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We Have Lost Our Way

You know, we have the power to create a perfect world. A free world where suffering is minimal and hope is bountiful. Instead we take what…


You know, we have the power to create a perfect world. A free world where suffering is minimal and hope is bountiful. Instead we take what we create, that begins in innocence, and we create monsters. This is what is happening in technology. Listen to Steve Jobs in Sweden in 1985:

No doubt, Steve Jobs wanted Apple to influence the world in a positive way.




Jobs wanted us to think of possibilities and be brave enough to change the world with new ideas. He wanted the internet to enlighten and unite us as humanity, not deceive us and divide us. But as things go, we lost our way with technology and the internet is used for money and power. The power of Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple is somewhat scary. What are they doing to change the world for good?

The early adopters of the internet saw freedom in its use. The ideal that users would become more open and able to use their power of speech. The internet was a hope to make the world smaller, more open, and more enlightened. The opposite is happening.

Amazon seems to control what we buy and who we buy it from. As more companies crumble to Amazon, we lose choices. Do we really want to buy everything at Amazon? As Bezos continues to automate work, people lose jobs. Amazon does not attempt to be on the forefront of making society better by becoming a voice for workers today and in the future. In fact poor pay for workers, poor working conditions, and the refusal to help Seattle with a growing homeless situation speaks volumes of the Amazon mindset.

Facebook, is not sharing our moments, but stealing them for profit. What is Facebook doing to change the world for good? Nothing. Facebook is deceiving users and without consent selling their personal information. Facebook offers little transparency and yet works not for freedom and enlightenment, but rather quite authoritatively in its desire to own people with their posts and personal information. Instead of speaking of freedom, they have acquiesced to strong man regimes to alter the Facebook site to give governments control.

Google, seems friendly, but not so much. They track users without their knowledge. It is as if we are being watched constantly. How does that fit into freedom? It doesn’t. They are currently working a new program, built just for China that will not open the doors of freedom to Chinese users, but give authority to the government.

And it revives an age old question about where the line is between “respecting the rule of law in markets where we operate,” a standard tech company response to doing business on foreign soil, and “enabling authoritarian rule,” which is pretty much what Google will be doing should it actually launch the Dragonfly app. -John Battele

Why are companies trading values for profit at all costs?

This is what Tim Cook said of working at Apple:

Cook, who took over the reins at Apple after the death of company co-founder Steve Jobs, described his own years-long search for such a purpose, that culminated when he first met Jobs and went to work for the company. “Before that moment,” he said, “I had never met a leader with such passion, or encountered a company with such a clear and compelling purpose — to serve humanity.” -MIT News

Is Apple serving humanity? They build throw away products that end up in landfills. These products are built by cheap labor.

But Cook said this:

“The truth is we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer, if our customer was our product,” Cook said. “We’ve elected not to do that.”

And this:

“Privacy to us is a human right. It’s a civil liberty, and something that is unique to America. This is like freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” Cook said. “Privacy is right up there with that for us.”

If any technology company is pulled by values, Apple is it. It ventures off the path in search of profits and shareholder glee. But inside the soul of Apple is a dedication to values.

As a species, we are losing values to short sighted goals of profit. As we see now, this is not sustainable.

Listen to Tim Cook’s tribute to Steve Jobs:

Why are we losing something “wonderful.” We no longer create and build with “love and care.” We are not building with humanity in mind. We build to make lots of money. It has become so toxic, that our values are no longer front and center, but lingering in our deep self conscious.

Can we go back and go forward at the same time? I think so. Steve Jobs and Tim Cook both gave commencement speeches that reached out to the youth in America and around the world. Listen:

As important as profits are, they are not worth losing who we are. We must put into perspective the “why” of what we do. The big “why” should be service to humanity. We must rethink where we are going and is it where we want to live.

“I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.” -Steve Jobs

Saying no can change the world as much as saying yes. We must always look at the world we are creating. Perhaps the tech giants must reflect not just on their corporate numbers, but on the future that awaits us.

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Originally published at medium.com

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