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Exploring integrated development of technology and the humanities

Author  :  PAN YUEFEI and TONG WEI     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2019-06-24

Currently, how to face and address the issue of the integrated development of technology and the humanities has received increasing concern from academia.

Peng Qinglong, deputy dean of the School of Foreign Languages at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said that facing the boom of AI, genetic engineering and quantum technology, traditional research in the humanities and social sciences cannot adapt to the needs of social development. Therefore, carrying out cross-border, cross-disciplinary and cross-field studies and advancing the integrated development of technology and the humanities will help research better stay in tune with development trends. We need to proactively transform the over-specification of disciplines and the over-dissimilation between the natural sciences and the humanities and social sciences and fill the gaps between technology and the humanities.

Chao Gejin, a Member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that scholars in the humanities and social sciences are not opposed to science and technology, but hope that humanities studies and technological research could go hand in hand. We know that we should learn not only about the external world but about ourselves. More and more cases show that natural sciences affect the humanities and social sciences, while the exploration of the laws of the objective world needs to be inspired by the thought from the humanities and social sciences. Niu Weixing, a professor from the University of Science and Technology of China, said that in the course of human history, the relation between technology and the humanities has shown interdependency and conflict. On the one hand, technological progress produces a positive influence on human civilization. On the other hand, the differentiated development of technology and the humanities leads to misunderstanding and conflict between the two. Entering the 21st century, the widespread use of the internet, gene editing and AI has raised many new issues in terms of the relation between technology and the humanities. Scholars agree this must be dealt with.

Rong Yueming, director of the Institute of Literature under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said that science and technology needs the humanities and social sciences to provide a measure of value, ethical norms and a direction for human development. If technological innovation lacks humanistic concern, tough social issues will arise. We need to face the social conflicts and the challenges of morality while we enjoy the results of increased productivity and improved living conditions brought about by technological innovation. Thus in the new age of innovation-driven development, facing the infinite possibilities brought about by technological innovations, scholars in both science and technology and the humanities and social sciences must work hand in hand, advance the integrated development of technology and the humanities, and make the premises of all innovation people oriented. In this sense, technology and the humanities can be seen as a community of shared benefits.

Editor: Yu Hui

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