Chicago Art Institute (do not remember the artist)

Some variation of this question has been bouncing around for many years and I think it is a question worth exploring. I started rethinking the question because I got to see some really intriguing tech recently and as soon as the demo was over the first thing that popped into my head was “Wow, this amazing!” quickly followed by “This might be really easy to abuse!”.

I think the assumption embedded in the title question is that the study of humanities promotes empathy and historical context, somehow, and it also assumes that some of techs major problems are due to a lack of empathy.

The obvious counter question for me is do college humanities classes imbue us with empathy or do people with empathy naturally gravitate toward the humanities and away from tech?

Did the railroad or oil barons have enough influence from the humanities? What about Wall Street? I would answer no and so a more revealing statement might be that every powerful industry needs a healthy dose of social sciences and history to offset our hubris.

That said I understand that Facebook’s CEO studied Psychology as well as Computer Science and that particular company seems to appropriately shouldering the lion share of the current critical analysis.