Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes interviewed Apple CEO Tim Cook in Chicago, IL. The interview was taped on Tuesday, March 27, and aired on Friday, April 6, 2018. Read the full transcript below.
The full video is not available online but you can listen to the full, uncut interview on Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. The audio is embedded below, or you can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Chris Hayes: Good evening from New York, I’m Chris Hayes. Tonight, something different. You may have already seen some of the news-making soundbites from our exclusive interview with Tim Cook of Apple, who sat down with Recode’s Kara Swisher and me at a townhall event in Chicago last week. Well, tonight we bring you a full hour with the Apple CEO. It was an illuminating discussion covering everything from Apple’s responsibility to American workers to their approach to customer privacy to exactly what Tim Cook would do if he were in Mark Zuckerberg’s shoes right now. “Revolution: Apple Changing the World” starts right now.
Announcer: Tim Cook. The leader of one of the most innovative and influential companies of our time.
Tim Cook: We’ve always infused humanity into our products.
Tonight, he opens up about how technology is revolutionizing education.
We want kids to be creators, not merely consumers.
About increasing concerns over privacy issues as personal information is being misused on the web.
Privacy to us is a human right.
And the most consequential issues Americans face … including immigration.
The DACA situation I am personally, as an American, deeply offended by.
From Chicago, this is “Revolution: Apple Changing the World.” Here are MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Recode’s Kara Swisher.
Hayes: Welcome to Lane Tech College Prep High School here on North Side of Chicago. We’re here to interview the leader of a company that revolutionized the way we communicate. One of the most recognizable brands on the planet and also, crucially, the most valuable company in the world: Apple.
Kara Swisher: And it’s poised to potentially become the world’s first trillion dollar company, raising new questions about its role and responsibility in everything from job creation to education to privacy protection. We’re going to talk about that and more. So let’s bring out the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook.
Tim, thank you for coming. I think they’re all excited to get new iPhones from you. (laughter) Just to be clear, this is not a discussion of that, you’re not announcing a new iPhone here, is that correct?
Swisher: Cause you’ve sometimes, you’ve teased them.
Swisher: Sometimes. We’re actually going to be talking about education. You had an event here in Chicago about education and about iPads and different things. Why don’t we talk a little bit about what you were announcing, what you’re trying to do.
Yeah. Well, we announced the new curriculum called Everyone Can Create, in recognition that, in addition to the regular courses that people get in school, that you could actually, if you intersect those with technology, you can amplify the level of learning and creativity in these classes. The purpose is that our view is that education is the great equalizer of people. And if you look at many of the issues that we face in society today, that you can find their root in that people don’t have access to quality education. Maybe they don’t have access at all. And that the country should be investing more in that. And what we’ve identified are some areas that we think we can help in. One of those is in coding education.
And so we not only have a curriculum around coding, but we crafted our own programming language, created it.
Swisher: But one of the things you spoke on and announced is this, frankly, the city of Chicago and Northwestern University.
Swisher: (CROSSTALK) -- you’re going to help teachers learn.
Swisher: Explain that. Explain that and then I want to get into the idea of whether everybody should code.
What we’re doing is -- what we’ve found is that most all teachers want a level of coding for their classes. You know, I talked to a teacher in Toronto a couple months ago, that has integrated coding into her mathematics class and she’s found that her students learned the mathematics lessons much faster and much deeper with coding introduced.
You know, our products help engage students in the learning process more. I mean, this is a, this is a proven thing. And so what we’re doing at Northwestern is working between Northwestern and Lane Tech, which is the high school that you’re at, obviously, working together to offer training to every teacher in the, in the system, that wants to come. Free training. Free professional development. And helping them integrate coding into their classes.
Swisher: One of the things that I hear a lot about in Silicon Valley, if you’re not creative, you’re not going to have a job; that they’ll be replaced by a computer and somebody — either by A.I. or automation or something like that. We can talk about that, but besides coding, let’s talk about where jobs are. Because there’s people working already and they have to be retrained and changed for the economy. Can you talk about where jobs are and what people who are currently working have to do to educate themselves?
Yes, I think, number one, I think we all have to get comfortable that education is sort of life-long — a life-long requirement. It’s no longer sufficient to go to school for 12 years and maybe some more in college and then call it quits for a lifetime. Jobs will be cannibalized over time and replaced by others. And now, those people that embrace that, they’re going to do incredibly well, and certainly the system to help people retrain has to be put in place and largely needs a lot of work right now to do that, but I think there are going to be incredible jobs in AI, AR. I’m a huge fan of augmented reality.
Swisher: You are.
I think it is huge, it’s profound, right? There will be still incredible jobs in many, many fields that exist today. I think we’re probably ... I think the narrative around doom and gloom is not correct.
Swisher: Well, what is it then?
Well, I think it’s more of, if you look back in history, when I started working as an intern, if I had a question for the accounting department, I went to the accounting manager and they would take a journal and open up the journal and find where they had manually recorded something. Obviously spreadsheets came along and that automated some of that and then more and more things happened over time with enterprise systems, etc. And so, we’ve had this significant productivity change in the United States for a long time, and there have been jobs that have been displaced, but frankly, many more jobs have been created than displaced. What we didn’t do a good job of is taking care of the people that were displaced and getting them into the jobs that were being created. That is a muscle the U.S. has not done a good job of building.
Hayes: And not for lack of trying. This solution, right, you’ve got the Trade Adjustment Act, you’ve got all sorts of job retraining funding starting all of it way back in Clinton ... The idea was, “Look, we now live in this era of creative destruction, jobs are going to go away, and the solution to that is retraining.” It hasn’t really worked. I mean, on scale, it hasn’t really been effective. Is there a responsibly that you at Apple or other tech companies have to be part of that rather than that being something the ...
Yes, I think as is the case in most huge problems that are complex, we should not all sit around waiting for government to tell us what to do. This should be something that government and business are working together on, and I do believe we have a responsibility. I feel it.
Swisher: But it is a narrative from Silicon Valley that it’s not ... it’s going to be like farming to manufacturing, there’ll be more and more jobs. Talk a little about the displaced workers. What can’t you be doing now? If you’re a worker, what would you be worried about?
Well, I am a worker.
Swisher: Yes. (laughter)
Hayes: Of a sort.
Swisher: Of a sort.
Of a sort. I think most people would say I’m a worker.
Swisher: You’re a hard worker, Tim.
But no, I think that all of us should count on, there’s an element of what each of us do that will be automated over time. And part of that, by the way, we should all say thank God because we’re all working too much. Wouldn’t society be great if we all work a little less, but we didn’t have to dial down our output? That wouldn’t be so bad. But I do think that we all have to get used to the idea of continually learning, refreshing our skills for the jobs of tomorrow. The jobs of tomorrow right now are heavily software-based. If you look in this country today, there’s a half a million jobs that are not being filled; they’re all software. Of that half a million — there’s more jobs that aren’t being filled other than software, but there’s a half million just software. And so, I mean there’s huge, that’s a huge gap. That number’s projected to go to two million over the next three to four years. And so that is enormous, right? And we’ve got to get more people interested in coding, we’ve got to reach out to women and underrepresented minorities that have been too low in coding. (applause) And I feel, for Apple, we’re taking the responsibility of doing that. We’re not just saying, “Hey, this school only has 20 percent women in this curriculum and so I can’t hire any more women.” I think that’s a cop out. I think the businesses doing that are not viewing their responsibility correctly. Businesses should be more than about making revenues and profits.
Hayes: Part of responsibility or social contract for anyone, right — citizens, nonprofits, corporations — is how we interact with government. Taxes is one part of that as well, regulation. You know, Apple just announced a huge investment in the U.S. right, repatriated all this money from abroad, paid a one-time tax fee. There’s a question now, does that change how Apple works going forward? A big argument about this tax bill was the U.S. tax code was uncompetitive and it forced companies to do things like incorporate in places like Ireland or the Island of Jersey so that they could avoid the onerous rate. Now that’s changed, now the money’s been brought back, does that change how Apple legally exists in terms of where it’s incorporated and what taxes it pays?
Yes. What it does, Chris, is that it allows you to take earnings that you are earning in other countries in the world — maybe you’re earning them in Latin America or the Middle East or wherever you’re selling your product — and it allows you to take those earnings and invest in the United States without a further penalty.
Hayes: Right, but is that a one-time thing?
No that’s an ongoing thing.
Hayes: Or is that an alternation permanently to the way you guys are incorporated?
That is ongoing. And that was the biggest thing in the tax thing from a corporate point of view. For your viewers, I want to distinguish corporate versus individuals.
We took no position on individual because we would just be a part of the peanut gallery. We have no special expertise there. It’s not something I would have done, right, or in that way, but the corporate piece I do believe is good for America because I think what the result of it will be is America will have higher investments.
And that’s essential.
Swisher: What about jobs that Apple has in this country.? Obviously you’re not going to make iPhones here; you never have, you’ve made them abroad the entire time, so have other companies created things. What would a bigger Apple business look like then?
Well, we’re hiring at least 20,000 people in the U.S., right, so that’s not a small amount. But the number of jobs we will create including that work for other people, we’ve already created two million in the U.S. and 1.5 million of those ...
Swisher: So they iterate as things iterate out.
Well, but not too far, iterating out too far. A million and a half of those write apps for your iPhone and your iPad. A million and a half. And the unbelievable thing about this is, the party of one can sit in the basement of their home, whether they’re in a rural area, urban area, wherever they would like to be, and they can create an app, and all of a sudden, they can sell their products around the world. That has been an unbelievable, empowering thing.
Swisher: So you don’t see it as a big factory? I know President Trump has said this, that there’s going to be factories and he’s been pressing people ...
Here’s what I see. Can we build ... We are building things in the United States. And it’s not true that iPhone isn’t built in the United States. Let’s talk about that for a minute.
Swisher: Okay, all right.
Here’s the truth. There are components of iPhone built in the United States. The glass is from Kentucky, there are mini chips — silicon chips — that are all made from all over the United States. There’s equipment that goes into manufacturing that’s all over the U.S. The very sophisticated face I.D. module on the iPhone X will be made in the United States.
Swisher: In Texas.
In Texas, yes. And so there are plants going in in many different places and we have always made many of the parts here. What people just fixate on because I think it’s just a misunderstanding, is that they just see where the final product is assembled and say, oh, that is not done in the U.S. But in a global world, you begin to do things in a variety of countries, and so you source components somewhere, some other components somewhere else, you assemble yet somewhere else. And then those product go everywhere in the world. That’s how a global system works.
Swisher: But there’s an existing political pressure around this idea of opening ... you know, Jeff Bezos, the headquarters thing, the idea of it. Is that …?
I don’t feel political pressure. Look, what we want to do at Apple, we know that Apple could only have been created in the United States. (applause) We know that. This company would not have been started in any other country in the world. It would not have flourished in any other country in the world. The vast majority of our research and development is done here. And so we love this country. You know, we are patriots. This is our country. And so what we want is to create as many jobs as we can in the U.S. We don’t need any political pressure for that. We’re already been doing this. (applause) And we want those to be across as much of the U.S. as possible. We’ve got a huge amount of people in California, we have a huge amount of people in Texas as a company. And so we said, you know, we’re going to create a new site. And we’re going to create it in a state other than California and Texas.
Swisher: There’s 48 more.
There’s plenty more.
Hayes: You did that in your head?
Swisher: Yeah I did.
There’s plenty more. And we’re not doing the beauty contest kind of thing. We’re not. That’s not Apple. (applause)
Hayes: What do you think about the beauty contest model? I’m watching cities line up to essentially throw subsidies and in some cases hundreds of millions of tax dollars at Amazon to get them to come. You’ve got Foxconn in Wisconsin that signed this big contract and the subsidies are now looking like they’re hundreds of millions of dollars there. What do you make of that kind of competition?
I think that each state ... I think the great thing about the U.S. is freedom. And I think if states want to compete for things, then God bless them. I think that’s sort of ... that’s a part of America. And so I don’t condemn it. I think it’s their decision. But from our point of view, we didn’t want to create this contest. Because I think what comes out of that is you wind up putting people through a ton of work to select one. And so you wind up ... That is a case where you have a winner and a lot of losers, unfortunately. I don’t like that. (applause) You know, my ... most things in life I do not view as win-lose. We always ... the best things you can ever do in business is find the win-win. You know, whoever you’re working with. If you’re trading between countries, you find a way for both to win. If you’re working with a partner in business, find a way for both to win. That contest is set up as a win-lose and not something I want Apple to be a part of.
Announcer: Up next on “Revolution”: Your privacy, and the shot heard round the tech world.
Swisher: If you were Mark Zuckerberg, what would you do?
What would I do? I wouldn’t be in this situation.
Swisher: Okay. (applause).
Hayes: We are back with Apple CEO Tim Cook. In the wake of the news about data scraping by Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, you had this to say recently, and I thought it was quite interesting. You said, “It’s clear to me that something, some large profound change, is needed. I’m personally not a big fan of regulation because sometimes regulation can have unexpected consequences to it. However, I think this certain situation is so dire, has become so large, that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary.” What’d you mean?
Yeah. Look, we’ve never believed that these detailed profiles of people — that has incredibly deep personal information that is patched together from several sources — should exist. That the connection of all of these dots, that you could use them in such devious ways if someone wanted to do that, that this was one of the things that were possible in life but shouldn’t exist.
Shouldn’t be allowed to exist. And so I think the best regulation is no regulation, is self regulation. That is the best regulation, because regulation can have unexpected consequences, right? However, I think we’re beyond that here, and I do think that it’s time for a set of people to think deeply about what can be done here.
Hayes: Now, the cynic in me says, you’ve got other tech companies that are much more dependent on that kind of thing than Apple is. And so, yes, you want regulation here because that would essentially be a comparative advantage, that if regulation were to come in on this privacy question, the people it’s going to hit harder aren’t Apple. It’s places like Facebook and Google.
Well, the skeptic in you would be wrong. (laughter) The truth is we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer. If our customer was our product, we could make a ton of money. We’ve elected not to do that. (applause) Because we don’t ... our products are iPhones and iPads and Macs and HomePods and the Watch, etc., and if we can convince you to buy one, we’ll make a little bit of money, right? But you are not our product.
You are our customer. You are a jewel.
Hayes: Well thank you, Tim. (laughter)
And we care about the user experience. And we’re not going to traffic in your personal life. I think it’s an invasion of privacy. I think it’s ... privacy to us is a human right. It’s a civil liberty, and in something that is unique to America, you know, this is like freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and privacy is right up there for us. And so we’ve always done this. This is not something that we just started last week when we saw something happening. We’ve been doing this for years.
Swisher: Let’s go to that privacy. An interview I did with Steve Jobs — Walt Mossberg and I did with him — right before he died, actually, where he was talking about this very subject.
Steve Jobs: Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for in plain English and repeatedly. That’s what it means. I’m an optimist. I believe people are smart and some people want to share more data than other people do. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of you asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do with their data.
Swisher: All right, let’s talk about that. (applause) What happens now with Facebook, Google, the others? There’s been a lot. There’s going to be Senate hearings, all kinds of things.
Well, I don’t think all companies are in the same position, right?
And so, I think one thing that is necessary is for ... I think everybody needs to understand Silicon Valley is not monolithic.
Right? I know it’s easy to kind of group people that are the same market cap or they’re big together, and think of it like ...
Swisher: Lot’s of hoodies.
But life is really different than that. These companies are really different, company to company. And, so, what I think has to be done, we have to think about how these profiles can be abused. And I might have a different view than you. I might be more on the privacy side than most, right? I suspect everybody has a personal different level of sharing that they will do, but everybody should know what they’re doing. Everybody should know what they’re giving up. And not only the specific data points, but the issue is more of the whole line that people can draw, right? It’s the ... when I know this plus this plus this plus this, I can infer a whole bunch of other things, and that can be abused. And it can be abused against our democracy. It can be abused for an advertiser as well. To me it’s creepy when I look at something and all of a sudden it’s chasing me all the way across the web. I don’t like that.
Hayes: Particularly when I bought it! (applause)
So I think what has to be done is, the type of information has to be looked at that companies can hold. I think the connection and sources of data have to be looked at. When you own many different properties, when you’re the owner of many different properties and I can take the information I’ve learned about you from this property, add it to what I learned about you here and here and here. And there’s no reasonable alternative for people.
This is not good.
Swisher: But you also have third-party apps.
Swisher: That you have, that they, that your apps get information from.
Swisher: And that was the issue, that’s the issue around Facebook, is a third-party app problem, besides them collecting information. So, first, what would you do about ... what do you do more about your third-party apps to police them? Because, I think, policing is the big issue around Facebook. And then if you were Mark Zuckerberg, what would you do right now?
We’ve always been focused on curation. We’ve also believed in curation.
So, we’ve always felt, as a platform owner, that’s a huge responsibility and that we should curate and so we ...
Swisher: You’re a media company?
Whatever you want to call us, we curate. We believe that ... We don’t want porn on our app store. We want families to be able to feel comfortable there. (applause) We don’t want hate speech on our app store, right? (applause) And we don’t want the ability to recruit terrorists on the app store.
Swisher: It’s a very ... it’s a valid ...
Right? We don’t believe that because we don’t like the guy on the corner store, what you sell in that store says something about you, and if you don’t want to sell that other thing, you don’t sell it. It doesn’t mean that you can’t use an iPhone to go to your browser and go to some porno site, if you want to do that, but ...
Swisher: Nobody does that. (laughter)
I’m not making fun of it.
Swisher: No, I know.
But I’m just saying that it’s not what we want to put in our store. We want kids to go to the store, right, because kids ... there’s a lot of learning, education apps in the store. And so, we’ve always done that. We’ve worked with the music industry to code “explicit,” and so a parent could say, “I don’t want my child listening to explicit content.” We’ve made sure all the movies are coded in such a way where you can say, “I only want my child looking at G movies,” or whatever, or we have a parental control around apps. You can say, “I don’t want them on these certain apps.” And so, this is something that we’ve always felt really responsible for.
Swisher: Mark Zuckerberg, what would you do?
What would I do? I wouldn’t be in this situation.
Swisher: Okay. (applause) All right.
Hayes: A follow up to that, right? So there’s a Facebook app in the Apple store, right, in the App Store. Is there a point at which you start to reevaluate that because the practices are something that you don’t want to essentially be selling in your store?
The question for us is did they meet the guidelines of the App Store and do they meet their policy, right? But I think that well-crafted regulation could change that policy, right? And if that happened or if we raised the bar some, then we have to look at it, but ...
Hayes: Let me ask one follow-up question about sort of this idea of curation.
Hayes: And then I want to get to somebody from the audience. Apple TV is another platform. It streams a bunch of different things, there’s a bunch of different apps. NRATV is one of those things. And I should say, full disclosure, I work for a company called Comcast that runs NRATV, right, so. But you guys have this view, right, that you’re not ... you have a different view in a lot of Silicon Valley, that you are curating new things. One of the questions that we got the most out on Twitter because of all the focus right now on the NRA and your praise of Parkland students was, “Why is Apple streaming NRATV?” and how should we interpret that in the context of the kind of ethos that you just described?
Yes, it’s a good question. First of all, we don’t stream it. We don’t stream it. We place the app in the App Store so somebody can go in and download it, and they stream the content. So the question on that certain app is we don’t want to take a view that throttles the public discourse on something, right? Public discourse is an important part of democracy. Discourse is ... democracy without discourse is not a democracy, right? And so, now, do I like their tactics, their positions? Honestly, no, and some of the things they’ve said are unbelievably distasteful, and I don’t even think represent their members well, right, from the people that I know from my heritage in the South and so forth. But their point of view, along with the alternate point of view, I think it’s actually important for the public to hear that, and I wish it could be done in a not vitriolic tone and all of the accusation and personal attack that is on there. I don’t subscribe to any of that at all. And you can bet that we continue to monitor, and if it walks into the path of hate speech or some of these other things then we’re cutting it off. All right. (applause)
Hayes: In some ways it’s sort of a perfect illustration of just how thorny this has gotten for everyone, right. Because Mark Zuckerberg is talking about, well, we’re trying to figure out whether calls to ethnic cleansings against the Rohingya in Myanmar violates our terms of policy. You guys get to figure out ... you guys have a lot of power right now. I want to take a ...
But I do want to make this point, in a democracy, free speech has to have as wide a definition as possible.
Hayes: I agree with that.
Right. It doesn’t have to include hate speech. At least in my definition of it, right. And certainly our store isn’t subject, we’re not the government, it’s not subject to that rule, but I ... we do want to allow as wide a discourse as possible without stepping over the line, right.
Hayes: I do want to bring in an audience member, Sarah Conklin, who works in social media marketing. What’s your question, Sarah?
Sarah Conklin: I wanted to know what’s something that we as individuals could do starting today to protect our own privacy and then start fighting for the privacy of each other?
Swisher: Tim, before we get to the next section, you were very strong on encryption.
Swisher: Brought it up, the idea of protecting privacy ...
Swisher: And you went against the government.
Swisher: The FBI today, same thing? Apple sticking with that?
Yeah. Yes. Absolutely. Here, let me give you ... The short version of this is the cyber risk for all of us, individually and as a company, has gone up exponentially even since that occurred. The only way to protect your data is to encrypt it. There is no other way known today. And so, if I were you, I would do business with no one that wasn’t doing that. Now, it is a thorny issue from a law enforcement point of view, because they may want to know what you’re saying, and I don’t have access to what you’re saying. And my view is kind of simple: I don’t think that you as a user expect me to know what you’re telling people, right?
I’m not eavesdropping on your messages and on your phone calls, and don’t think I should be in that position. And so, if they tried to compel us, as they did two years ago — they tried to force us to create a piece of software that would have it stolen, open hundreds of millions of iPhones in the world. We said, “Hey, there’s lots of things technology can do. That one shouldn’t be done. It should never be created.” And so we refused. They said, “You can’t refuse. We can make you do it.” We said, “No, you can’t. It’s against the Constitution.” And right before they went to court, they dropped the case. So if that same circumstance rose again, we would fight. Because this, again, is a value of America, right? You should not be able to compel somebody to write something that is bad for civilization. Right? (applause) This is a fundamental wrong. (applause)
Announcer: Still ahead: Tim Cook with some strong feelings on President Trump’s plan for “Dreamers.”
The DACA situation is not an immigration issue. It’s a moral issue. This is a moral issue.
Hayes: We’re back with Apple CEO Tim Cook. Obviously, the atmosphere, the rhetoric in the country on immigration, is very intense right now. I saw an interesting story about colleges reporting on the numbers of foreign students applying to the U.S. And there’s been an appreciable decline, right? That clearly seems to be related to the rhetoric coming from the White House, particularly. Apple’s a company that employs a lot of immigrants. What are you guys seeing on the front lines? Is it harder to recruit people to come here given the current political environment?
Yeah, I think on the student visa piece, I think part of it is the rhetoric. I think part of it is the cost of college is too high, and that not only effects our folks domestically, but it effects the international as well, and there are other international schools that are becoming more competitive as well. But here’s what were seeing. I talked to a lot of folks in our company. The DACA situation is one that I am truthfully, as an American, deeply offended by. (applause) The DACA situation is not an immigration issue. It’s a moral issue. This is a moral issue, (applause) and this is one that goes to the core of who we are as Americans. Who among us would think that it’s the right thing to do to kick somebody out of this country that came here when they were 1, 2, 3 years old, that have only known this country as their home, that know no other country as their home. This just doesn’t make any sense. And so I don’t like that the gun was ever fired here. It should have never been fired.
Hayes: In terms of revoking.
It should have never been done.
Hayes: The president should not have revoked it.
The Attorney General should not have revoked it. Whoever revoked it should not have done this. (applause) And I don’t see this as a partisan issue. This is not about whether you’re red or blue, conservative or liberal. This is about America, right? This is that simple. And so, I’m very disappointed with both parties that they have not acted. (applause)
Swisher: What have you been doing? You had met with President Trump. You were on ... you had different meetings with him, talked about these issues, you’ve brought up DACA. What are you all doing now, because you didn’t think it would get this far presumably, but what can you do now? You’ve spent a lot of time on all kinds of other things. What kind of pressure ...
I was just on the Hill a few weeks ago — two or three weeks ago — and this was a subject in every meeting I had, because at this stage, the people who can change this are inside the Beltway. And so all of us that feel passionately about this have to put our emphasis on those people that can vote, and we’ve got to bring them to action.
Both parties ... both people privately are telling ... both parties, everybody I’m meeting with, regardless of whether they have an R by their name or a D, are telling me that they do not want any of the DACA folks to leave this country.
Swisher: All right.
But they’re not doing anything, and that has to change.
Swisher: So what can Apple and all the tech industry or people with some ... you have some influence. What can you actually do?
You push on Congress and you push on the administration.
Hayes: You’re lobbying on this?
Oh, absolutely. I’m personally lobbying on this. (applause) I think that without rancor people can discuss the future immigration strategy for the United States.
Announcer: Coming up, more on Tim Cook’s plans to improve education, and why he thinks Apple will succeed where others failed.
Honestly, our perspectives is teachers are jewels. And we’re not - we don’t believe that technology can replace teachers.
Hayes: Can I ask a question about sort of tech and education more broadly, because it’s been an interesting relationship through the years. It’s obviously something that Silicon Valley depends on tremendously, right, that you need people that know how to code and have a good education. And there’s also this other way in which you’ve seen lots of folks from tech — the Gates Foundation, after Bill Gates retired from Microsoft, then Zuckerberg — kind of view education as a problem to solve. Right? Like it’s not working, we need to come in there and do it. And there’s been a lot of sort of I think hard lessons of humility there, right? A lot of solutions that have been tried that ... it looks harder than, maybe, it is. Do you feel like you have a sense of the challenges of education that you hear from the folks you’re partnering with?
Yeah, I think ... We’ve been in the classroom for 40 years and so that, that’s a big difference. I think too many people are standing on the sidelines and saying ... and blaming the teacher or blaming the administration or blaming whatever. And honestly, our perspectives are, teachers are jewels. And we’re not ... we don’t believe that technology can replace teachers. We think it’s the amplification. (applause) Our products are tools. And we make tools for people to be able to amplify their performance, right? They help people, not replace people. And so it’s the intersection of an inspirational teacher that cares deeply. And we, honestly, 99.9 percent of the teachers I’ve met fall in that category.
Hayes: I want to go to an expert on education that we have here, the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, Janice Jackson is here. (applause) So this is a question that comes from Twitter. And it relates to exactly what we’re talking about, right. How do you make this work in the classroom as a sort of force for equity as well. John Herseen says, “What is the point at which additional technology in the classroom stops helping students and starts distracting them?”
Janice Jackson: Well, I think it all depends on the teacher. And so what we’re excited about with Apple’s approach is again, this intersection between technology and it has teachers at the center, which is critically important. I think that when teachers plan lessons well, when students know how to use technology to be more efficient and effective in the classroom, I think it can only enhance the learning that’s taking place. I was a classroom teacher; there are many classroom teachers in this room that will tell you that students find all types of ways to be distracted. (laughter) But there’s one way ...
I would be distracted even before a smartphone. Amazingly.
Jackson: It’s true. But what I have also observed is that when you bring technology into the room, when you allow students to create something new, when you allow them to take ownership of their learning, they become much more engaged. And frankly, technology is a great way to do that. So we’re really excited about some of the opportunities, as well as the access to professional development for teachers throughout the city. We’re really excited about this partnership. I think as adults, we’re coming into this and learning the importance, and it’s being driven by the technology. But it’s mostly being driven by the demand from our students. They learn differently and they are asking us to catch up with the 21st century.
Swisher: And Tim, could you ... because the idea is like, some people could ... Look, you want workers. Like there’s such a deficit in the job. How can you make that argument that it’s coding that is the answer?
Well, I want America to be strong. First and foremost, I want America to be strong. And I believe that I ... one base for that is, I think, everyone needs to learn to code. I think that in today’s environment, software touches everything we do all day long, from the way you get your news to the way you order things. Software is nothing more, or coding is nothing more than a way to express yourself. It’s a language. The core skills in coding — critical thinking, problem-solving — these are things that are modern-day skills required for living. You need critical thinking to detect what’s fake and what’s real. Right?
Swisher: You need a lot more than that.
Well. (laughter/applause) And problem-solving skill is a basic skill, whether you’re in construction, whether you’re in farming — it doesn’t matter what kind of field you’re in, problem-solving is a basic skill. And so it’s not our expectation that everybody becomes a software programmer for life, by any means. The vast majority will not. But it’s important that people understand the basics of coding, just like it’s important for people to understand the basics of mathematics or other kind of core subjects.
Swisher: So what do you see as the challenges and responsibility for the tech industry going forward? And you’re one of its leaders. But there is a sense that they really have to step up and grow up in a way.
Well, because tech has become such a large percentage of the economy, generally speaking, the problems of the country are the issues that tech needs to deal with, right? And so, we talked about retraining earlier.
Tech needs to play a major role in this. We didn’t talk as much about diversity, but tech needs to increase diversity in a major way.
Swisher: They absolutely do.
Right? (applause) Tech needs to create jobs, right, because the country needs jobs. That’s a major role. I think we have incredibly great people in the United States. I think keeping America ... making sure that America is welcoming to people, because the products of today and tomorrow will be global products. And so you have to have people that represent the market that you’re selling to and so you need people from around the world. And so I think it’s very important that we have that mindset. And I am optimistic that we will. Current issues aside, I think the arc for America points in the right direction. (applause)
Hayes: All right, Kara and I want to thank Tim Cook for joining us, and a big thanks to everyone participating here at the Lane Tech College Prep High School on Chicago’s north side. You can see highlights and information about the next hour of this “Revolution” series at msnbc.com and recode.net. Our thanks again to everyone here in Chicago. Good night. (applause)
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.