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
The Tech News Debris for the Week of May 12
Apple sells its iPad charger for US$19. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you tried to buy a cheaper charger, one that is perhaps even counterfeit? Ken Shirriff has the, ahem, shocking truth.
You've seen the rumor headlines about Apple introducing a split-screen, multi-app mode to iOS 8. It's certainly possible, but there may a bit tricker than thought. Andrew Cunningham takes a look at the ins and outs. "Bringing Windows 8-style multitasking to iPads isn’t as simple as it seems."
If you're arrested, do you have a right to record the process with your own smartphone? It's a good question and certainly needs to be worked out legally. In the meantime, a catchy headline (by a solid writer Chris Matyszczyk) draws our attention. "Woman records her own arrest, then charged with wiretapping."
I bring this next one up because there has been some thinking (me included) that if, and I mean if, Apple were to build the whole widget UHDTV, it may well have a curved screen. As only a single data point for your consideration, here's what David Katzmaier at CNET discovered in a home test run with his family. "My life with a curved TV: Day 1."
Image Credit: Samsung HU9000 UHDTV
Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS), also called land lines, is not so high tech. It can also be expensive compared to its utility thanks to all the taxes that have been added over the years. Even so, there are people in rural areas with no cell coverage — or who can't afford modern smartphones and contracts — who still need a land line. Wouldn't you know it, AT&T and Verizon are trying to accelerate the process of dropping them completely all too soon for some people. Jon Brodkin writes: " Verizon, AT&T leaving landline phone networks to rot, complaint says."
Dan Frakes at Macworld has noticed that there are a lot of things iOS Mail could be doing better, and he's compiled at great wish list. Check it out: "iOS 8 changes we'd like to see: Mail."
I've written before about how Apple is all about leveraging its expertise in security as a marketing edge. When the competition doesn't do as well, it comes to the very public attention of various people, in this case U.S. Senator Al Franken. "Senator Al Franken questions Samsung about the Galaxy S5′s security and privacy."
This next item doesn't relate specifically to Apple, but because we spend a lot of time covering smartphones, their cameras and security, this next by Russell Brandon may be of technical interest. "The camera on your phone might be the best defense you have." Perhaps Apple is already aware of this.
Does Microsoft have one last Ace up its sleeve to save the Surface tablet? I doubt it, but we'll find out for sure on May 20. Gregg Keizer asks if this event is a "Surface do-or-die moment?"
Finally, over that The Verge, Ben Popper reveals all when it comes to: "Game of phones: how Verizon is playing the FCC and its customers." If you read anything this week, read this.
Greedy CEO via Shutterstock.