Go to contents

[Op-Ed] Steve Jobs and Liberal Arts

Posted January. 30, 2010 09:13,   


Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been called an adopted child, mischievous boy, college dropout, hallucinogen addict, follower of Zen Buddhism, vegetarian, a man who abandoned his daughter, and a self-assertive man. With such unique characteristics, he is also hailed as the most creative businessman in world history. He challenged IBM with his Macintosh computer back in the 1980s, and created the world’s first three-dimensional animated movie. This time, he has unveiled the iPad, which has the potential to revolutionize the way people use computers.

The iPad is a PC but not in a traditional sense. It is half the size of a laptop and netbook and has no traditional input devices such as a keyboard and mouse. Instead, it uses a touchscreen keyboard. Incorporating the easy-to-use operating system of the iPhone, the iPad is easy to handle. It provides Internet access through both WiFi and mobile networks, and its battery capacity allows users to watch video clips for more than 10 hours.

The most innovative feature is the iPad`s embrace of print media content such as newspapers and magazines along with new media content, including music, videos and games. With built-in iBooks, users can read books and newspapers. This new feature is expected to help traditional print media gain ground. Jobs’ interest in liberal arts was behind the incorporation of the feature. In his commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005, he said the Macintosh could not have been developed had he not sat in on a calligraphy class at Reed College.

In the launching show for the iPad Wednesday, Jobs mentioned humanities again. “The reason that Apple is able to create products like iPad is because we always try to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, to be able to get the best of both.” He said liberal arts made him realize that technology exists not for itself but for human beings, and that technology should be easy and fun to use. Korea, which faces a crisis in the study of humanities, should learn a lesson from Jobs.

Editorial Writer Chung Sung-hee (shchung@donga.com)