Colleges need to focus on societal impact of new tech

Shobita Parthasarathy leans against a bannister, looking up and smiling at the camera.

In a recent article in “The Chronicle of Higher Education”, Shobita Parthasarathy, professor at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, called on colleges to teach future scientists, engineers, and policy makers, to think critically about the societal impact of new technologies. “Colleges must train the next generation of scientists, engineers, and policy makers to think more critically about how new science and technology serve the public interest,” she writes.

According to Parthsarathy, U-M is beginning to address these concerns with the technology-assessment clinic in the Ford School’s program of science, technology, and public policy, which she directs. A multidisciplinary group of students learn “to identify and evaluate the societal changes posed by emerging technologies.”