Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak: It’s up to people, not tech, to solve inequality

Steve Wozniak Apple

  • Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told CNBC that the problems of racism and discrimination cannot be solved by technology.
  • “There’s a limitation as to what tech can do. Tech is tools that humans use to get what they want and need, so it’s really humans in control,” Wozniak said.
  • “The communication abilities of our modern devices helps us get some truth, but not very much,” Wozniak added.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told CNBC on Thursday that the problems of inequality cannot be solved by technology.

“Unrest that we’re feeling, these are emotional things and tech is unemotional, so there’s a limitation as to what tech can do,” Wozniak said on “Squawk Alley.” “Tech is tools that humans use to get what they want and need, so it’s really humans in control.”

To be sure, Wozniak said technology plays a role in the process of addressing inequities by allowing people to access “facts and truth,” such as body cameras worn by police officers and cellphone footage from bystanders.

“In many cases where police are overusing force, relevant body cam footage, security cam footage, is there, but they’re under the control of the police, so we don’t get to see them,” Wozniak said.

Wozniak said that while George Floyd’s death in the custody of Minneapolis police was caught on camera, “there might be 100 examples just like George Floyd that we don’t get to see.”

“The communication abilities of our modern devices helps us get some truth, but not very much,” added Wozniak, who started Apple with Steve Jobs in 1976.

Floyd’s death in Minneapolis has set off nationwide demonstrations, focused on calling for police reform and highlighting racism in the U.S. The 46-year-old Floyd died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on the unarmed black man’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

Numerous leaders across corporate America have also spoken of the importance of addressing racism and inequality in the country. But Wozniak called on businesses to take concrete action, saying “words are just words.”

“You need real action to change things,” he said, comparing it to the process of innovation. “Even if you’re making a new product, … you might have 1,000 people around the world talking about an idea, and the one that actually makes it deserves the real credit for moving us forward.”

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