Bookmark: "Without the humanities, great tech cannot exist. Here's why"

Sebastian Greger


Tracy Chou starts off by quoting David Foster Wallace:

The most important education we can receive, Wallace goes on to explain, “isn’t really about the capacity to think, but rather about the choice of what to think about.”

Building on that, the text evolves into a reflection on how little technology education focuses on that latter part – the thinking beyond the technology itself. The text evolves around some anecdotes highlighting the lack of liberal arts and humanities in engineers training:

It worries me that so many of the builders of technology today are people like me; people haven’t spent anywhere near enough time thinking about these larger questions of what it is that we are building, and what the implications are for the world.

And she ends with a wish:

Each of us can choose to learn, to read, to talk to people, to travel, and to engage intellectually and ethically. I hope that we all do so—so that we can come to acknowledge the full complexity and wonder of the world we live in, and be thoughtful in designing the future of it.

Education as the choice of what to think about – this thought really is important. And, one should probably add, this entire phenomenon is maybe even worse in fields like web development where being “self-trained” is a common career entry path?

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

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