Touro and Fordham Host Conference on Technology and Globalization
Academics Discuss Technology’s Impact on Politics, the Economy and Society
When Ira Weinstock was earning his degree at Fordham University, he never imagined he would revisit the school as a professional partner. But after Weinstock joined the faculty of Touro College to teach political science and sociology, he began to see opportunities to collaborate with the Jesuit University down the street and laid the groundwork for a joint conference.
In October, Touro and Fordham came together for a daylong symposium, “Living in the New World: The Impact of Technology and Globalization.” Participants gathered at Fordham in the morning and then walked to Touro’s Lander College for Women for the afternoon program.
The conference brought together academics in political science, economics, sociology, and religion, among other disciplines. The discussion centered on how technology is reshaping our economy, our politics, and even our families.
As the number of internet and cell phone users have grown, businesses can look globally for employees and compete globally for customers. Workers need to be accessible to their jobs round the clock, even when it interferes with their home lives. “Today, more people have access to smartphones than to toilets or clean water,” pointed out Professor Angela Leventis.
“Technology has led to dramatic changes in every part of our lives. We now have to consider the implications of these changes for our values, and vice versa,” said Dr. Mervin Verbit, Chair of the Sociology Department at Touro College, who co-chaired the conference with Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg, Director of the Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development at Fordham.
Participants discussed impact of technology including
- Increased inequality, as skilled workers earn more while unskilled workers earn less
- Globalization, creating new opportunities and more competition
- People connecting with others on social media, expanding their networks but losing the richness and depth of face to face communications
Avi Hoffman, one student from Touro, attended because he is interested in the growth of artificial intelligence. He listened attentively as Touro sociology professor Deborah Ratti spoke about the relationship between technology and spirituality.
Students who attended the joint event appreciated the opportunity to learn from a diverse group of scholars. Some said they appreciated the different perspectives of the Fordham and Touro faculty members.