Introduction: a day ago, foreign media Recode reporter Hayes and MSNBC’s reporter Hayes interviewed the chief executive of the Apple Corp, Cook, the three people on education, iPhone, personal privacy, Facebook and other important topics to launch a discussion.
The following is the main content of the dialogue:
Swishe: Thank you for coming to this interview, Tim. Not long ago, in the spring education conference in Chicago, you talked about education, talked about iPad, and talked about something else. Now let’s just talk about the topic mentioned in your conference, and see what the next step of Apple Corp is.
Cook: all right. In that conference, our company launched a brand new education course called Everyone Can Create. Because we realize that the level of learning and creativity in these classes can actually be greatly improved in addition to the conventional courses that people have accepted in ordinary school education. In our vision, education is actually a very powerful balancing instrument. If you take a close look at many of the problems faced by today’s society, you will find that the root is that not everyone can get quality education. Many people have no chance to receive education, and the state should invest more resources in this area. At present, Apple Corp has identified some areas that it thinks can help. One of them is programming education.
Swishe: please explain this point. After explaining, I want to understand again: why should everyone program?
Cook: what we are doing is actually we found that most teachers want to write a set of codes for their courses. As you may know, I talked to a teacher in Toronto a few months ago. She had an integrated code in her math class, and she found that her students were able to learn math classes faster and more deeply in a programming way.
Swishe: one of the things I often hear in Silicon Valley is that if an employee is not creative, he won’t have a job; and he will eventually be replaced by computers and others – either artificial intelligence or automation. We can discuss this problem. But in addition to coding, we can discuss the work in depth. Many people have already started work, but they must be trained again and have to make changes for the times and the economic changes. So, would you like to talk about the changes in the present work and what are the people who are working now need to do to improve themselves so as to ensure that they are not on the beach?
Cook: all right. First, I think we all have to admit that we are never too old to learn. You stay in school for 12 years, maybe in the university to learn a few more years, and then give up learning completely. Now, this is far from enough. As time goes on, some jobs will gradually disappear and others will emerge. Most people who embrace the age do very well. Of course, a system that helps people to get training and relearning is also very important, and to a large extent, we need to do a lot of work to improve the system. Anyway, I think there will be some incredible work in the field of AI and augmented reality. I am a fan of virtual reality technology.
Swishe: you are.
Cook: all these changes are too grand and shocking. In the future, many existing industries will have some cool jobs. Moreover, I think that pessimistic discourse on “the end of the day” is incorrect.
Swishe: can you talk about it?
Cook: I think it’s like – when I look back on history, I’ll find that when I started my internship, if I had a doubt about the accounting department, I went to the accounting manager to find a log, open the log, and find out what they were manually recording. It’s obvious that spreadsheets appear, some work processes are beginning to automate, and as time goes on, more and more new things have come into being with the enterprise system, and so on. So, for a long time, great changes have taken place in the productivity of the United States, and some work has been replaced, but more jobs have been created. What we do not do well is to take care of the displaced people and let them enter the jobs they are creating. This is a bad place in the United States…
Hayes: and not doing well because it didn’t actively try to do it. As far as this solution is concerned, yes, you already have the trade adjustment act. From the time of Clinton, you have all kinds of work retraining fund. The idea at that time was, “look, we are living in an age of destroying human creativity, and work will disappear, and the solution is retraining.” But it doesn’t really work. I mean, in terms of its size, it is not very effective. For Apple or other technology companies, do you have to be responsible for it instead of being…
Cook: Yes, I think, like most complex problems, we shouldn’t wait for the government to tell us exactly what to do. This should be the result of the joint efforts of the government and enterprises. I do believe that we have the responsibility. I can feel it.
Swishe: but this is a story from the perspective of Silicon Valley, rather than… This is just like people always say: from agriculture to manufacturing, there will always be more and more jobs. To talk about the situation of the unemployed workers. What can’t you do now? If you are a worker, what will you worry about?
Cook: if I’m a worker…
Swishe: Yes (laughs).
Hayes: to some extent, it is also a worker.
Swishe: to a certain extent.
Cook: Yes. I think most people would think that Cook is, to some extent, a worker.
Swishe: Tim, you’re a workaholic.
Cook: No, no, I just think we all should take the responsibility. Every one of us will do things one day. By the way, we should thank God for this, because our work is too heavy now. If we can work a little easier, but work efficiency is still the same, will our society be better? But I do feel that we should adapt to continuous learning and update our own skills for future work. At the moment, the future work is very dependent on software. If you look at our current state, about 500000 jobs are not done: all these jobs are software related.
Although there are many software related jobs and no one to do it, the 500 thousand jobs are purely software related. Here, what I want to say is that the gap we are facing is enormous. The number of jobs that can’t find the right person will grow to about 2000000 in the next three to four years, isn’t it a big gap? So, we need more and more people to be interested in programming, and we have been helping women and ethnic minorities learn programming. And I think we have a responsibility for apple. We are not saying: “this school only has 20% women in this course, so I can’t employ more female employees.” This is an evasion of responsibility. I think enterprises with this mentality do not face up to their social responsibilities. Business should not only look at revenue and profit.
Hayes: everyone – citizens, non-profit organizations and businesses – yes, part of their responsibilities or social contracts are the way we interact with the government. Tax is part of it, and regulation is also. You know, Apple has just announced that it will invest heavily in the United States, withdraw all these funds from abroad and pay taxes at once. Now there is a question, will this change the direction for the future of the apple? The biggest dispute about the tax bill is that the US tax law is not competitive and forces companies to take other measures, such as registering companies in areas such as Ireland or Jersey to avoid heavy tax rates. Now that the situation has changed, these funds have been withdrawn to the mainland. Will this change the Apple Corp’s registered address and the type of tax paid?
Cook: Yes. But this allows you to gain income from other countries – for example, you sell your products in Latin America or the Middle East or anywhere. And it also allows you to invest these investments in the United States without further penalties.
Swishe: what about the work that Apple offers at home? Obviously, you don’t make iPhone at home; you’ve never done that. You’ve been making iPhone all the time and entrusting other companies to produce your products. So, what is the bigger Apple Corp?
Cook: at present, we have at least 20 thousand employees in the United States. This is not a small number. But the jobs we create will also include services for others. We have created about 2000000 jobs in the United States.
Swishe: so they have been growing indefinitely.
Cook: not exactly. So far, 1 million 500 thousand people are developing applications for iPhone and iPad. 1 million 500 thousand people. And it’s unbelievable that people can sit in the basement of their homes, whether they are in the countryside or in the city, wherever they want to stay, they can develop an application and sell it around the world. This is undoubtedly an incredible and capable thing.
Swishe: so, don’t you think this is a big factory? I remember President Trump said that the United States must have factories…
Cook: I think so. We are developing and creating in the United States. It is not accurate to say that iPhone is not made in the United States. The fact is that the components of iPhone are indeed made in the United States. The glass comes from Kentucky, and microchips come from all States. The equipment used for production is also spread throughout the United States. The very fine Face ID module on iPhone X will also be made in the US.
Swishe: made in Texas?
Cook: Yes, it is made in Dezhou. So, there are various factories in different places. We have been producing components of iPhone in these factories. But people only pay attention to it, I think this is a misunderstanding, is the final product assembly. They would say that the finished product was not assembled in the United States. But in a globalized world, more and more you are starting to do different things in different countries. You get some component in a certain place, get other components in other places, and then assemble it in another place. Finally, these products go to all markets around the world. This is the way the global system works.
Swishe: but the political pressure surrounding the construction of factories in the United States does exist, doesn’t it? For example, the headquarters building of Geoff Bezos Zo of Amazon…
Cook: I don’t feel pressure. To put it this way, what Apple wants to do, we know that only the United States can create apple. It is all known to all. Nowhere else in the world can apple produce such a company. It’s not in America that apples can’t thrive so much. Most of our research and development work is carried out in the United States. So we love this country, too. You know, we are no doubt patriotic. This is our country. So what we want is to create as many jobs as possible in the United States. We don’t need any political pressure. We’ve been doing this already. We also hope that these jobs will spread throughout the country. We already have a large number of employees in California. We also employ a lot of employees in Dezhou. But as we have said before, we intend to develop new locations. We plan to set up new offices outside California and Dezhou.
Swishe: make a hypothesis. What would you do if you were Mark Zuckerberg?
Cook: what will I do? I will not allow myself to be in that dilemma.
Swishe: all right.
Hayes: after the exposure of the data scandal of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, you have expressed your views on this issue. I think your view is very interesting. You said, “I know very well that we need some profound change. Personally, I am not very supportive of regulation because sometimes regulation has unexpected consequences. But in this case, the situation has been so bad that I think we are going to have to take some kind of thoughtful supervision. ” Why do you say that?
Cook: Yes, we never expected the details of people, that is, the very detailed and deep personal information obtained from different sources. All of the connections, that is, if someone wants to do it, can use the data in a disgraceful way, which is actually possible in our life, but this should not exist.
Swishe: that’s right.
Cook: this situation should not be allowed to exist at all. So I think the best regulation is not regulation, but self regulation. Self regulation is the best way of regulation, because you have to admit that regulation will bring unexpected consequences. However, the situation is obviously too serious. I really feel that it is time for some people to sit down and think deeply about what we should do in this matter.
Hayes: but the scepticism in my mind is that you already have those things that other technology companies are more dependent on. So, you are now starting to call for supervision, because there’s no doubt that this is an advantage for you, because once the privacy issues are regulated, it’s not the apple, but the Facebook and the Google.
Cook: then the suspicious voice in your mind may be wrong. In fact, if we want to, we can make more money with user information. If our users are our products, we can make a lot of money. But we choose not to do that. Because we don’t need to… Our products are iPhone, iPad, Macs, HomePod and Watch and so on. If we can persuade you to buy these products, we can also earn a little money. But you consumers are not our products.
Swishe: next, what will happen to Facebook, Google and other companies? There will be many similar things in the Senate hearings and so on.
Cook: I think companies are in a different position. Moreover, I think it is necessary for everyone to have a clear idea that Silicon Valley is also diverse.
Swishe: that’s right.
Cook: there is a big difference between the company in Silicon Valley and the company. So I think one thing we have to do is that we must reflect on how these personal data are abused. And my point of view may not be the same as yours. I may be more inclined to privacy. I would assume that everyone shares different degrees of personal information, but everyone should have the right to know what they are doing. Everyone should know what they have given up. Not only refers to data, but people can draw conclusions from it. For example, when I know these and these, I can speculate on other complete things that can be abused to oppose our democracy, or to be abused by advertisers. For me, when I looked at something, all of a sudden my actions on the network were tracked and monitored. This is very frightening. I don’t like this kind of thing.
Hayes: especially when I paid the money!
Cook: so I think what we have to do is that we must consider what kind of information companies can hold. Personally, I think the connection between data and data sources is worth considering. When you have a lot of different attributes, when you are a holder of a number of different attributes, I can get the information I know about you from this attribute, and then combine it with your information that I know from other places. For people, he has no other reasonable choice.
Swishe: but you still have third applications.
Swishe: these third party applications will get information.
Cook: that’s right.
Swishe: This is the problem. It is also a problem faced by Facebook, that is, the third party application problem, which collects user information across Facebook. So, first of all, what will you do? What measures will you take to manage the third party application? Because I think regulation is also a big problem for Facebook. So again, what would you do if you were Mark Zuckerberg?
Cook: we have been paying great attention to the comprehensive processing of data and information. We are very confident about this. Because we always think that as a platform owner, we have a great responsibility for the integrated processing room of data information, so we…
Swishe: so apple is a media company?
Cook: just how to define it. The key is to integrate data and information. We don’t want pornography to appear in our application store. We want parents to feel comfortable with the application store. We don’t want hate speech to appear in our application store, and we don’t want to see our application stores being used to recruit terrorists.
Swishe: it’s very reasonable…
Cook: is that right? We don’t agree with that, because we don’t like the guy in the corner. What you sell represents yourself. If you don’t want to sell something else, you won’t sell it. This is not to say that you can’t browse some pornographic websites with iPhone. You can do this, but…
Swishe: no one will do that. (laughs)
Cook: I’m not making fun of this.
Swishe: I know what you mean.
Cook: but what I want to say is that we do not want pornography to appear in our app store. We hope that our children can also use our application store because we have many teaching applications in the application store. We have been doing that all the time. We work with the music industry to introduce “explicit” programming so that parents can say, “I don’t want my children to listen to something.” Of course, all of our movies are programmed in this way, so you can say, “well, I just want my kids to see a G movie,” or, anyway, we set up parental control for the application. In this way, you can say, “I don’t want children to use these applications.” So, that’s what we’ve always been responsible for.
Hayes: there’s a question from an audience here. Sarah. She worked in social media marketing. Excuse me, what’s your problem?
Sarah Conklin: I want to ask, what can we do today to protect our privacy and start protecting other people’s privacy?
Therefore, I think the most important thing is that you need to be vigilant at all times. If you pay great attention to privacy, I think I will use no trace browsing mode. We provided this function on Safari, and at least some things will not happen in the scratch free browsing mode. I will also consider banning cookies. These little things will follow you everywhere. If you have children or guardians, I will be very concerned about what they are doing, because I always think that having a child is the most terrible and shameless thing that has happened in the world, and I’m very worried about it.
Hayes: obviously, in our country, the mood and opinions of immigrants are very tense at present. I read an interesting news report about the application of University reports. The number of overseas students studying in the United States is decreasing obviously. This is no doubt related to the message from the White House. But what kind of situation do you see when Apple employs a large number of immigrants? Is it difficult to recruit overseas staff to work here under the current political environment?
Cook: on the issue of student visa, I think the attitude of the government is a problem, but the high tuition fee is also a problem. The high tuition fees affect not only domestic people but also international students, and other international schools are becoming more competitive. In Apple’s case, I talked to many of our employees. As an American, I really, really hate DACA. Postpone repatriation is no longer an immigration issue, but a moral issue. This is a serious moral issue, which is exactly what we Americans are. Who among us will think that this is our right to come to the United States when we are young, only the United States as their own home, and that there is no home in other places to drive out of this country? That is completely undone. And I’m against guns, too. All guns should be controlled.
Swishe: Well, apple and all other technology industries and people are more or less affected. What can you do for you?
Cook: you can push the Congress and push the government.
Hayes: are you lobbying the government for that?
Cook: of course. I’ve been talking about this in private. I think people can calmly discuss the future immigration policy of the United States.
Hayes: can I ask a broader question about science and technology and education? For these years, the relationship between technology and education is becoming more and more subtle. Obviously, Silicon Valley is very dependent on this kind of relationship. You need to know about programming and talents with good educational background. And many scientists in science and technology are keen to see education as a problem that needs to be solved, such as the Gates foundation after Bill Gate’s retirement, then Zuckerberg and so on. But the effect is not good, people have learned many lessons. Many solutions have been tested and found that facts are more difficult than imagined. Do you feel the challenge of education from the communication with people you work with?
Cook: I think… We have studied for more than 40 years, so the situation has changed a lot. I think too many people just stand by and criticize teachers or criticize the government or accuse this. But to be honest, in our view, teachers are the most valuable resources. We do not recognize that technology can replace any teacher. We believe that technology can help teachers. Our product is only a tool. We develop tools to make people work better, don’t they? Tools help us, not replace us. So, what is important is the instructive teacher. Luckily, 99.9% of the teachers I met were very good at inspiring.
Swishe: you said, many jobs are not enough. But how can you say that programming is the answer to the problem?
Cook: I hope the United States will become stronger. This is the first and the most important. I believe that one of the foundations of this vision is that everyone should know about programming. I think in today’s environment, software is closely related to our daily life, from the way you get news to the way you shop. Software or programming is nothing more than a way of self expression. It is a language. The core skills of programming — critical thinking, problem-solving ability and so on — are all necessary survival skills in modern life. You need critical thinking to determine what is true and what is false, is not it?
Swishe: you need more than that.
Cook: that’s right. But the ability to solve problems is always the most basic ability. Right? Whether it is in construction or agriculture, in any industry, the ability to solve the problem is always the most basic ability. Therefore, we do not mean to make everyone a software engineer. Most people don’t choose this road. But it is important that people understand the basic knowledge of programming, just as people know about basic math knowledge or other core topics. (SAIN mu)