I chose to review The Daily Californian’s week-old “Tech & Ideas” issue because of its timeliness and its proximity to Cal students. Unfortunately, my review itself was not so timely and so you’re reading this after the 24-hour deadline.
But whatever time you read this, I think this special issue of the newspaper is relevant for our class as we think about not only the future humans, but also the human and the humanities.
First of all, the article “Google Glass review: I was a glasshole for a day (And yes, they made me look like a massive douchebag)” made me think immediately of Molly’s cybernetic eye implants in Neuromancer.
But more specifically for our class’ purposes of studying the relationship between the human and the humanities, another article talks about how the humanities are getting a makeover through the innovation of the digital library. Speaking of “the marriage of technology and the liberal arts,” otherwise dubbed the “digital humanities,” projects are in place to make books accessible online for researchers. The project also seems to aim to “update” the humanities, which is interesting for us to think about in relation to Snow’s argument of the two cultures of two different kinds of intellectuals. Do the “traditional intellectuals” need to be updated? The D-Lab digital library implies that we do, and I wouldn’t say that they would be wrong. But traditional intellectualism will not be “updated” just by translating books into digital media. Regardless of what form the books take, a scientific textbook is still going to be read mainly by scientists and The Odyssey is mainly going to be read by “traditional intellectuals.”
This leads to the overall optimistic view of the editors that the humanities and the sciences are already joined together at the hip in our tech-savvy society. Something I think we have to consider in light of “the Human and the Humanities” is a section that the editors have to offer us in their note: “The musician is a physicist; the writer is a mathematician; and the philosopher is an engineer.” The editors proclaim that Cal is this haven of interdisciplinary bliss. While I would love to sing the praises of our university, particularly on Big Game Day, I would argue that it’s a little more complicated than that. There are plenty of engineering students who still complain about humanities breadth requirements and humanities students who hate their science requirements.
If we truly want an integrated, “general” education, I don’t believe we are there yet.
Finally, just for fun, here’s a lovely story about human-alien interaction in the monstrous sense: http://thetangential.tumblr.com/post/66689259628/an-aliens-maid-of-honor-speech-for-her-human-best