Steve Jobs on Technology Use

One overarching issue with using technology, especially in this age where smartphones are ubiquitous and social networks are omnipresent, is our pernicious addiction to our devices in everyday life.

Recently, two articles caught my attention on this issue. Both of them had to do with the previous Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. The first one by Nick Bilton in the New York Times detailed his conversation with the tech visionary in 2010. Here is a quote from the piece:

“So, your kids must love the iPad?” I (Nick) asked Mr. Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company’s first tablet was just hitting the shelves. “They haven’t used it,” he (Steve) told me. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”

It was intriguing to me that the CEO of the biggest tech company in the world advocated no technology use in household interaction (by technology I meant mobile computing devices with network connectivity). While the first article was interesting, it was the second article that truly impresses me of the wisdom of Steve Jobs. It was written 26 years before the NYT article, back in 1984, when Mr. Jobs gave a long interview to the Playboy magazine after the Macintosh was just released. In the interview, when asked if computer was going to be instrumental in the productivity of human beings in the next few decades (remember this was 1984, no pun intended), again I quote, but this time from the Apple co-founder himself:

The point is that tools are always going to be used for certain things we don’t find personally pleasing. And it’s ultimately the wisdom of people, not the tools themselves, that is going to determine whether or not these things are used in positive, productive ways.

While this quote was primarily referring to the potential misuse of technology in developing weaponry, it could also be interpreted as our addiction to computer devices that ultimately leads to our losing sense of touch to the humanities as well as the human-human interaction that exists since the beginning of time.

I cannot shake the feeling that his wisdom led to his (and his families) non-technology use in his household. Personally, I believe he is right.