Apple CEO Tim Cook Warns MIT Students of Technology’s Downside

Tim Cook and Eddy Cue at MIT Commencement Address

Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered MIT’s commencement speech this weekend, and his message was to beware the adverse consequences of technology. That might seem counterintuitive from the leader of the world’s most valuable tech company, but the underlying message is that technology should serve humanity, not the other way around.

From CNBC’s coverage of the speech:

“Most of the time [technology] is a force for good,” Cook said. “But the potential adverse consequences are spreading faster and cutting deeper than ever before. Threats to our security, threats to our privacy, fake news, and social media that sometimes becomes anti-social.”

Technology must be infused with decency and kindness, Cook said.

“I’m not worried about artificial intelligence giving computers the ability to think like humans,” he said. “I’m more concerned about people thinking like computers.”

Tim Cook on Serving Humanity

He also made the case that Steve Jobs hiring him at Apple lifted a “psychological burden,” freeing him to do work that served humanity. Some might take issue with the idea that Apple technology serves humanity, but rumors of non-invasive glucose monitoring in Apple Watch bolster Mr. Cook’s position.

“How can I serve humanity?” Mr. Cook said. “This is life’s biggest and most important question. The question I hope you will carry from here is, ‘How will you serve humanity?'”

Don’t Feed the Trolls

Mr. Cook also encouraged the students to not feed the trolls, saying: “I’m optimistic because I believe in your generation. There’s so much out there conspiring to make you cynical. […] Don’t listen to trolls.”

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