid over millions of other data points, such as users’ location, approximate income levels, philanthropic organizations in those areas, and more.

The analysis of the amalgamation of this data could result in many different potential results

  • Measurement of the direct effect of watching these videos on philanthropy in a person’s area
  • Analysis of the specific acts of kindness that directly inspire people to be more kind
  • The “formula” for creating videos that inspire specific actions
  • Algorithms that directly measure human kindness, which can be integrated across all manners of communications and technology to drive more positive effects on the world around us.
  • Why animal videos are so !@%!$^ popular

It isn’t that technology will make us nicer individually. What technology can give, though, is the ability to inspire us more effectively to be kind overall.