Has Technology Married the Humanities?

by | Sep 24, 2019 | Uncategorized

Steve Jobs wasn’t really known for his poetic turns of phrase, but he had a few moments. One was when he famously said that tech wasn’t enough, that it must be the marriage of technology and humanities that would “make our hearts sing.” While that’s a nice sentiment, parents are still lining up to get their kids into the best STEM programs and ensure coding is one of their school courses. 

How the Humanities Are Crucial to the Tech Industry 

Despite our cultural anxiety about too many artists and writers in the world, Jobs’ vision seems to be holding up. Jobs would be proud, not just that humanities are such a part of the digital revolution but that the humanities are making the digital revolution better. Here’s why Jobs’ idea about the humanities is important – and there’s even data to back it up.

  • Writers are everything. As any company working toward improving their SEO can tell you, written content is still the best way to get Google’s crawlers to notice you. In the early days of the content marketing industry, anyone could type up a blog with keywords every few phrases and get noticed, but that kind of work will now get your site demoted. In fact, (despite claims to the contrary) better writing organically gets better rankings. 
  • Artists are everything else. Graphic design is what transforms a website from points of data to entertainment and use – the kind of use that converts site visitors to customers. Beyond that, art is crucial to how we engage not with the site, but with social media platforms. Instagram exists only for photographic art (and my teens’ selfies). Across the platforms, a photo that accompanies a post will get ten times more engagement than one without it. Create a video with live music, and watch engagement soar. 
  • Solutions Come from the Humanities. Technology education – from engineering to website design – is about solving problems by advancing technology. Without a study of problems and social issues, however, we may not even know what problems to solve. Without the empathy we get from reading books, studying cultures, and examining political science, technology is just cool stuff in a bubble. 

Make Room for the Arts

As we see the world turn to more digital technologies, from content marketing and web design to engineering and security analysts, don’t count out the artists, poets, and musicians. We need them to be working together with those in the tech field for the best outcomes. 

If we go back to Steve Jobs, remember that his first foray into the tech world was a failure. He was actually fired from Apple, which led him to purchase a little animation studio, Pixar. Technology alone isn’t the answer. It takes a partnership as strong as the most lasting marriage to make hearts sing, but to also make the technology we rely on function as it should and answer the needs of society. 

Encourage Your Kids to Sing, Dance and Draw

It’s okay to encourage your children toward paths that will lead to financial success, but keep in mind, there are many avenues to get there. Creativity – the kind that organically comes from sitting down in front of a blank piece of paper of holding an instrument – is just as important. It’s also a vital component to any future career. 

Alisa Hummell

Alisa Hummell

Alisa Hummell began her career teaching at Northern Michigan University but found she missed putting pen to paper. She began Better Content Matters with Christie Moll and Kimberlee Henry. Together, they were dedicated to covering a gap in marketing to include boutique writing services that helped clients with their SEO while crafting language that spoke to people – and not just bots. In the wake of AI, that need has grown ever more important.