Apple's Jony Ive On The Unpredictable Consequences of Innovation
The nature of innovation is that you cannot predict all the consequences
Twenty-five years ago, WIRED was founded with the mission of chronicling the ways technology was transforming society. Around the same time, a young designer named Jony Ive moved from Britain to San Francisco to take a job at Apple developing, he hoped, society-transforming products. But as Ive acknowledged Monday at the WIRED25 Summit, change is rarely foreseeable—and seldom unambiguously good. "The nature of innovation is that you cannot predict all the consequences," said Ive, who now serves as Apple's chief design officer. "In my experience, there have been surprising consequences. Some fabulous, and some less so."
Ive, who was interviewed at the summit by Anna Wintour, the artistic director of Condé Nast and longtime editor of Vogue, talked about everything from Apple's penchant for secrecy to the social and civic responsibilities of tech giants, which today possess not only powerful sway over the media landscape but a strong grip on the attentions of billions of people. In fact, Wintour's opening question directly confronted Apple's contribution to digital dependence. "First there were iPhones, and now there's iPhone addiction," said Wintour. "How do you feel about that? Is the world too connected?"
Ive—who, while known for being shy, is also notoriously loquacious—responded succinctly: "I think it's good to be connected. I think the real question is what you do with that connection." Like many tech giants, Apple recently unveiled a suite of tools meant to help keep your obsession in check. "We've been doing a lot of work in terms of not only understanding how long you use a device, but how you're using it," Ive said.
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