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Why humanities are essential in a technology-dominated world | India News

Vaseline 2 months ago

The humanities once formed the core of the university. Exposure to art, literature, history, religion and philosophy were not fringe pursuits, they were the essence of a true education.

Even in a world that values ​​science, technology, mathematics and engineering, the value of broad and humane education is becoming increasingly clear. “Employers say they are mainly looking for writing skills,” said Robert D. Newman, president of the National Humanities Center in North Carolina, who is visiting India. The humanities are important not just as a tool – a skill in a corporate career – they are important because they encourage deeper contemplation, “and there is no contradiction between the two,” he said.

Founded in 1978, the Center is a hub for multidisciplinary humanities research, modeled on the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton. It offers highly selective fellowships to scientists working on “groundbreaking, world-changing” issues, Newman says. Many of them have won academic awards, National Book Awards, and Pulitzer Prizes for work facilitated by the Center. And for the first time in the institute’s history, the president is visiting India to encourage applications and find a scholar who can both contribute to the institute and build bridges with the humanities community here. He emphasized the need for a diversity of experiences to enrich science. He was joined by the Center’s vice chairman, Rishi Jaitly, a leading technology executive with a passion for the humanities who also created an executive leadership program at Virginia Tech built around history, philosophy, literature, religion and the arts. They visited Indian campuses such as IIT Bombay, Ashoka University and Delhi University.

The humanities-oriented fuzzies are as important as the techies, Jaitly said, drawing on his own experience in the tech industry. It’s about being a “full-stack human,” he said, who can use many types of intelligence to solve a problem or understand a situation holistically. ‘Education that stimulates meaning’ is a window on the world. “A more conscious and other-centered” approach, the ability to tell a story, are also crucial workplace skills, he said. The humanities also make for agile, lifelong learners, who can keep up as the discourse shifts in recent years from Web 2 to Web 3 to generative AI now and possibly quantum technology or gene editing in the future, he said. At a time when campuses are political battlegrounds and the humanities are singled out for being too political, Newman vigorously defended their role of critique and free inquiry. “That’s what they need to do: question the status quo. They ask questions, and anyone who calls that politically motivated has their own political agenda. The humanities are meant to encourage multiple perspectives, conservative or liberal – there is no set agenda,” he said.