I doubt that I was the only person to pause the podcast just a minute in to ask Siri where she was manufactured. Maybe it makes me a cynic—I didn’t really believe the story the guy was telling. But then it turns out that I have reason to feel that way when I have the conversation I had with her. She was in denial. Even after I made it clear that I wanted to know where she was manufactured, she again, only tells me she was designed in California (conversation pasted below). This conversation went on for a few minutes. Then I realized I was getting mad at something with absolutely no emotions. We use these things and they make us happy (and frustrated), but technology itself is emotionless. However, Mike Daisey reminds us that the people who make these things do, in fact, have emotions, and it is time someone takes notice of them. However, I highly doubt I will see “Made by people” replacing “Made in China” on the back of an electronic device anytime soon.
It is appropriate that I am writing this on the day that something miraculous happened. Only in my wildest dreams could something like this occur— I get a text message from my dad. At 53, he is in his 30th year running his own business, but he is only in his 6th year of knowing how to open his emails. He does not own a laptop, has a nokia flip phone, and is right there with the big group of senior citizens in central PA who is constantly complaining that our local newspaper is going to an online edition and cutting its paper edition to just 3 days per week. But tonight, when I opened my phone and read, “What time is Bu gm 2mrw night?” I was kind of in shock. It made me realize that this world seems to be moving on the technology train on a one-way track, and you can either hop on or be left behind. It is for this exact reason that I wonder if Daisey’s and other similar reports will ever provoke any meaningful change.
As great as listening to Daisey was, it was almost as interesting to listen to his audience. His humor brought deafening laughter. But more strikingly, his vivid recollections of the hardships, for lack of a better word, that these workers had to deal with had the audience so silent you could hear it. I would have blended in nicely with that audience. I can only speak for myself, but I really believe that if more people were made aware of this story, and ones like it, a difference might be made. The only issue is that Apple and these other companies are continuing to get bigger. But the question I pose is: will growing bigger give them a larger shield to hide these problems behind, or will growing bigger make their problems bigger and more exposed?