My Useless Degree

By Avalon Kelly

Ever since the launch of ChatGPT early this year, countless people have asked me, “Why would you major in the humanities?…Won’t AI make an English degree useless?”  In the Silicon Valley, going to college for a degree in anything other than STEM is perceived as a waste of time and money.  AI has introduced a plethora of doubt regarding our future careers; however, I believe that the skills fostered by a major in the humanities will prove to be evermore essential in our evolving, high-tech world.

The soft skills that humanities degrees encourage may likely prove more resistant to AI automation in the future than those of STEM degrees.  AI cannot think creatively, make inferences, or understand nuanced language: all of which are skills that are especially valuable in humanities fields.  According to Business Insider, “Tech jobs such as software developers, web developers, computer programmers, coders, and data scientists” face an extremely high risk of being taken over by AI since this new technology can code more efficiently and effectively than possible for human beings.  In fact, any job consisting of repetitive tasks will be easily automated by AI since this is what it excels at.  In 2018, billionaire Mark Cuban stated that “In 10 years, a liberal arts degree in philosophy will be worth more than a traditional programming degree” due to AI.  Why are we pushing students into STEM fields if there is simply not a high enough predicted demand for these jobs?  Moreover, we shouldn’t be pressuring students in the humanities to change their career paths in order to match the present norm.

The future is the future—and if there’s one thing us humans are bad at, it’s prophesying.  There’s no predicting what the future will bring, but one thing is for certain: AI has unsettled the stability of all careers, not just the humanities.  And in a world dominated by tech, what could we necessitate more than caretakers of humanity, culture, and justice?