Apple CEO Tim Cook tells MIT grads: Don't let technology divide us

Apple CEO (AAPL) Tim Cook addressed MIT graduates Friday, stressing the need for humans to moderate the vast power of technology to perpetuate kindness, instead of evil, across the globe. “Technology is capable of doing great things," Cook said. "But it doesn’t want to do great things. It doesn’t want anything,” he explained, indicating that gadgets are morally neutral. 

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Describing a meeting he had with Pope Francis, Cook recalled the Pope saying, “Never has humanity had such power over itself, yet nothing ensures that it is used wisely."

As society becomes increasingly inseparable from devices such as Apple’s iPhone, Cook explained that at its core, technology represents humanity’s fundamental struggle between good and evil. Cook said it is the people behind the technology that decide whether it is used to better society, or harm it — citing security threats, privacy threats and fake news as ways technology can “divide us.”

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“I’m more concerned about people thinking like computers without values or compassion, without concern for consequences. That is what we need you to help us guard against," Cook told the graduates. "Because if science is a search in the darkness, then the humanities are a candle that shows us where we’ve been and the danger that lies ahead,” Cook said.

The Apple CEO also addressed climate change, recalling one shareholder meeting where an investor sought assurances the company would only make green investments that could produce a demonstrable financial return. In reply Cook told the investor, “If you can’t accept our position, you shouldn’t own Apple stock.”

Despite references to the environment, Cook, who has been openly critical of President Donald Trump, largely stayed away from political topics Friday, joking just once that MIT students must’ve “hacked” the president’s Twitter account to tweet at 3 a.m.

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