Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Can the Humanities Contribute Anything to the Modern World? by Jason Baxter

technology-vs-humanity jason baxter

There seems to be very little cultural space for humanistic studies. It is difficult to perceive how literature, philosophy, or theology could contribute to technological capitalism…

I would like you to imagine the following situation: Sometime after graduation a college student is hired as an intern at his university’s newly founded Center for Leadership Studies (CLS, it would no doubt be called). Within the first year of the internship, the CLS wins a major grant to host an international symposium, and the new graduate is asked to undertake the research needed to create the invitation list for the symposium. The goal is to invite leaders from all across the world, both from developed and developing countries, to identify and discuss the world’s most important problems, as well as develop innovative solutions. When our undergraduate sits down at the first planning meeting, what kinds of questions do you think will be brought up as particularly in need of solving: poverty, hunger, questions about infrastructure, women’s rights, disease, elementary education, and perhaps questions about technology, environmental issues, and extending the internet to the whole world, right? And what about the guest list? What kinds of people will be suggested as good candidates for the CLS’s Global Leadership Conference: influential politicians from the developing world, biologists, doctors experienced in fieldwork, medical researchers, experts on technology, computer scientists who deal with big data, engineers, and some creative business leaders, right?

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