May 13, 2020
Guna Nadarajan, Dean of the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, co-authored an article for CNA, a global news organization based in Singapore.
In “Arts and humanities can set you up for life in post-coronavirus world,” Nadarajan and his co-authors Linda Lim and Jesse Yang explore the ways that arts and humanities are creating the “human heart” behind the advancement of artificial intelligence, automation, and digital experience technologies — areas of industry that are expected to accelerate in response to COVID-19.
The authors examine human-machine partnerships in a number of areas including automated vehicles, economics, business, entertainment, and interpreting consumer behavior. They also share how college degrees in the arts and humanities prepare students to make meaningful contributions to these areas and enjoy healthy, future-forward careers.
According to the authors, degrees in the arts and humanities equip students to tackle the ten essential skills for business success identified by the World Economic Forum in 2016: “complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making, service orientation, negotiation skills and cognitive flexibility.”
The article also identifies a number of successful STEAMM (Science, Technology, Education, Arts, Math, Medicine) educational models, including the University of Michigan’s Integrated Product Development course jointly taught by professors from the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and the Ross School of Business.
To advance in technology, which requires human engagement, we need to also advance in the arts and humanities. Transition to a post-COVID-19 world more heavily dependent on technology, and more aware of both the shortcomings and potentials of human society under crisis, is a good time to do this.