Empathy Cannot Be Automated with Jenn Downs

  • 04 Feb 2016
  • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Full Frame Theater, American Tobacco Campus, Durham, NC
  • 5


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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, so I’ll show you some automation fails (and some wins). We'll also look at ways that automation is starting to seep into high paying and creative jobs and what that means for UX. 



About Jenn

Jenn Downs adores the web and what it can do for the world. She got her start in tech as MailChimp's first support rep and grew from there to rocking UX Research. Jenn is now working at Careerbuilder as a Senior Interaction Designer. 

Jenn has been a mentor for Code for America and invented the slightly awkward, yet truly helpful, Laptop Hugging Method for remote mobile testing.

Outside of being a web nerd, Jenn owns and runs a carpentry business with her husband, dotes on her dog Dickie, is a songwriter, drummer and bassist in bands around Atlanta. 


6:00pm-6:45pm: Light dinner and networking
6:45pm-7:45pm: Talk
7:45pm-8:00pm: Q&A


Full Frame Theater is located in the heart of the American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham. Parking is available in either the north or south deck parking lots at no charge. For directions and parking information visit:


This event is presented by Triangle UXPA, Duke Web Services, and Ladies that UX Durham.

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