Jenn Downs

Senior UX Designer at Deluxe / Atlanta, GA, United States

Empathy Cannot be Automated

Humans have been trying to automate tasks since the beginning of time; it's part of our evolution. Build faster, smarter, cheaper so we can sit back and watch the productivity! Now in the age of the internet we’re trying to automate personalized content and customer relationships. And it’s not always working out.

Using technology to manage relationships isn't a replacement for human to human contact. You still have to talk to people to develop empathy for your customers. You still have to treat people with respect and dignity. When people are reduced to just a number, a twitter handle, a "targeted segment", or a blip on a chart, you run the risk of breaking good customer relationships.

This lack of empathy in automation can be horrible or it can be humorous. I’ll show you some automation fails and show you some examples of people automating for good. We’ll talk about how automation is starting to affect our creative lives. Then we’ll wrap with really considering why we automate at all.

Jenn is a UX Designer and adores the web and what it can do for the world. She got her start in the tech field as MailChimp's first support rep, and has since settled into the role of Senior UX Designer at Deluxe — one of the two largest check printers in the United States. Currently, Jenn is a mentor for Code for America and invented the slightly awkward, yet helpful, Laptop Hugging Method for remote mobile testing.

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