The Future of Relationships with Nipun Mehta

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The Future of Relationships with Nipun Mehta

The Hall

A Weekly Lecture on creatively holding the tension between Artificial Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence.


On the relational spectrum of weak ties and deep bonds, our global center of gravity is around weak ties - one in five adults has no one they can count on for help; 330 million adults go at least two weeks without speaking to a single friend or family member; two billion people are so unhappy where they live that they wouldn't recommend their community to anyone they know. Such a context not only lends itself to vicious cycles of polarization, but also gives rise to market-driven technologies that reinforce such a status quo. Just as social media has hacked our attention, AI is now poised to disrupt our intimacy. Rather than charting a seductive escape into the virtual worlds of a meta-verse, can we imagine a better party? A "metta-verse," perhaps (metta is the Sanskrit word for loving-kindness). Instead of resigning ourselves to the messiness of human relationships, can we expand our threshold of equanimity, get creative about how we use each person's gifts, and build systems that are regenerated by intrinsic motivations?
Nipun Mehta shares his 25 years of experience as the founder of ServiceSpace, an "incubator of compassionate action" that has worked with millions of people to push the boundaries of these uncommon questions. What started with a few college kids in Silicon Valley helping build websites for nonprofits has now mushroomed into projects ranging from a platform that publishes good news, to a restaurant where everyone pays for each other, to teacherless meditation circles around the world - to, most recently, pioneering powerful applications of AI.


Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace, a grassroots volunteer gift economy network inspired by the life and principles of Mahatma Gandhi. He was honored as an "unsung hero of compassion" by the Dalai Lama, shortly before former U.S. President Obama appointed him to a council to address poverty and inequality in the United States.

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