Beki Grinter

Steve Jobs, Georgia Tech and excitement about technology

In academia, computer science on October 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Late yesterday, like others, I learnt of Steve Jobs passing. As so many have said so eloquently, we lost a creative genius.

Today I went to class, and I decided to talk to the students about this. I wanted to also make them aware that two other very important people had died, Fred Shuttlesworth (civil rights leader) and A. Neilsen (of the television ratings fame). This seemed especially important as the world was mostly focused on Steve Jobs. And then we talked about Steve Jobs, and we had a conversation whose length surprised me. Many of the students I teach will tell you that Apple products are outside of their price range, a number of them want to use open systems only, but all of them uniformly talked about the excitement of technology that Apple generally and Steve Jobs specifically created.

We talked about how our friends and family came to understand tablets through the iPad, how the iPod changed the experience of music. How the iPhone was like a digital Swiss Army Knife. And of course, how unfair it was that Steve Jobs died so young and of such a cruel disease.

And I thought two quite distinct things. First, I agreed with them very much. In all respects. Second, I was delighted that they could all see and relate to the idea that whether you owned them or liked them, Apple did create an experience that changed the ways that they talked about technology with non-technologists. I left that class thinking that the creativity of Apple and its leader, has had a profound affect on how people view technology. It was a moment to pause and reflect. I was delighted to reflect with my class, for they are collectively very wise.

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