One would be hard-pressed to find any aspect of society today that is not influenced by evolving technology in a significant way. Similarly, technology does not develop in a vacuum; by virtue of its applied nature, it is shaped by the needs and desires of individuals and the societies in which they live. Society and technology co-evolve, so that you cannot fully understand one without knowing something about the other. This cross-disciplinary certificate program is targeted to students, both engineers/scientists and humanists/social-scientists, who are interested in exploring this intersection in depth. Graduates who earn this certificate will be effective contributors to the shaping, development and deployment of technological solutions for the benefit of society.
The intersection of technology and society is broad – touching on a wide range of technologies and on a variety of societal issues and concerns. To ensure depth, individual programs of study are offered along two technology tracks: Information Technology and Energy.
The Information Technology track is offered in partnership between the Keller Center and the Center for Information Technology Policy. Information technology (IT) broadly covers the computation and communication technologies that permeate virtually all aspects of corporate and social activity. The products and services enabled by it have had a major impact on the world economy and on social interactions. As we look to the future, emerging technologies in IT continue to address critical societal challenges such as economic development, health care, politics, education, productivity, government and social organization. At the same time, these technologies raise new challenges in security, law enforcement, privacy, economic stability and justice.
The Energy track is offered in partnership between the Keller Center and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. Provision and use of energy and natural resources in a sustainable way is the single biggest challenge for Americans and citizens of the world to preserve the planet for future generations. Our economic and national security – as well as our overall ability to thrive as a society – depends on fulfilling these foundational responsibilities. Population growth and the increasing desire of those who live in developing countries to live on par with those in developed countries are causing unprecedented demands for energy. How to meet these needs while protecting the environment is one of the most pressing challenges of our times. These problems are complex and intertwined, involving not only a need for advances in science and engineering, but also requiring changes in human behavior, economic analyses, and thoughtful policy.