Steve Jobs was famous for recognizing the limits of technology despite having the most successful technology company on the planet. In order for technology to inspire rather than solve mundane problems, said Jobs, it must be infused with the liberal arts and humanities. Today his perspective is echoed by an increasing number of tech CEOs. To them, a liberal arts degree teaches individuals how to live and thrive in uncertain environments. While ambiguity and shades of gray tend not fit the paradigm of technological solutions, they represent the arts’ most powerful capabilities: to express life with all its complexities.
“Stephen Yi, CEO of web advertising platformMedia Alpha, says that the liberal arts train students to thrive in subjectivity and ambiguity, a necessary skill in the tech world where few things are black and white. ‘In the dynamic environment of the technology sector, there is not typically one right answer when you make decisions,’ he says. ‘There are just different shades of how correct you might be,’he says.”
Perhaps most importantly, a liberal arts education allows individuals to think about technology in a fundamentally different way. While the complexity of contemporary technology can easily orient people into a problem-solution mindset, a broader approach can emphasize the human element, i.e. how people integrate technology into their lives to realize their own values.
In his Big Think interview, Ray Kurzweil argues that many qualities emphasized in the liberal arts, like having a thirst for knowledge and pursuing information for pleasure are essential to encouraging a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Read more at Fast Company
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