Damon Horowitz, in-house philosopher at Google, piece From Technologist to Philosopher puts forth an interesting argument on “why [someone] should quit [their] technology job and get a Ph.D. in the humanities”.
The technology issues facing us today—issues of identity, communication, privacy, regulation—require a humanistic perspective if we are to deal with them adequately.
I see a humanities degree as nothing less than a rite of passage to intellectual adulthood. A way of evolving from a sophomoric wonderer and critic into a rounded, open, and engaged intellectual citizen. When you are no longer engaged only in optimizing your products—and you let go of the technotopian view—your world becomes larger, richer, more mysterious, more inviting. More human.
What is interesting about reading this piece is my ongoing concern that the humanities and the “soft skills” get a lot of paper talk but little actual traction in education.