Steve Jobs once talked about how the best ideas derive from intersection of technology and humanities. But when a company exhibits no humanity, what's left?
There are many things that a company can do with technology these days to make money. In fact, the Internet age seems to be about nothing else than dreaming up new software schemes to make money even if it means deceiving the customer, say, in a EULA or probing into people's lives to make money by selling juicy tidbits, preferences and habits.
Call it a monotechnical outlook on life. There is only one purpose for developing technology in the eyes of many executives, and that's to leverage customers, treating them as products, in order to gain personal wealth.
There's an old saying that the stingiest people are wealthy people. They didn't get wealthy by spending money.
As a result, whenever there's an opportunity to makes employees lives better, customer lives better, or to support a good cause, there is a natural resistance. The thought may arise: what if some other company out hustles mine? Will I lose out? Will I be squeezed out of business?
Several of the articles in this week's news debris, on the next page, suggest that there is, all too often, no room in the modern technical world to make humanistic concessions because they don't fit into the business-is-war scheme.
Loyalty is Earned
One reason why Apple customers are loyal to the company is because the values of Steve Jobs are instilled in the company. Mr. Jobs never believed in technology for the sake of technology just to make a buck. There has to be some underlying value that drives a company to honor the most noble interests of all people. Along the way, customers celebrate such a company and make it wealthy as an indirect effect. When the sacred trust is broken, cynicism and eagerness to escape ensues.
The heritage of Apple resides in some rather poignant images that we've come to recognize over the years. Movies of our children on the beach and then shared. FaceTime with a loved one overseas. A curated App Store that has ethical standards for how our apps should behave themselves. A thousand songs in our pocket. A smartphone that's handsome, durable, and safe to use. Or lose. Apple's video ads, if we overlook the past, keep us current on Apple's raison d'être.
This human element is what Apple tries to inject into all its products. Apple never took Google Glass seriously because, in my opinion, it fails to celebrate our humanity. Instead, it offends it. That human element is also why Apple develops security technologies that serve the customers rather than exploit them. Any yet many ignore Apple's efforts there to rationalize their tech-politics.
The intersection of technology and humanities negates a lot of the greed of monotechnologies where only cash is king. Tim Cook recognizes that if Apple ever departs from its core values, it will be a huge loss for humankind. And so, with any new product development, time and care must be taken so that humanistic value can parallel the dazzle. Without that graceful injection of the humanities into Apple's products, we will all be very lost indeed.
Next: the Tech News Debris for the Week of May 12