The World Needs More "Anti-Disciplinaries"

The world has a lot of is deep areas of expertise; what the world lacks today is agility and context. 

A lot of the different departments are encouraged to work together at MIT, but each department is relatively focused on going very deep in particular areas, like computer science or radio, whereas the Media Lab is very multi-disciplinary in a different way in that we have only one of every kind of faculty.  

We have one economist, one craftsperson, one person working on Opera, and they work together to build things.  And we’re actually using a word recently in our new faculty search called, “anti-disciplinaries.”  

There’s interdisciplinary, which is kind of several departments working with each other across disciplines.  There’s multi-disciplinary, which is several disciplines working together and there’s anti-disciplinary, which is, I think, a little bit more aggressive in sort of discarding the notion that you should focus on any particular discipline. 

I think for us what is essential is that we go deep enough so that we can connect with those peers in that area of expertise or that discipline, but that we can then take that and put it in the context of the rest of the world.  Because I think that what the world has a lot of is deep areas of expertise; what the world lacks today is agility and context. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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