Virginia Tech launches Tech for Humanity project

The university has launched the initiative to take human-centred approaches to address the societal impact of tech

Virginia Tech is addressing the issues of access, ethics, policy and regulation of technology development through its Tech for Humanity project.

The project is a university-wide initiative to make sure that alongside technological development and innovation, wider societal impact is considered.

Tim Sands, president of the university, said: “As Virginia Tech and partners create these technologies, we have the responsibility and the opportunity to do so from the perspective of the human condition, addressing issues of design, access, ethics, policy, and regulation along with the development of the technology.”

Virginia Tech’s Sylvester Johnson talks about the initiative

All nine colleges at the university will be involved in Tech for Humanity, and a variety of issues will be addressed, including responsible innovation, human-factor design, creativity, data and decision-making, global collaboration, economics, societal values, and sustainability.

Sylvester Johnson, assistant vice provost for the humanities at Virginia Tech, will serve as executive director of the initiative. He said: “Innovation is increasing the gap between what is technologically possible and what may or may not be in the best interest of human society and a viable future. We need human-centred approaches to guide the study, development and use of technologies.”

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Tech for Humanity will produce research within and across disciplines, bring together thought leaders and decision makers across institutions, and include the next generation of undergraduate and graduate students in guiding a human-centred future for societies increasingly being shaped by innovation.

More information is available at