KKU Research Journal - Humanity and Social Science
ภาษาไทย | English

Volume 4 Issue 3 กันยายน - ธันวาคม 2557

The role of the social sciences and humanities in shaping technological progress as a form of human development
Paolo Casani
Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom


       The recent economic slowdown has resulted in many cuts in the funding of humanities and social sciences (HSS) across the globe. In parallel, the trend is for new students to choose a course leading directly to a profession. However, HSS plays a very important role in enriching and informing a society's economic, social and cultural well-being. Unlike the straightforward impact that the sciences have, say, on industry, HSS impacts a knowledge ecosystem where there are multiple relations between producers and beneficiaries of the knowledge. Apart from providing a qualified workforce in business and finance,as well as imparting cultural understanding, HSS is crucial in (1) the development of public policy and (2) the quality of social well-being. Today, this role is even more important with advancements in information technology (IT). The exponential growth of the Web and mobile communication is having a profound and deep impact on the fabric of society in both the industrialized and developing world. Furthermore, the introduction of Google Glasses signals a shift in IT towards augmentation, where new technology becomes invisible and thus difficult to monitor and regulate. The Oxford philosopher Luciano Floridi has described a fourth revolution in the sphere of knowledge where reality becomes 'interactable', creating novel ethical issue. Despite the impositions of techno-society and liberal values in economics, HSS has promoted a new vision of society where human wellbeing is not measured in terms of a nation's GDP. The work of Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum on human development has opened new horizons in the understanding of what is required for a society to improve the human condition and exercise substantial freedoms. This paper aims to describe the challenges that HSS faces in an IT-driven society and argues that it can promote (1) and (2) and define what types of technology as human development we wish to pursue.
Keywords: information technology, human development, techno-society

Division of Research Administration.
Building2, 2nd Floor,Office of the President.
Khon Kaen University
Tel. 043-009700 ext. 42128
E-mail: kkurj@kku.ac.th