Feel me: Digital Compassion 02

Launched on 12 December, Digital Compassion 02 is a digital film project with a difference, and a heart. Featuring the works of 6 professional film-makers and graphic design teams, CheeK, Amir Muhammad, :phunk studio, Wee Li Lin, Galen Yeo and fFurious, the project comprises a series of Digital Video short films aimed at asking, "What is compassion in the digital age?"

the2ndrule speaks to Shannon Low from the DC02 team.

t2r: What is Digital Compassion?

Shannon: "Digital Compassion" is a series of projects based on the theme of "Compassion for a Digital World". We're not trying to tell people what "Digital Compassion" is, but rather to ask people what "Digital Compassion" can mean, and how we can use digital technology to help those in need. Ultimately, we hope to give people ideas about using technology to help others.

t2r: Do you think technology and compassion are incompatible?

Shannon: Technology is what we make of it - depending on what we create, and how we use what we create. Most people consider the concept of digital technology to be cold, hard and de-humanising, reducing persons and relationships to numbers and data. But what really matters is how we apply that technology to our existing problems.

t2r: What's the difference between digital compassion and embracing more traditional means?

Shannon: If, for example, a group of marginalised or less fortunate people - people in need - is like a tree, then "embracing traditional means" is like hugging a tree to keep it from being cut down. Someone has to do it - put their lives in the way of an impending problem, and take measures to resolve it. In that case, "Digital Compassion" is like undertaking an online campaign with real-time web coverage of the tree as the chainsaws and bulldozers approach, and linking to various groups of people who can help, to get more people to rally behind (or in front of) the tree. In the end, people still have to stand in front of the tree, and the goal is the same - we want to make sure that the tree has a chance to grow. The intention is the same, it's just another way of doing it.

t2r: So is there hope?

Shannon: There's always hope. What's important is to decide what it is we want to do with technology, how we want to use it - in ways that benefit people, including those in need, or in ways that may divide, or threaten the lives and livelihoods of others Ultimately, the technology shouldn't define the goal - just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should do it, or build the means to do it - but the goal should define the technology.