Ditch The Computer Science Degree for Philosophy; Here's Why..

Hey guys,

This was a very interesting read, and really has me thinking about the what the world will be like a decade or two out.

Mark Cuban, billionaire tech. guy, claims that in 10-15 years that computer science degrees will be less favored over liberal arts majors such as Philosophy. He pretty much sums up that he believes one day Artificial Intelligence will be able to correct itself and think on its own, leaving people who have learned how to think critically from global perspectives - more valuable.

"What is happening now with artificial intelligence is we'll start automating automation," Cuban tells AOL. "Artificial intelligence won't need you or I to do it, it will be able to figure out itself how to automate [tasks] over the next 10 to 15 years.

"Now the hard part isn't whether or not it will change the nature of the work force -- it will," he continues. "The question is, over the period of time that it happens, who will be displaced?"

He views previously lucrative jobs in industries like accounting and computer programming as subject to the powers of automation. To remain competitive, Cuban advises ditching degrees that teach specific skills or professions and opting for degrees that teach you to think in a big picture way, like philosophy.

"Knowing how to critically think and assess them from a global perspective, I think, is going to be more valuable than what we see as exciting careers today which might be programming or CPA or those types of things."

Personally, I have been planning to major in Economics with a minor in Philosophy. As such, i'm a little biased and like what i'm hearing - and it makes sense. However, I do not see artificial intelligence advancing to that level in a mere 10-15 years. What do you guys think the future holds? Where will the emphasis be on education, and what kind of skillsets do you think will take the throne as most coveted? What kind of problems do you see arising?

Comments (56)

Feb 24, 2018

Mark Cuban is your typical libtard...so just on that basis he's wrong

Talk to me when that philosophy major is getting that $100k+ job out of college at Google in software engineering

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Feb 24, 2018

As soon as I heard a philosophy manager I knew Mark Cuban would be behind it.

I think you learn critical thinking doing a Finance major or doing a law degree - whilst actually getting some skills applicable in the real world. Its all well and good for Mark Cuban to say you need to think critically, but you also need a skill set to balance the actual thinking, which you don't get doing philosophy. I think you would be in a better position doing a CS degree than Phil

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RIP MONACOMONKEY
RIP THEACCOUNTING MAJOR

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Feb 26, 2018
Wolfofgeorgestreet:

As soon as I heard a philosophy manager I knew Mark Cuban would be behind it.

I think you learn critical thinking doing a Finance major or doing a law degree - whilst actually getting some skills applicable in the real world. Its all well and good for Mark Cuban to say you need to think critically, but you also need a skill set to balance the actual thinking, which you don't get doing philosophy. I think you would be in a better position doing a CS degree than Phil

I could not disagree with this more. As a liberal arts major (a particularly obscure branch of history) who worked in finance, my skills weren't about thinking - it was about writing and coherent communication. Look at the names on your profile; banking isn't difficult, it's just long hours... you know, such that a monkey can do it. I picked up modeling a lot quicker than most of my fellow analysts picked up the skill of writing coherent, grammatically correct sentences.

If you work hard at your job you'll become proficient at it. Being able to underwrite a deal or put together an awesome model in ten seconds flat won't help you make money in this business; connecting with clients will. You'll learn everything you need to know on the job; how many of us have had cocky hotshot analysts come in from target schools and thought they had the whole thing down pat, and needed a complete overhaul? College is a unique opportunity to learn for it's own sake and become a better rounded, more interesting person. If computer engineering is what you love, go for it. But so many people treat college as a vocational school, when it isn't, at all.

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Feb 27, 2018
Pizz:

Mark Cuban is your typical libtard...so just on that basis he's wrong

Talk to me when that philosophy major is getting that $100k+ job out of college at Google in software engineering

Why would they bother with $100K at google when they can get $175K at Goldman? Libtard? Guy almost worked for trump...Cuban is an opportunist, not an ideologue.

You bitch and you whine and moan about libtards who let their political views color everything they think....but have you looked at how you let you're doing the same thing, but just some silly conservative view instead? If this were Steve Bannon saying this, you'd agree.

It's possible for someone who votes differently than you to make a true point. If you're THAT political that you can't see that, maybe take a break from politics and recognize you can't see things clearly. Don't be so petty.

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Feb 27, 2018

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Feb 28, 2018

you mean the original ROI? this guy fucks.

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Best Response
Feb 25, 2018

You have to accept the premise that you learn to critically think in college, let alone as a philosophy major. I think you learn to critically think through life experience, and obtaining a degree does not necessarily confer to you the ability to critically think. And maybe I'm the only one, but I barely remember anything I learned in college (at least consciously). Heck, as a finance major, I wouldn't necessarily credit to myself competency in finance 10 years after my last formal course in it. Competency in finance is--as is competency in critical thought--continuously earned.

Also, while I'm a huge fan of the liberal arts, let's be perfectly honest--there isn't much you learn in college in the liberal arts that you can't learn for free at the library or for cheap on a Kindle.

Feb 27, 2018
Troll - Aged 18 Years:

there isn't much you learn in college in the liberal arts that you can't learn for free at the library or for cheap on a Kindle.

Same for any technical degree lol. College is a recruiting pipeline, the knowledge is rarely used.

Feb 25, 2018

I think it's more about the principle that having a degree that teaches you technical aspects of how programing or something along those lines would be less important in the future in comparison to a degree that teaches you how to think in the first place. The world is a changing place, and if you aren't able to think for yourself and only have the technical knowledge (which can be easily replaced), you lose your worth in society.

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Feb 25, 2018

Time and time again the liberal arts folks come off with this nonsense. They assume technical people are incapable of thinking about the bigger picture. In reality, the people who are better at technical subjects are usually smarter in general and are also better at thinking about the bigger picture.

On top of that, you just don't need that many people thinking about the bigger picture in comparison to the amount of people focussing on details. Obviously, at his level, a major in philosophy would be more useful but not a lot of people make it to his level.

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Feb 26, 2018

I'll be adding a Philosophy minor to my PhD. There's a lot of value in philosophy and having clarity of thought is imperative in business.

Feb 25, 2018
Lagspike:

I'll be adding a Philosophy minor to my PhD. There's a lot of value in philosophy and having clarity of thought is imperative in business.

Do you need a minor in philosophy to have "clarity of thought" or could you read a book, listen to some podcasts, and watch a few YouTube videos on the topic? What's a minor? Like, 3-4 classes?

Feb 26, 2018
Troll - Aged 18 Years:

Do you need a minor in philosophy to have "clarity of thought" or could you read a book, listen to some podcasts, and watch a few YouTube videos on the topic? What's a minor? Like, 3-4 classes?

This is absurd. If you think the level of education you get from a couple of YouTube videos is equivalent to hundreds of hours of scholarship and critical thinking, you are out of your mind.

Reading a book is an attempt to pick up enough information to fake it, which gets exposed real quick. Reading twenty books is closer to the real thing - you know, enough so you have a wide range of knowledge, can compare and contrast viewpoints, evaluate relative strengths, etc. You don't even have enough knowledge of what you're putting down to actually know WHAT you're putting down.

Any idiot can learn to model a deal. You should be spending formative years in college preparing yourself for something beyond the 4 years you'll spend as a junior banker. You'll make your money when you start interacting with clients, and at that point, you'll know your shit from learning on the job or you won't, and you'll be out of finance. Either way, having some intellectual depth and breadth beyond one technical skill will serve you far better.

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Feb 26, 2018
Troll - Aged 18 Years:
Lagspike:

I'll be adding a Philosophy minor to my PhD. There's a lot of value in philosophy and having clarity of thought is imperative in business.

Do you need a minor in philosophy to have "clarity of thought" or could you read a book, listen to some podcasts, and watch a few YouTube videos on the topic? What's a minor? Like, 3-4 classes?

Nvm.

Feb 27, 2018
Troll - Aged 18 Years:
Lagspike:

I'll be adding a Philosophy minor to my PhD. There's a lot of value in philosophy and having clarity of thought is imperative in business.

Do you need a minor in philosophy to have "clarity of thought" or could you read a book, listen to some podcasts, and watch a few YouTube videos on the topic? What's a minor? Like, 3-4 classes?

You're missing the point of declaring it though...signalling. Everyone knows that everything you learn in college gets forgotten by the beginning of the next semester. When you get a resume and it has 20 math courses, a recruiter just assumes you want to do math or whatever all day. When they get a resume with 20 math courses and 3-4 philosophy/art/history courses, they see someone who can do math and also thinks about other things and is more interesting. The difference between you reading a book and taking a course is that you get credit for it, you have documented grades, and there's a specified curriculum.

College is a glorified recruiting pipeline as far as I'm concerned, and the more options you can open up the better off you are. I see the bullshit liberal arts / STEM debate, and you need both. The more types of thinking people have, the better off they are.

That said, he should qualify this....the less prestigious the school you go to, the farther away from prime recruiting you are. So whether you get a programming degree or a history degree, if it's from a podunk no-name school, you're almost equally screwed. And them's the facts of life

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Feb 26, 2018

In my experience people with technical majors tend to be better at non-technical subjects than people with non-technical majors. And as far as functioning in the real world, I've found that the proof writing I did as a math major has been far more applicable to communicating in a business setting than the writing I did in my literature classes. And don't even get me started on group work in my business grad program...I had to edit the shit out of everybody else's writing just to achieve baseline coherence.

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Feb 26, 2018

YouTube is probably one of the greatest tools out there and I wish there was more of it. Resources like YouTube, Code Academy, Kahn Academy (when they charge advertisers or make money through sponsorship) is the way to go. We need more free resources to lower the cost to education. The world is becoming less about specialization and more about how well you do everything from soft skills, leadership, and harder technical skills. Sales jobs are now business development, as an example. Plus, the education system is broken and we're fucked if we keep depending on it. I can imagine that an accredited degree will continue to hold its significance as a piece of paper, but most of the actual skills can and are learned outside of the classroom.

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Feb 25, 2018
iBankedUp:

YouTube is probably one of the greatest tools out there and I wish there was more of it. Resources like YouTube, Code Academy, Kahn Academy (when they charge advertisers or make money through sponsorship) is the way to go. We need more free resources to lower the cost to education. The world is becoming less about specialization and more about how well you do everything from soft skills, leadership, and harder technical skills. Sales jobs are now business development, as an example. Plus, the education system is broken and we're fucked if we keep depending on it. I can imagine that an accredited degree will continue to hold its significance as a piece of paper, but most of the actual skills can and are learned outside of the classroom.

Yes! YouTube is incredible. I spent the entire weekend (most of it) learning about astronomy and geology (and biology, to an extent). I don't now possess the scholarship to get a job in astrobiology, but these resources are amazing.

Feb 26, 2018

Lol, as if someone who majors in Finance or other technical degree doesn't have "critical thinking." But regardless, if you literally go to college to learn how to critically think, you're fucked anyway.

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Feb 27, 2018
Howard Hughes:

Lol, as if someone who majors in Finance or other technical degree doesn't have "critical thinking." But regardless, if you literally go to college to learn how to critically think, you're fucked anyway.

Finance is a technical degree? lol

Feb 26, 2018

Clearly nobody here has taken a philosophy class? I know tons of phil people doing CS, because modern analytical philosophy requires learning logical proof and first order logic, which are directly applicable to programming...

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Feb 25, 2018
arbjunkie:

Clearly nobody here has taken a philosophy class? I know tons of phil people doing CS, because modern analytical philosophy requires learning logical proof and first order logic, which are directly applicable to programming...

Which you don't need a $100,000+ degree for...

Like, how are people continuing to miss this point? Do you like philosophy? Sit in on the classes. Listen to podcasts. Read books. Watch lectures from around the world that are freely available. It's all available. This is the freest society in human history. Go learn. Nobody's stopping you.

Feb 26, 2018

I don't disagree with Cuban, but this is shit advice. Liberals arts is a great major if you go to one of the top schools in the country or your parents are rich. If you are taking out $100K in debt and going to a state school, majoring in liberal arts is a good way to stack the deck against you making any real money when you graduate.

Feb 27, 2018
TNA:

I don't disagree with Cuban, but this is shit advice.

So it's shit advice that you agree with? lol

Feb 26, 2018

His global advice is that a liberal arts degree teaches you how to think and therefore, is more "valuable" as compared to a technical degree like accounting or computer science.

I agree.

His direct advice - telling kids to pursue a liberal arts degree as opposed to a technical degree - that is shut advice.

College is about finding a job. If you're rich or going to Harvard, it can be about learning how to think. If you're taking a loan out you better get a ROI, something that doesn't often happen from a liberal arts degree at a lower ranked program.

Feb 26, 2018

This thread is no easier to read than the usual STEM-hardons

Feb 26, 2018

I have a liberal arts bachelors and a STEM masters so I think I can give a little bit of insight on both. They're completely different yet both valuable. Liberal arts teaches creative thinking in a much broader sense, whereas sciences are much more exact (duh) and require immaculate articulation of your evidence and thoughts. Play to your strengths/interests.

Honestly, I don't really get why everyone has a hard-on for coding. Mostly coming from people who've never really coded more than 'Hello world'. Coding is incredibly frustrating about 95% of the time. Also, if it's not what you're good at, you're better at just leaving it as it is. You'll be eaten alive by those who 'naturally' are adept programmers.

Feb 25, 2018
Zapadolos:

Liberal arts teaches creative thinking in a much broader sense, whereas sciences are much more exact (duh) and require immaculate articulation of your evidence and thoughts.

I would challenge your inference that you are a better creative thinker because of your liberal arts degree. All of us have taken classes in the liberal arts--heck, I took women's studies, for the love of Pete--and I never saw any evidence in my life how it made me a better thinker.

I love history and I'm passionate about history and I've long argued that having a command of world and American history makes you a better thinker, but I would challenge the notion that a 22-year-old with a history major actually has a command of history. Learning history takes years--a lifetime--of reading about topics and putting them into context. And learning history, philosophy, art history, etc. is not mutually exclusive to earning a STEM degree. I don't have a liberal arts degree but I would put my command of world history up against that of literally any 22-year-old history graduate from any school in America.

Feb 26, 2018
Troll - Aged 18 Years:
Zapadolos:

Liberal arts teaches creative thinking in a much broader sense, whereas sciences are much more exact (duh) and require immaculate articulation of your evidence and thoughts.

I would challenge your inference that you are a better creative thinker because of your liberal arts degree. All of us have taken classes in the liberal arts--heck, I took women's studies, for the love of Pete--and I never saw any evidence in my life how it made me a better thinker.

I love history and I'm passionate about history and I've long argued that having a command of world and American history makes you a better thinker, but I would challenge the notion that a 22-year-old with a history major actually has a command of history. Learning history takes years--a lifetime--of reading about topics and putting them into context. And learning history, philosophy, art history, etc. is not mutually exclusive to earning a STEM degree. I don't have a liberal arts degree but I would put my command of world history up against that of literally any 22-year-old history graduate from any school in America.

1) I'm not saying a 22-year-old with a history major actually has a command of history, nor that they're better at it than you. You probably know a lot more than them. I'm merely saying that liberal arts teaches creative thinking in a much broader sense than STEM. Although a class here and there helps, it kind of defeats the purpose of the program, in the same way as just doing Calculus II won't make you an abstract thinker.

To clarify, what I mean by this is that the nature of the program, especially the softer subjects liberal arts is known for (e.g. philosophy, history), teaches students how to coherently and convincingly put together arguments about a wide range of topics and argumentative structures, especially as there is often no conclusive 'evidence/argument' to convincingly swing a case one side or the other. As a result, there is often a lot more room for innovative arguments, different evidence, and different approaches compared to STEM in my experience.

The strength of (data-driven) STEM research is in the methodology and precise evaluation of the results. This is also true for STEM papers that are merely literature evaluations, at least in the life sciences. You're in the business of evaluating if the production of the data and subsequent conclusions is valid. I'm not that familiar with purely theoretical STEM fields so I can't comment on those.

2) I'm not saying liberal arts is mutually exclusive to a STEM degree. I'm personally an example of that.

Tldr: I'm merely saying liberal arts and STEM are both valuable because they put the accent of learning certain skills differently; most notably imo argumentation and style, versus precision and methodology.

Feb 26, 2018

The thing about these Billionaires and the profound wisdom they dispense is that there's an immense amount of luck involved in all of their stories that they often mistake for genius. No doubt Cuban is a great businessman who played his cards perfect, but he also probably isn't the most in touch when it comes to the struggle of being a college senior with 50K worth of loans just trying to get his foot in the door.

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Feb 26, 2018

interesting perspective... curious if Mark Cuban would actually prefer to hire Philosophy grads coming out of Arizona State, over Comp Science / Math grads out of Harvard or MIT? Talk is cheap.. lead by example!!

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Feb 27, 2018

Rejected, Best response of the thread! Well-said and spot on. Cuban can shout from the hilltops about liberal arts degrees becoming more desired by corporations. As the saying goes, though: "everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own set of facts."

That said, I'm curious how factual Cuban's opinion actually is. Speaking as someone who has an engineering degree and practiced for nearly 20 years, I can speak from experience. I can tell you that I don't know of a single position in my previous company where a liberal arts degree would be desired or successful (at least on the technical side), regardless of GPA or school of choice. They simply wouldn't even get the opportunity to interview.

I wouldn't expect a psych major to know how to solve a second-order partial differential equation anymore than I'd expect an engineering major to thrive in a major that studies humans feelings. Left brain/right brain thing. Doesn't make one better than the other, just different.

Feb 27, 2018

In terms of employment, I'd argue that the skills you build from your major matter a lot less than you'd think. I personally vouch for the economics major over a business-focused one, but at the end of the day, for Cuban's thesis to shine through, EMPLOYERS have to agree with him. Otherwise, the current system of using major largely as an indication of interest (with exceptions) will stay in place and filter many of those who failed to find other avenues into their desired path away.

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Feb 25, 2018
Tequity:

In terms of employment, I'd argue that the skills you build from your major matter a lot less than you'd think.

I definitely agree with this, and it's a larger commentary on college in America today. For example, I was reading the book "Math Myths" and the author (a lifelong math professor, if I recollect) pointed out that the average engineer doesn't use calculus and that maybe some engineering majors shouldn't be wasting their time in some of these classes.

Feb 27, 2018

Mark's claims hinge on the assumption that hard skill majors / educations such as CompSci, Finance, Accounting etc. don't teach you "how to think". This is about as far from the truth as possible. Oftentimes students are drawn to these types of majors BECAUSE of their ability / affinity to think critically.

Saying an electrical engineer can't think and just "does the mechanical work" is asinine. I'd bet my entire years salary that on average an engineer / finance student can do better in any critical thinking test than a liberal arts / philosophy major.

Hes right in some regards, in my experience, oftentimes individuals have told me solving a problem isn't as difficult as identifying the problems that need to be solved (whether that be in a company, industry, or in a specific project).

Claiming that a philosophy degree (oftentimes half-assed for the intent of "an easy degree") will set someone up for success in the next decade is complete bullshit.

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Feb 27, 2018
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Feb 27, 2018
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heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.