Apple’s Tim Cook sat down today with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Recode’s Kara Swisher for an interview following the company’s special education event yesterday. Cook shared more details about Apple’s vision for how tech and education will complement each other, the future of jobs, his ideas and some advice on privacy, and some choice words for Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
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Today’s interview was titled Revolution: Apple Changing the World and will air as a special on MSNBC next Friday, April 6 at 8PM ET. Like yesterday’s education event, we were onsite for the interview to bring you all the details of Cook’s first talk after Apple’s latest announcements.
The interview covered a variety of subjects, but focused, and started on the topic of education. Cook reiterated some of the comments and themes from yesterday’s event, like Apple having a long, 40-year history in education, and highlighted Everyone Can Code/Create, but also shared some new thoughts.
He said that the purpose of Apple being involved in education is to help solve many of society’s issues, as many of the problems are rooted in people lacking education.
When asked if he had a good sense of the challenges in education, Cook said that while many “people are on the sideline blaming teachers” and others, “teachers are jewels” and that “we don’t believe that tech should replace teachers” but rather amplify creativity and education.
The topic of technology being harmful for children came up, but Cook focused on the positives that tech can and do provide. “I’ve seen a lot of kids getting a lot of good out of technology.”
Getting back to the idea of the various troubles in education, Cook acknowledged issues in a broad sense, without getting into details. “There’s a lot more right about public education than there is wrong”, he said, and later adding that “we want kids to be creators, not merely consumers.”
The CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Janice Jackson shared that CPS has 80,000 iPads currently in use. For reference, there are roughly 370,000 students in the school system. She mentioned that they work to give administrators choice in what devices they choose, but that it comes down to device accessibility. She said she feels the cost of the new iPads are in line with other devices on the market.
The most interesting part of the education segment may have been when Chris Hayes questioned Cook over the tension between Apple’s cash pile and its proclaimed missions. Cook dodged the question by first mentioning that the company “hasn’t had access to the cash” before moving on to other topics.
CPS’ Janice Jackson mentioned the work the school system has been doing to try to bring more equality to education across Chicago. Hayes’ pointed question brings up the question, is Apple is really doing enough to make an impact? Or should it consider if it is doing the right things?
US investments, new campus, and jobs
As for Apple investing heavily in the US economy and building a new campus as outlined this past January, Cook said they wouldn’t treat picking a location like “a beauty contest kind of thing,” likely referencing how Amazon has been approaching the search for a new host city for its second headquarters. Amazon first started with a list of proposals from 238 cities.
From our point of view, we did not want to create this contest because I think what comes out of that is you wind up putting people through a ton of work. So that is a case where you have a winner and a lot of losers, unfortunately. I don’t like that.
He didn’t share any more details on a possible location for Apple’s next US campus.
On the topic of jobs, Cook talked about how there are currently 500,000 unfilled software jobs and that number could go as high as 3 million in the next few years. He said “we’ve got to reach out to women and under represented minorities” when it comes to encouraging education and training in the tech field.
On a macro level, he said that as some jobs become cannibalized by new technologies, we all need to “get used to the idea of constantly learning.” He also acknowledged Apple’s role and responsibility in making training and tools widely available.
There was some discussion of Cook’s current thoughts on DACA.
“I don’t see this as a partisan issue. I’m very disappointed with both parties,” Cook said. “It’s unthinkable that it’s happening in our country, it’s not who we are.”
Immigration is worthy of a national discussion. What is not worthy is kicking out those who have been here since they were kids.
Ultimately though, Cook shared a positive outlook on the matter.
I believe the right thing will happen here. But I’m very unhappy that we’re having to go through the angst…
The last major topic was privacy. To no surprise Swisher and Hayes brought up the Facebook controversy, and Cook had a sharp response to the question of what would he do if he was in Zuckerburg’s shoes, saying “I wouldn’t be in this situation,” to roaring audience laughter and applause.
Cook added that he believes “the best regulation is no regulation, self-regulation. However I think we’re beyond that,” referring to his earlier comments that some type of regulation may be needed for social media.
Speaking more on privacy on the whole, Cook reiterated Apple’s stance against using its customers and customers’ data as its product.
“We could make a ton of money if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that. You are not our product, you are our customer, you are a jewel,” he said, rousing applause.
Cook used the ‘jewel’ reference at least twice in the interview, as he worked to communicate the value he and Apple sees in teachers and its customers.
When asked by an audience member about his advice for those with privacy concerns, Cook recommended to “become deeply aware” of all the privacy policies of the apps and services that we use, but also noted how difficult it can be to sift through 20-page terms and conditions documents.
Cook also talked about monitoring and curating third-party apps, the NRA app on the Apple TV, the company’s interest in health, AR, AI and more.
The interview ended with an audience question about what advice he would give his high school-self.
I would tell myself that the joy is in the journey. And the real purpose of life, uh, everybody talks about find your purpose, find your purpose find your purpose… the truth is, we all have the same purpose, and so we should all quit looking. Our purpose is to serve humanity.
He went on to clarify…
Most people ask themselves the wrong question. The question they should be asking is “how should I serve humanity?” What will be my gift? And they should ask that pretty much everyday. Because you can give small gifts and you can give some large gifts. And it certainly doesn’t have to be money. It will be a gift of yourself and your passion.
For more, make sure to check out the full interview on MSNBC next Friday, April 6 at 8PM ET.