Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. It is my honor to be here to present my speech to you about the role of humanism in today’s technologically advanced world.
What’s the role of humanism today? At the first sight of this topic, I felt that I had a vision of walking along a dark passage to our destination, an ideal harmonious society. Humanism, is a lighthouse on this way to guide us in case we are getting lost, together with modern technology, we are well on our way toward our destination.
Like other young men, I love the internet. To be honest, I could not imagine a life without internet, which is a blessing taken by high technology. To some extent, it represents the whole world to me. I have registered some accounts on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Renren, Weibo and so forth. It’s really amazing because these network technologies make it possible for people all over the world to communicate with each other freely and conveniently.
However, there are two sides to the argument, so what of the internet. While it could lighten our life, it could also turn into evil. It started with some of these arguments—well, it is argument at first—then the situation seems out of control: people start to curse and scold each other just because they have different opinions. People became more and more aggressive, seditious, and insulting, and later on, with the “Human-flesh searching” involved, the situation gets even worse. Those are what we called “Network of violence”, they are still happening, and still going on.
It seems like that the internet frees us from the burden of our public identities so we should be our true, authentic selves online, except it turns out—who wouldn’t see that coming—that our true, authentic selves aren’t that fantastic.
The reason we define ourselves as human is because we have some natural instincts to care for and respect other people. In other words, we are pursuing the universal brotherhood, a peaceful world of free minds. It is humanism that keeps our society moving on and on.
As one of the most important inventions in our time, internet has changed the way of our life tremendously. It has changed the way we express and communicate with each other. It has made it possible for us to meet each other without distance; it has made it easier for us to know and to comprehend each other.
However not only some changes has it brought, but also brought on some challenges. Net has anarchy in its DNA, It’s always been about anonymity, playing with your own identity and messing with other people’s heads. It is a challenge, it challenges our self-discipline that we are proud of, it challenges our humanity that we are proud of. Sure technology promises us more freedom but it doesn’t mean that we should leave our civilization behind.
That’s why we need a guideline to light up our path, to lead us. In this technologically advanced world, what we need to do is to avoid the misuse of technology, but to take it as an accelerator, a lube or a navigator on our high way to create a better world, a harmonious society.
So don’t ever forget our aspiration, and always have faith in humanism, and we are going to make it happen, in this technologically advanced world! Yes! We can!
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
Good morning/afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
Consider the lowly toilet. Many of you may not think of the toilet as a form of technology if you think of toilets at all. But, it is and has contributed greatly to the improved health and overall quality of life for mankind.
On a recent trip to Japan, I was impressed by, among other things, a gadget in most public women's restrooms, called Otohime or Sound Princess. This device produces the sound of flushing water without the need for actual flushing. The technology saves the user both the embarrassment of being heard during urination and some 20 liters of water per use in cases where a woman might flush the toilet continuously while using it.
Every time I used Otohime, I felt like a princess, an environmentalist princess on the toilet.
It was a longed for feeling. Over the past decade, I shuffled in and out of many kinds of public restrooms in China--filthy smelly water closets in outlying areas, spacious luxurious lavatories in five-star hotels, forever-occupied girls' stalls on campus during school, and smart modern mobile toilets in international fairs. But not one single "room" evoked my pride of being a princess.
And I knew why the Sound Princess had. It was not because of the high technology the small bathroom boasted which is becoming ubiquitous worldwide. It was the idealism embodied in the technology that keeps reminding me that in this ever-changing world, I am a responsible and dignified human being even when sitting on a toilet.
Humanism, no matter how it is defined, aims to strike a balance between us being at the mercy of nature and being too human-centered. In my case, I haven't relieved myself under a tree for a while. I am a proud, dutiful Chinese citizen. Gone are the days when people just found a corner to do their business resulting in poor sanitation and threats to public health. The Otohimetechnology renders me two warnings: First, I am a humble human being with an obligation to save not only my face but also natural resources. Second, there is still a long way to go in my own country not just in developing technology and the economy, but also in upholding human dignity and promoting human welfare. Take the toilet: Dirty, crowdedtoilets shall, at least, give way to clean, human-friendly ones.
Fortunately, I have seen improvements. At Shanghai World Expo 2010, 8,000 toilets, all modern and technologically sophisticated, were installed across the site. What really delighted the visitors, however, was the user-friendly design and services. Toilets were situated every 100 meters. Several hundred volunteers served as toilet guides and sanitation workers. The ratio of female to male toilet space was set at 2.5 to 1. Soft music was played in the toilets. All this seems to celebrate the glory of comprehensive humanism.
Ladies and gentlemen, science and technology are here to improve earthly life and maximize human happiness. When our world benefits from technology, coupled with human considerations, we are bound to enjoy our life. Conversely, we suffer.
The toilet is a piece of sanitaryware and the quintessence of humanism that underlies technological innovation. Like GNP, employment rates, and space exploration efforts, the lowly equipment is an equally important measure of a progressive society. When on a toilet if we feel like a princess, we shall be proud of living in a society that values humanity. If not, we must stand up and make some changes.
And if you are still baffled with what I have said, I suggest you take off right now and go experience the bathrooms in this auditorium, because they are what makes our life beautiful or ugly, humanism considered or ignored.
Honourable judges, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Humanism, by which I mean the will to give people love and care, is the most joyful and meaningful part of being human. From the old days to technologically advanced world, humanism is always telling ordinary but moving stories.
Let me tell you what touched my heart this winter break, one morning when I visited my grandmother in the hospital. Walking down the cold, tiled corridor, I noticed an old man, with his granddaughter – maybe 10 years old – sitting by his side. I was lured there by her voice – light and playful – and after I'd seen them together, I could barely take my eyes away. Delicately draped over this old man's beeping cardiograph was a silk sheet with an ancient, cheerful Chinese poem beautifully written on it – and now, this little girl's entrancing voice lovingly brought these words to life. I stood there transfixed; no longer did I see the family members swimming in nervousness; no longer did I feel the hospital's tense cloud of anxiety; no longer did I hear mortality's soft whispers in the corridors; instead, I saw a startling marriage of juxtaposing images and emotions. I was beholding, I realized, a bewilderingly simple yet overwhelmingly powerful metaphor – one that shows that no matter how cold an environment technology can conjure, humanity is always there. In the forefront or the fringes, it is always there.
For here it was, illustrated vividly before me – the coldness of technology embodied in the hospital walls, while the soulful words of the little girl danced around them in defiance.
This experience opened my eyes in many ways – ever since, I have been acutely aware of, and wonderfully conscious of, the warm heart of humanity surrounding us, whether we choose to recognise it or not. As one psychological theory states, "We see what we want to see". After my experience that day at the hospital, I have chosen to recognize, day by day, the warmth of humanism everywhere I can.
I refuse to accept the negative, narrow-minded, caustic opinions that technology is eroding our souls. I say to them, let the machines continue their monotonous cacophony, for just one smiling face is infinitely more valuable than a thousand churners of binary code; let technological progress develop and develop until it poetically devours itself, because one heartfelt "hello" to a fellow traveller can speak libraries of warmth; let the powermongers and oil barons puff their last cigars, because the love and care, and warmth of humanism will always shine like beacon, reaching out to each and every heart on this small planet.
Although I'll probably never see that little girl or her grandfather again, I'll never forget seeing them there in the hospital that day – and if I did, I'd thank them for showing me how vivid yet subtle, how firm yet fragile, and how invisible yet omnipresent the human spirit is in our world today. Thank you.