VIDEO: The New Trivium

West, East, and Digital

National Association of Scholars

In the medieval university, the trivium was the gateway to the liberal arts, which encompassed the disciplines of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The modern university still aspires to the ideal set by its medieval predecessors, but are these still instruments of the liberal arts?

The medieval university arose from a new technology of communication, the printing press. We are now in the midst of another communications revolution. Is it time for a new trivium, consisting of the alphabetic (west), pictographic (east), and digital languages?

We will be discussing an early version of “cancel culture” experienced by Norbert Wiener after he refused to apply cybernetics to "social problems." Wiener was a victim of a poorly understood "paradigm-shift" over digital technology. The implications of this are still playing out today in our present conundra over artificial intelligence and the accompanying "Human Use of Human Beings," which were strongly foreshadowed in Wiener's life. Today, there are even more far-reaching psychological and social implications.

This event features Mark Stahlman, the president of the Center for the Study of Digital Life (CSDL) and CEO of the strategic risk assessment firm Exogenous, Inc (EXO). He is a retired Wall Street technology strategist/banker, who trained to be a Molecular Biologist (University of Wisconsin Madison) and theologian (University of Chicago). His father, William, was a historian of ancient mathematics, an expert on Ptolemy, and a protégé of the pioneer of cybernetics, Norbert Wiener at MIT.

Photo by Adobe Stock

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