In the Wizard of Oz tale, the Tin Man is in search of a heart to make himself more human. Our technology faces a similar challenge.

Not only has our intellectual capacity for invention shot way ahead of our physical and psychic need for the latest and greatest gadgetry, but most current technological advancement has little to do with what we care about most: connecting with ourselves and others in a meaningful, heart-felt way. It''s not just that we still can''t figure out how to program the VCR (now DVR), but you can''t get a hi-5 or a hug from one even when you have figured it out.

Our tech wizardry can help us see or talk to another person across the globe in real time, or shoot us into outer space, but does little to help us relate better to our loved ones. Nor does it console us in times of suffering, and offers us no great solutions to ending war after millennia of repeating our brutal mistakes.

Is it fair to suggest that technology, which is mostly an expression of our intellect, should offer more complete answers to the mysteries of the heart? No it is not. Just as it is not fair to blame technology, rather than ourselves, for making life too complicated - and for not spending enough time on things that really matter.

But perhaps it is fair to suggest that we have chosen to invest too little of our technological prowess in the affairs of the heart, and in so doing are missing out in such critical areas as emotional and personal development.

Imagine for a moment a technology-empowered world based on an enhanced human experience, not necessarily on efficiency. Imagine a tech world based not obsessed on promoting instant satisfaction, but on empowering human connection.

What if.

Computer systems were integrated with feelings and values tools instead of just commands and logic processes. What if I could log onto a ''self help'' device that could actively sense my mood and feelings and then suggest a way for me to deal with, for example, depression by choosing anything from changing the lighting in my house to connecting me with immediate counseling through a 911-style care line. What if sensors in my office could detect frustration or anger and would help me understand how others are experiencing my tone or meaning to facilitate better communication? What if instead of more powerful searches for facts and information, we could discover kindred spirits, emotional maturity, and kindness?

What if.

You could enhance your interactions with your neighbors and even the global community by belonging to a virtual ''Social Credit Union''? What if you could lend or borrow ''social credit'' with others in your local/global neighborhood in the form of time or expertise - and in that exchange connect with neighbors and their concerns directly? What if your wallet contained a ''social credit card'' connected to your online ''caring and sharing accounts'' which told you how much you contributed to (or borrowed from) your selected community each month? Would you feel differently looking at your social credit statement than at your regular credit card statement?

What if.

you could choose to experience with all of five senses a day in the life of an average family from a completely different socioeconomic background or different culture achieved through multi-sensory devices and without commercials and unfiltered by reality TV producers? A kind of dynamic, real time, interactive pen pal. Can''t we imagine the powerful sharing and dialogue that might occur if we developed the ability to virtually transport ourselves to the home of a middle class Iraqi family, visit an AIDS clinic in sub-Saharan Africa, or follow an immigrant day-laborer for an afternoon?

Whether these things are presently possible is not the point. The point is that these are examples of the possible in a world where we choose to put our hearts where our minds are. This does not mean that we should abandon the wonders that will emerge with breakthroughs in areas like stem cell research, nanotechnology, and space travel. But if we continue to just think and not feel the next big thing, we risk losing out on some of the profoundest possibilities that our humanity has to offer. The Tin Man knows the lesson only too well.

Paul Lamb is a founder of and the Principal of Man on a Mission He can be reached at