September 12, 2017

EDITORIAL: Our Hope for Cornell Tech

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This Wednesday marks the official opening of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island, the culmination of a series of events that began with the school’s founding at the Google office in Chelsea, New York. The vibrant, modern architecture sweeping through the campus is a nod to its goals of sustainability and innovation, and its curriculum is designed to explore intersections between many types of disciplines. We hope Cornell Tech becomes the best of its kind — an institution unparalleled in its ability to promote interdisciplinary learning and understanding between all corners of this contemporary world.

Over the past several months, Cornell Tech has established partnerships with a diverse range of corporations and external organizations in hopes of allowing students to apply their skills in a variety of ways. This will allow Cornell Tech to realize its goal of bridging academia and industry. Exposure to such a vast spectrum of industries will allow students to ideate and prototype solutions to problems that exist well beyond the tech sector. Learning how to streamline processes and create new opportunities in a wide array of industries is a valuable skill today, especially when some have struggled to keep up with the breakneck pace of technology advancement.

There is a dichotomy in our society between those who fully embrace and benefit from emerging technologies, and those who have grown disillusioned as jobs continue to be replaced due to increased automation. Cornell Tech would do well to remember that technological advancement does not come without cost. It is crucial that new generations are well-equipped with the skills they need to enter the workforce, and as an institution with the potential to introduce disruptive innovations so quickly, Cornell Tech is obligated to account for such effects when introducing advancements.

Cornell Tech should strive to be a model not only for sister institutions, but also for the rest of the world. Many of the challenges that students and faculty will address on the Roosevelt Island campus are not limited to Cornell. It’s a tall order for those at Tech, but we believe that they possess the grit and creativity to design a better future.

  • Randy_Wayne

    I wonder when universities will begin giving Ph.Ds. to the robots that are increasingly performing scientific experiments. Will the universities also charge the principal investigators using the robots the cost of tuition?

  • jaydeeare

    Does Cornell Tech have contingency plans for its relocation if sea level rise eventually floods Roosevelt Island?

    • Reality Check

      Good point. Dean Dan Huttenlocher reports that the old structure from the former hospital on the site was ground up to raise the site by seven feet, leaving it as high or higher than most of Manhattan south of 34th Street. That doesn’t solve the problem but it puts Cornell Tech in good company as it faces the climate-change future. Maybe the next CU outpost should be in the Netherlands to learn how they handle threatening tides there. There’s a future in analog technology!