This post was the introduction to my final semester e-portfolio: a linked series of posts on a common theme
The date of graduation draws ever nearer. At long last, I will be expected to switch from one who is primarily a student of society, attempting to understand the wide and wonderful world, to being a ‘productive member of society’. Looking over my education, the biggest takeaway I have is the progress I have made in grounding my thoughts about learning and impact in intellectual realism. This has entailed avoiding the twin extremes of optimism and pessimism in order to strike a middle path, acknowledging challenges and difficulties and yet making progress.
As a student of technology, optimism and Utopianism is an unsurprising extension of my interests and ambitions. My education in Computer Science and Business encourages me to see the world’s problems as a series of challenges to be Disrupted by Innovation. The idols of my field, the Gateses and Zuckerburgs and Musks, set grandiose aims of curing all diseases or colonise Mars. In stark contrast, my natural cynicism draws me towards pessimism and skepticism. Literature and mythology have showed too many examples of mistaken hubris. Indeed, in computer science itself, there is the story of how the top researchers in the field mistakenly thought it possible to create artificial intelligence over a summer in 1956. A more modern reason for this cynicism is the sheer amount of information and knowledge out there. It seems truly daunting to understand and process all the available information when making decisions that impact society.
However, although creating meaningful change today is not easy, it is certainly not impossible. It would be trite to list down the actors who have done or are doing so, but it is certainly inarguable that the wheel of progress does continue turning. In this e-portfolio, I seek to explore how in a world with such overwhelming amounts of information, given our limited individual understanding, we can still create meaningful change. In three posts, interlinked but not sequential, I will explore the ideas of heuristics, models, and communities which I have come across multiple times across classes in Computer Science, Business Administration, and the University Scholars Programme. These three ideas capture powerful tactics and techniques that can be used to understand and act in exceedingly complex environments.tags: university - usr4002