Tuesday Talk ~ Trying Times

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011 (Image from the Mac Observer)

We sure live in trying times. We have tin-pot depots not only controlling odd minor states like North Korea, but major powers  (Russia and the US). We live in the kind of surveillance state that would have made Orwell and other visionaries wretch with anxiety, and this surveillance state has only one redeeming feature: we can also surveil. When you walk down the street, there may be multiple surveillance cameras handing you off one to another and tracking your progress, but if something happens in front of you, you can whip out your smartphone and record it too, and in this way these very surveillance authorities can also be held to account.
This continues in other ways, too. Even your innocent Snapchat or Insta video could record and reveal details about your life and experiences, if collected or inspected by someone else.

One of the men responsible for our personal surveillance tools (iPhones) is Tim Cook. In many other ways, Tim Cook has to contend with issues his predecessor and mentor Steve Jobs never had to contend with. Jobs may have put money into, for example, democratic presidential campaigns, but he never had to deal with a president attacking the immigrant worker base, for example, which may result in nearly 800,000 Americans being cast out of the only country they’ve ever called home, or trying to pass phobic anti-transgender measures while generally just being an ill-tempered big-mouthed gobshite. I mean, we’re used to Republican presidents who appear a bit thick, like Reagan and Bush, but demonstrably deranged heads of major states? Not really since Roman times.

It’s hard to say if Steve Jobs would have tried to do anything concrete about these things, but Tim Cook is a very different kind of person. Morally and as an example of human kindness, Cook has it in spades over Jobs’ public persona, at least (I imagine Jobs could be kind in person).
You might criticise Cook as lacking product vision (we have to expect Cook is smart enough to employ those, of course) but Tim Cook didn’t elevate himself into the position of Apple CEO: it was Steve Jobs who did that. And Jobs absolutely was a visionary, so we should trust his judgement on that.

So, Tim Cook: all the best, good luck and kia kaha. 

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