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Tim Cook discusses fake news, AR and taxes with Italian youth

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Tim Cook discusses fake news, AR and taxes with Italian youth

Cook was in Italy to participate in the celebrations for the 18th anniversary of the Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori, literally the permanent observatory youth-publishers. The Osservatorio is an Italian success story of literacy through newspapers, made possible thanks to the collaboration of media groups, banks, national institutions and corporate social responsibility programmes. In the words of its President Andrea Ceccherini the initiative ultimately aims at “ensuring that the young people of today can become the citizens of tomorrow”.  
Tim Cook made his entrance rockstar-wise, from the back of the theatre filled with students grabbing iPhones, to the sound of Australian singer Sia’s Chandelier. The enthusiastic cheers that welcomed Apple CEO are a testament to the fact that Andrea Ceccherini, the President of Osservatorio, really knows youth and how to make them “click". 
Andrea Ceccherini opened the event with a short introduction, explaining that youth and education are among the shared pillars of both Osservatorio and Apple’s mission, as well as technology and centrality of the individual. It is fair to say that the urgency of infusing humanity into technology and the direct responsibility of tech companies in doing so underlined Tim Cook’s whole speech, echoing the commencement address he gave at MIT earlier this year. 
He started by complimenting Osservatorio on the support it obtained from nearly 80% of Italian teachers. He quickly moved to the issue of fake new, stressing that education is the only proper way to arm youth with the critical thinking that is indispensable to navigate the mass of information they are bombarded with today. He added that the real danger of misinformation is how it is used to “further the polarisation in society”, which is historically at the root of the worst experiences in human history. 
Cook and Ceccherini shared the stage with Italian multimedia journalist Maria Latella, who asked the most daring questions before moderating the debate with the students. Among our favourite topics from a Media Policy point of view, Latella touched upon cyberbullying, digital taxation and augmented reality.  
On cyberbullying, Cook insisted that it is everybody’s responsibility to stand up for those who won’t do it themselves, citing the famous poem by Martin Niemöller.
Cook said that augmented reality will prove to be a revolution, and that much like apps did, it will likely change all aspects of human life, including education, the way we do business, journalism and health care. He recalled that back in 2008 when the App Store opened, few saw the potential, while now it is difficult to imagine our daily life without mobile applications. He drew a difference with virtual reality, saying that it can result in isolation, while augmented reality amplifies experiences allowing for the merger of the virtual and physical world.
Answering Latella’s blunt question “So how are things with Vestager” Cook said that Apple is among the largest tax payers in US and in Ireland. He explained that the ongoing debate on digital taxation regards which country those payments should be directed to, on grounds of fairness. Cook insisted that Apple is abiding by today's laws, that provide for taxes to be paid where value is created, which means California in Apple’s case. He agrees with Vestager that the system needs a complete rethink, as long as the changes will occur in the future, without attempts to reform the rule of law as applied in the past. 


Elena Perotti's picture

Elena Perotti


2017-10-19 15:03

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