Tech Science, also known as public interest technology, is emerging as the study of unforeseen consequences of technology and ways to resolve technology and society conflicts. IQSS hosts the Journal of Technology Science (http://techscience.org). Recent work in technology science by Gov faculty and students has already had an impact on government regulations, technology company practices, and laws around the world. Research in technology science is tackling some of our most difficult and urgent social and political challenges worldwide, but frankly, these efforts have only begun to explore the many ways the use and study of technology can serve the public interest. Tech Science motivates and seeks to train a new generation of “technologists” to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills to public service in civil society and government and to product development and management in technology companies.
A Tech Science program within the Gov undergraduate curriculum provides an opportunity for students to gain skills at issue spotting, risk assessment, and scientific analysis and formal modeling of conflicts between technology and society in order to scientifically describe and address some of the most pressing social science questions. The core of this program is a “Technology Science Foundations” requirement (Gov 1433, Gov 1430, and Gov 93b) that will develop in students the research insight needed to identify, quantify, and scientifically describe techno-society conflicts.
Technology Science Program Details
The Tech Science program requirements will mirror the existing Government curriculum, requirements, but will be more directive in the choice of electives and require some courses outside the department.
Political and Social Context Requirement:
Government concentration courses provide an understanding of the contexts in which technology conflicts occur, even though the courses may not themselves include technology. This context will be supplied by Government 97 (Sophomore tutorial: “Political Science of Great Issues”), a Gov 94 seminar, and the political science breadth (i.e., subfield) requirement.
- Gov 97 (Sophomore tutorial, 1 course)
- 1 Gov 94 seminar
- 4 subfield courses (1 per subfield)
Foundations of Technology Science: (Students would take these three Gov courses as their three concentration electives.)
- Gov 1433: Tech Science: From Democracy to Technocracy and Back Again
- Gov 1430: Tech Science to Save the World
- Gov 93b: Technology Science Practicum (Prerequisite: Gov 1430)
Allied Skill Requirement (replaces methods requirement): Two of the following computer science, statistics, economics, or data science courses:
- CS 50, CS 51, CS109, CS 181, CS 182, Econ 1123, Econ 1126, Gov 50 or Stat 104, Gov 2000, Gov 2001, Stat 110, Stat 111
Technology and Governance Requirement: One of the following courses that integrate technology and governance: (If a Gov course or Gen Ed 1058 is taken for this requirement, it may double-count towards a subfield requirement.)
- Gen Ed 1058, Gov 40, Gov 1115, Gov 1142, Gov 1263, Gov 1359, Gov 1360, Gov 1368, Gov 1790, Gov 2105, Gov 2148, Gov 2576, Gov 2710, Applied Computation 221, Computer Science 105, Computer Science 90NAR, Computer Science 90NBR, Econ 50 (formerly Econ 1152), Econ 1000, History of Science 188V, History of Science 231, History of Science 272, History of Science 189, International and Global Affairs 538 (at the Harvard Kennedy School), Psychology 980JF
How to join the Tech Science program
Sophomores: All students who declare Government submit a one-page “plan of study” when they declare. On this form, there is a check-off box that says “I wish to register for the Tech Science program.” Please check off this box and the Undergraduate Coordinator, Karen Kaletka, will be in touch with additional information.
Juniors and Seniors: Interested juniors and seniors (who may have fulfilled most of the requirements and foresee completing the rest before graduation) should click here to complete a short registration form for the program.
Karen Kaletka will track internally the “progress toward program completion” of all those who register for the Tech Science program and will inform students’ academic advisers that students have chosen to participate.
Students that complete the requirements for the Tech Science program will receive a signed certificate (electronic and hard copy) from the chair of the department attesting to this completion and are encouraged to include this specialization on their resumés.
Advising in Tech Science