At the end of the presentation announcing the release of a new iPad, Steve Jobs concluded with the following statement:
Technology alone is not enough. That it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.
Behind the monological rhetoric of the demonstrator (siren words to entrust to buy a product), we can nevertheless catch a glimpse a crucial, even radical proposition within our current digital society and the underlying technocracy (i.e., the technical power of computer giants, the oligarchy formed by the GAFAM+): placing humanist ideals in the spotlight next to technique, technology. We often put the machine as an opposing entity to human beings, as if, since the catalysis of the industrial era, machine-ization had become linked linearly to dehumanization.
This has effectively proven true in many cases.
The political question of tooling set aside (to be in control of one’s own tools, or to be controlled by the tools of an external entity, such as a corporation), the poetic prospect of Jobs may allow us to move beyond human-machine dualism, beyond the mutual exclusion of the two.
In a hyperconnected world where demagogues are constantly taking the floor in today’s public places, we can still be optimistic towards the future of liberal arts in society.