Experiential Empathy


Expanding empathy to accelerate the advancement of humanity

Our ability to connect with one another on a deep, emotional level has kept our species alive for tens of thousands of generations and has enabled us to solve our greatest challenges together. However, social climate data show that we are living in an era of "deep empathy deficit" (Barack Obama). Empathy allows us to recognize ourselves in the other and to broaden our sense of "we". The Experiential Empathy XPRIZE aims to scale the untapped potential of empathy to empower individuals to address humanity's shared challenges.

Empathy is transformational because it kickstarts the motivation to care for and help others -- it is the engine that drives social impact. Pioneering evidence-based studies in cyberpsychology and cognitive neuroscience have demonstrated that emergent technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence can enhance empathy in a variety of lab contexts. Now imagine if we crowdsource the creative wisdom of the world and leverage exponential technologies' potential to develop empathy for the pressing issues that the United Nations has put on humanity's agenda for 2030: the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Through this competition, we will address the ultimate goal: the sustainable development of empathy for all humans and life forms on our planet that are impacted by the SDGs.

Gene Roddenberry built Star Trek's United Federation of Planets upon the foundation of the United Nations – today our mission is to bridge the gap between fiction and reality and make Gene Roddenberry's vision of humanity as an empathetic, unified and cooperative species come to life.

“To address our world's 'empathy deficit' (Barack Obama), we need to find ways for individuals and communities to understand and care about others whose beliefs, values or language might be different from their own -- so that we embrace humanity's global challenges together.”



Forecasts predict that in the years to come, exponential technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence will revolutionize the way humans interact with one another. In 2016, we are positioned just before the “knee” in the exponential growth curve of these technologies — the timing is ripe for this XPRIZE. This competition will build a powerful narrative that these technologies should be used not just for commerce and entertainment, but also to build a better, more empathetic world. The Experiential Empathy XPRIZE incentivizes interdisciplinary collaboration between artists, technologists and scientists to unleash the transformative power of these experiential technologies to serve the common good on a global scale.

More on Experiential Empathy

Prize Sponsor

The Roddenberry philosophy – valuing diversity, inclusivity and respect for every life form – is driven by a belief in humanity’s potential for empathic understanding. The Foundation puts this belief into action by supporting innovative solutions to our most pressing global problems.

Dave Kebo SPOCK

Heather Eaton XPRIZE Fellow

Heidi Roddenberry Sponsor Resource

Rod Roddenberry Sponsor Resource