Humanity has problems. We’re good at creating problems. We’re not so good at creating solutions for the problems we create. Let’s talk online censorship. Let’s talk freedom of speech. Let’s add to the mix, our baseless convictions.
Apple gives us tools we can use in almost any endeavor. iPhone, for example, comes with access to a million applications, a camera, productivity apps, games, and apps that let us access anything good and everything bad. Apple curates much but cannot protect us from ourselves.
Because I Said So
When you were a child or even nearly a young adult, you wanted to do something that your parents would not let you do. You asked, “Why not?” Sometimes parents would explain in detail all the reasons why you were prohibited from such and such, but sometimes they would respond with a simple, “Because I Said So!”
Fair enough. As a parent it’s likely you’ve already done the same thing. Yes, “I am my father (damn it)!” is a real thing. There are times when each of us think we have generated a worthy conviction only to find out later that our beliefs were baseless.
That happened to me back when I believed the earth was round until one of The Flat Earth Society members told me they had chapters all over the globe. Uh, OK. These kinds of revelations happen often when we dare to expose ourselves to something else besides our own little worlds. Apple’s iPhone and iPad and Mac help to do that. So do Windows PCs and Android smartphones, but I have a baseless conviction that those platforms are not worthy of my time and effort.
To a flexible degree, Apple curates the content it sells (no p-o-r-n on iTunes or Podcasts, but filthy language on Apple Music; go figure, right?). No Alex Jones’ Infowars on iTunes or Podcasts, but it’s OK to use Safari to browse to wherever Jones’ messages can be found. Jones and his non-mainstream media messages have been banned from much of Facebook, most of YouTube, and some of elsewhere, but his app remains on the iOS App Store.
Apple executives seem to care about customers, but that care has limits. Why? Because humans have limits. We can reason with ourselves all day about a particular position, and never make a change because we are infected with baseless convictions that reign supreme because of human emotion, not human logic (not sure if that’s a thing, but Spock had some). Facts just don’t change minds like they used.
Apple tries to help us by curating the App Stores but fails here and there because, well, executives are humans and we humans have limitations. Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker:
Among the many, many issues our forebears didn’t worry about were the deterrent effects of capital punishment and the ideal attributes of a firefighter. Nor did they have to contend with fabricated studies, or fake news, or Twitter. It’s no wonder, then, that today reason often seems to fail us.
We may want a savior, but I fear Apple is not and cannot do enough to save us from ourselves.
We have met the enemy and he is us.
Can Apple save us from ourselves? It’s beginning to look at lot like no.