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Liberal Arts in the Data Age

Source |Hbr .org  |  BY:JM Olejarz

College students who major in the humanities always get asked a certain question. They’re asked it so often—and by so many people—that it should come printed on their diplomas. That question, posed by friends, career counselors, and family, is “What are you planning to do with your degree?” But it might as well be “What are the humanities good for?”

According to three new books, the answer is “Quite a lot.” From Silicon Valley to the Pentagon, people are beginning to realize that to effectively tackle today’s biggest

social and technological challenges, we need to think critically about their human context—something humanities graduates happen to be well trained to do. Call it the revenge of the film, history, and philosophy nerds.

In The Fuzzy and the Techie, venture capitalist Scott Hartley takes aim at the “false dichotomy” between the humanities and computer science. Some tech industry leaders have proclaimed that studying anything besides the STEM fields is a mistake if you want a job in the digital economy. Here’s a typical dictum, from Sun Microsystems cofounder Vinod Khosla: “Little of the material taught in Liberal Arts programs today is relevant to the future.”

Hartley believes that this STEM-only mindset is all wrong. The main problem is that it

Readon….

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