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Developing, Deploying, and Managing Technology for Community: Engineering Informed by Human Values

Research & Inquiry

Jun Sawada

Published September 22, 2023

Kahn Institute Short-Term Project, October 24, 2023



Jay Garfield, Philosophy
Andrew Guswa, Engineering


This one-time seminar will be led by Jun Sawada, Chairman of the Board of Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT, the world’s largest telecommunications firm) during his visit to Smith College. He is concerned with the failure to date of new telecommunications and information technologies to reduce inequality and to build community, and is interested in new, communitarian philosophical foundations for thinking about the development, deployment, and management of technologies, a topic he would like to discuss with the Smith college faculty. This seminar will address questions such as these:

  • To what degree is communication and information technology undermining or building community?
  • How could we enhance its ability to build community?
  • What is the role of the humanities in guiding the development, deployment, and political management of new information and communication technology?
  • How does the ubiquity of technology in our lives demand a rethinking of what it is to be a citizen?

Sawada-san has recently led NTT in founding the Kyoto Institute of Philosophy, a research institute devoted to addressing these and related questions. The director of that institute, Prof. Yasuo Deguchi, of Kyoto University will participate in this seminar, which may inform the projects undertaken by the institute, an institute that may create research opportunities for Smith faculty and students.

Fellows will meet together at the Kahn Institute, 4:30-6:30 p.m. for a seminar followed by dinner together at the Conference Center.

In addition to the seminar and dinner for fellows, there will also be a public panel discussion with Mr. Sawada, Professor Deguchi, and Jay Garfield that day at noon in the Campus Center, Carol Room.

Apply by Thursday, Friday, September 22, 2023

Yasuo Deguchi is Vice Provost for Humanities, Vice Dean of the Graduate School of Letters, and Professor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Kant, the philosophy of science, paraconsistent logic, Buddhist philosophy, and analytic Asian philosophy. He is currently working on a collectivist metaphysics of personhood, the Self-as-We and a collective theory of action.

Jun Sawada is Executive Chairman of NTT Corporation. He began his career in 1978 at NTT Group and served as CEO from 2018 to 2022. Sawada san is also Vice Chair of Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation), Chairman of the Japan-U.S. Business Council, and a member of the Board of Councilors of U.S.-Japan Council.