I’d like to share with you an event that today’s advanced technology might lead us to. Two cars crashed and went off the bridge and sank into the river. In one car there was a man; in another a little girl and her mother. The emergency response team sent a highly modernized robot to the scene of the accident. After a brief calculation through medical data analysis, the robot found out that the man was more likely to be brought back to life than the girl and her mother, so it saved the man instead of the girl and her mother who later died. This was a strictly technological decision, without any regards to humanistic concerns.
In today’s technologically advanced world, science has taken a leading role, while humanism has taken a backseat. Science has overshadowed the sense of humanism in terms of moral ethics, and this can lead to disastrous impact.
A positive example that combined technology and humanism is Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. When in college, he took a calligraphy course, which was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can not capture. Ten years later, when he was designing the first Macintosh computer, he put it all into the Mac, which was the first computer with beautiful typography. Imagine, if the role of humanism wasn’t paid much attention to, personal computers might not have the beautiful typography that they do today. So in consequence, the most important aspect of humanism, as far as I am concerned is that it helps you to be creative, artistic and innovative, which is of great significance in today’s technologically advanced world.
Now, humanism helps you to see things in a less constrained space than science does. Our economy is built upon convergent thinkers, people that execute things and get them done. But humanists are divergent thinkers, they expand the horizon of possibilities. Super innovation comes from bringing divergence and convergence together. From Da Vinci to Bertrand Russell, we would never fail to experience the perfect combination of humanism as well as science and technology.
Nowadays, more and more have come to believe that too stark a distinction is drawn between technology and humanism. And it is my belief that scientists need a humanistic attitude in their professional lives in order to invent and innovate.
In today’s technologically advanced world, we've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We've conquered outer space, but not inner space. Such phenomena call for a necessity to enhance our spirit of humanism, as was once in Renaissance Period. Call it a Modern Humanistic Renaissance.