Here’s why technology-driven world needs humanities


In this article our young interns Shreya Mishra and Samhita Madhunapanthula share tell us why technology-driven world is in great need of Humanities.

Did you know that Universities these days have an undergraduate course for Digital Humanities? Why is it gaining so much prominence?

Humanities contribute largely to the production of ideas, which you don’t directly ‘see’. The most common known contribution from the Humanities has been known as a sort of ‘rebellion’ and the ‘thoughts out of the ordinary’. 

Ideas and people in power were brought down with thinkers, philosophers, and their mediums of expressions. All these years, eras have been changing under the influence of humanities. No other discipline but humanities had the need to explain its requirement and relevance. Why? This is because the other disciplines produced something that was somewhat ‘visible’, be it gadgets, apps, or healthcare. 

In this context, the roles that humanities plays are:

  • It helps you identify what are the existing issues, what issues to focus on and address with the help of technology. (ex: racism, food scarcity, accessibility to education, all were deep-rooted problems which weren’t easily identifiable). 
  • Morals, ethics, judgments: Science alone doesn’t define these. Science doesn’t tell you that what you’re doing is unethical. Humanities bring in ethics and morals. Science can tell you what is possible, Humanities tells you whether and why it is a good or bad idea for the people, society, and the environment.

Here’s why technology-driven world needs humanities

The moment you draw a line between technology and humanities, it limits our capability. Humanities can identify potential in something and give a direction to it. If a Humanities major knows the importance and capabilities of technology, and a STEM major knows the importance and contribution of humanities, that is when they can efficiently work together and innovate.

According to a Times of India article, those with a humanities background are seen to ‘understand the needs of customers better and have the capacity to help design more relevant software’.

To understand this better, let’s take Susan Wojkicki the CEO of Youtube as an example. She is a history and literature major, who did not have an interest in the technology field. She was involved in the founding of Google with Larry Page. Susan came up with the well-appreciated Google Doodle. She bought in digital marketing strategies like Adsense, Adwords, DoubleClick, and Analytics. She identified the potential of Youtube by realizing the impact of user-generated content and now it is worth over a billion dollars. 

Here’s why technology-driven world needs humanitiesGreat ideas and innovations come from people only from different walks of life, working together

Technology is evolving. Take Artificial Intelligence for instance. It is still context-dependent and is always changing. Humanities make someone capable of adaptive and flexible learning. We require creative and innovative thinkers to keep up with this change. 

Modern systems can be handled without actually having to code. The learning involved is far less complicated than what it once was. This is allowing companies to make complete use of an individual’s skills that can make a unique contribution whether they’re from the STEM background or not.

It’s easier to train someone who already has the ability to analyze what is relevant to the people, to make a software, rather than the other way around.

The growth of the software consulting agency, Bluewolf is a perfect example to understand this. As they were unable to solve an issue, they allowed a philosophy major, who wasn’t a programmer to look into it. He helped the client to see the problem in a new light and found the solution. Determined to replicate this success, the agency hired more people from the Humanities background. Now, in a top company of 1000 people, around 100 of them have a computer science or engineering degree.

Related Article: Myths vs Reality: Busting 5 myths about Humanities – Read More:

Though technology and humanities are seen differently, together they can create the unimaginable. Disciplines are now reconfiguring themselves in relation to each other. They are intertwined and it isn’t easy to distinctly divide them as the ‘Arts’ and ‘Science’. The taxonomy is becoming flexible. Technology and Humanities are like the two pedals of a bicycle, both required to move further, into development and success. 

Looking at the current trends, we can understand that the world is heading to that of where the lines between the humanities and sciences will be blurred. This means that the future will be favorable to those who have a Liberal arts degree, where one can develop a unique major for themselves. 

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