This post was originally published on Medium, where I may publish more things first until I finish my redesign.
The tech industry wants something new so they can continue to avoid addressing real-world problems
Tom Krazit, writing for GigaOm:
Let’s hope [Apple’s] next breakthrough comes soon. Technology is a more interesting subject when we’re all watching something new and exciting bloom.
Krazit is partly right: technology is a more interesting subject whenever Apple releases something amazing. But Apple does not exist for the entertainment of tech geeks, nor does it release products for their amusement or discussion.
What troubles me is this belief being echoed around tech blogs and communities over and over again, with so much time spent and wasted on the latest Apple rumors, how Google or Samsung are beating Apple, or anything along those lines.
Sure, these are interesting subjects, but not new at all. Apple has been around for 37 years, and during that time they’ve been one of a handful of key companies revolutionizing the world through technology. Of course we’d like more revolutionary products; there’s nothing wrong with that.
But there’s a world of 7 billion people out there who can benefit from products not made by Apple. There are gigantic social, economic, environmental and political problems to be solved all over the world. Technology—through both hard- and software—often plays a critical role in facilitating people to address these problems, sometimes even solving them through technology outright.
Om Malik and Nick Bilton both just wrote about the echo chamber of San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and how it leads people to focus on minute problems that only really matter to those who live within the echo chamber. News and media reporting contributes to this; while it’s great to see Tim Cook talking about Apple and what it is up to, it is unlikely that Apple will solve the hunger crisis, or the climate crisis and the slow, global collapse of our environment. Similarly, Apple likely won’t solve oppressive governments or fix income inequality. But all of these problems need to be solved.
I write this not to disparage or not acknowledge the incredible work done by those companies and people in technology who already aretrying to address these bigger problems; I’m writing this to encourage many, many more people to follow suit. And if you need any inspiration, here are some ideas.