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The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World Hardcover – April 25, 2017
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Cited by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in his 2017 commencement address to Bucknell University (http://www.bucknell.edu/news-and-media/events-and-calendars/commencement/photos-speeches-and-videos/commencement-speeches/commencement-2017-fareed-zakaria-address.html )
“You can't build a wall to keep the robots out. That doesn’t mean we’re doomed. Scott Hartley does a masterful job going beyond the headlines to explain why the future needs engineers as much as it does philosophers, and why the two need each other.” — Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group and author of Superpower.
"This terrific book clearly articulates the importance of the liberal arts in our technocentric world, a view I have long supported. In the end, technology is about making the lives of humans better, and, as the author argues, it is the humanities and social sciences that teach us about the human condition and how it might be improved. A delightful read!" — John Hennessy, Chairman of Google, Inc. and President Emeritus of Stanford University
"Scott Hartley artfully explains why it is time for us to get over the false division between the human and the technical. If received and acted upon with the seriousness it deserves we can anticipate real benefits for business and society." — Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO and author of Change By Design
"For fuzzy creatives everywhere, this book is both a tonic and a manifesto. As we enter the age of artificial intelligence, we will need more and more of the human kind, nurtured not by the sciences but the humanities. A compelling and convincing read!" -- Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America
“Scott Hartley’s timely and thought-provoking book is a refreshing and important voice in the era of major technological transformation and advances in our world, led by Big Data, AI, Cloud, genomics, etc. As Nature has evolved our brain to be capable of logical reasoning as well as emotional feelings, artistic expressions and remarkable intuitions, human civilization has always evolved and benefited from the co-evolution of arts, literature, engineering and sciences. Humanity has begun the era of intelligent machines and genomic wonder tools. It has become more urgent and imperative that humanistic thinking and values can help guide the way technologies are designed, experimented, deployed and communicated. From digital humanities to humanistic technologies, human wisdom should be all in when it comes to designing and defining our collective future. Students, parents, educators, policy makers, CEOs and entrepreneurs should all read this book.” —Professor Fei-Fei Li, Director of Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab
"For generations, leadership has been viewed as an art form, refined and perfected by a healthy dose of "fuzzy" liberal arts education. But in the tech-heavy world of the 21st Century, traditional leadership preparation needs to be leavened by STEM. As Scott Hartley brilliantly illustrates, a "fuzzy-tech" partnership is a prerequisite -- not just as a guide for governments and businesses in meeting existential challenges, but also as a foundation for emerging leaders; they, not machines, will be the keys to solving the greatest problems of the new century." — Daniel W. Christman, Lieutenant General (Retired) 55th Superintendent, U.S. Military Academy, West Point
“Great book for all. Blows up the false dichotomy in education between tech and liberal arts. This book shows that not only can both co-exist; it is dangerous if they don’t both exist side by side in an integrated manner. They make each other more effective. Scott has done an excellent job of making his argument with facts, illustrative case studies and well-reasoned solutions. An important and enjoyable read.” — Bill Aulet, author of Disciplined Entrepreneurship and Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship
"Silicon Valley is founded on strong engineering cultures, but the biggest challenges of the coming decades will lead Silicon Valley to partner with those who best understand our humanity. Many of the greatest companies are built by fuzzies and techies working together — Scott makes a compelling case that important data and information are increasingly generated by machines, but the wisdom of humans is required to build this data into the knowledge that runs our civilization.” — Joe Lonsdale, Co-Founder of Palantir
"In this book Scott Hartley succeeds better than anyone I know in articulating the indispensable role a liberal arts education plays… One of the impacts of technology has been to democratize freedom scholarship and passion. Scott Hartley lays this out in plain language that a liberal arts education trumps early specialization in STEM subjects.” — Temba Maqubela, Headmaster, Groton School
“I am a “fuzzy” venture capitalist who owes a successful life in Silicon Valley to the “techies”. Scott Hartley has brilliantly described the magic that is created when these two tribes work together. His insightful book shines a bright light on this rarely analyzed but highly productive relationship.” — Bill Draper, Co-Chair of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation and author of The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership Between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs
"A bouncy read by the venture capitalist that suggests sociology and philosophy graduates might be the real winners of the robot revolution. As tech start-ups and websites can be built by putting 'chunks' of other peoples’ work and automated processes together, [Hartley] argues, 'techies' could be put out of business. Those 'fuzzies' who studied the liberal arts — with their creative skills and broad understanding of communication techniques and ideas — may well populate Silicon Valley C-suites in far greater numbers in the future. According to Hartley, change is already under way, with many successful start-ups in the tech industry now being established by fuzzies." - Financial Times, "Business Books of the Month"
About the Author
Hartley has been a speaker at dozens of international entrepreneurship events with the World Bank, MIT, Google, and the U.S. State Department’s Global Innovation in Science and Technology (GIST) program. Hartley holds an MBA and an MA from Columbia University, and a BA from Stanford University. He is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations.
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But, Hartley presents many studies in the book which contradict these findings - the most prominent of which I found to be the Mckinsey study -
which states the number is probably closer to about 5%. More importantly, though, throughout the book he gives several explanatory models explaining WHY many jobs will survive automation, as well as why many "fuzzy" jobs will need to be created and even why these fuzzy jobs will be complex, high skilled and high value jobs. These models further *qualitatively* distinguish what jobs are ripe for automation, and what jobs (or potential jobs) are best served by "fuzzy" skills. The core concept that governs these models is complexity. By looking at a given job, these models highlight both the *magnitude* of complexity, as well as the *type* of complexity. For example, Hartley uses the Cynefin framework to distinguish between tasks that are simple, complicated, complex, chaotic, or disordered. Each of these categories are governed by the structure of the cause and effect relationships which dictate the required action of the person (or job/role) in effectively carrying out a required task. I found models like this to give me an incredibly simple and useful way for organizing and making sense of this topic, where previously I could feel myself floundering to pull together the essential governing laws of the debate.
Besides this, the book is filled with a really nice blend of hard data and entertaining stories, that allows for a convincing argument in an entertaining way. I had one or two disagreements, where I thought the role of a "fuzzie" was slightly over-exaggerated - or at the very least was likely to be more valuable supplementally rather than critically. But, on the whole, I found myself mostly nodding in agreement with my own experience, where I have personally found many of the tech claims - especially those involving machine learning, AI, neural nets, etc - to be highly over-exaggerated, as well as the many times in my own work-life experience I have seen just how invaluable fuzzies can be in the right domains. The one benefit I did not expect to get from this book was just how much it could help me to not only appreciate more what "fuzzies" do in the current workplace, but also how to help and support their future in the workplace as we create more meaningful, cooperative, and fun environments where more people feel valued and important in these collective, creative engagements (that we so boringly call jobs) as we humans march forward into the totally unknown and exciting future that lays ahead of us
When I was a kid, people told me I needed to learn things that I wasn't good at and had no interest in and I thought that was stupid. Now that I'm an adult I try as best I can to continually broaden my knowledge of all subjects. It's good for your mind continue to learn new things and take in new perspectives. The working world gets more complicated.
I like the writing style of this book and it's pretty entertaining. But I think it's a stretch to say that Liberal Arts degrees are going to be the most in-demand for jobs in the future. Even worse, I think people are ignoring the big picture, which is that the Earth CANNOT SUSTAIN everyone working and producing goods and services at the rate things are going. Automation could save the world by eliminating the need for people to work, allowing them time to spend on more important things (like community, family, art, knowledge of it's own sake) AND if used properly it can get people off of this "more jobs" madness that is choking the world, converting from a garbage-producing society to a society of sustained living. This book seems to be more concerned with perpetuating the ridiculous idea that job growth is the most important thing and pure automation as a result of scientific specialization is a bad thing.
I agree that more is needed than just learning math and science (how many times did 20th century history lead to a solution on Star Trek? A LOT.), and I even agree with my older sister than History should be a part of the Techie education curriculum (because techies need to learn from the past instead of repeating it).
So yes, read this book, just don't read ONLY this book on the subject. There's an automatic society coming sooner or later and it's probably a good idea to be prepared by knowing both the sciences AND the arts.