Deanna Ogle examines Mark Zuckerberg, his peers in the tech industry and how their social impairments affect society and innovation.
Silicon Valley has seen a huge spike of cases of Asbergers of the last several years, many of which show up in the tech industry. Gawker has suggested that one of people likely to have the condition is Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook and subject of the 2010 Aaron Sorkin film “The Social Network”.
The first symptom is obsessiveness; his girlfriend refused to move to California with him until he guaranteed her one-hundred minutes of alone time a week. People have talked about being in the room with Mark and him asking their opinion, and as they talk he does not offer the social cues that other people do to indicate that his was listening, which is a classic example of impaired social interaction.
Are the social impairments of many of the tech giants such as Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Biz Stone and Craig Newmark important for society?
People like Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs have completely revolutionized social media and technology. Without them, the technological landscape would look completely different and much less sophisticated. They are incredibly important for the moving forward of society but they come with double-edged swords.
Mike Daisey, a comedian and storyteller tells a story of how Steve Jobs had to fire a few people. His solution to this was, instead of calling the employees directly, to call up his employees’ secretaries and instruct them to schedule a calendar event called “Your Firing”. The employee then would walk around blissfully unaware of their demise until they saw the calendar event.
As Tom Matlack said in November, Steve Jobs was an assaholic. Some of the innovation people like Jobs and Zuckerberg are responsible probably come from their naturally lower inhibition centers. This allows them to see beyond the normal mental limits that other people are constrained to. However, because they have achieved so much, it seems to give people who don’t suffer from Asbergers or other social impairments an excuse to clobber people and act like jerks to accomplish what they think is best.
What do you think? Are people like these infamous tech giants important to society? Or do they indirectly do more damage to the people around them in the long run? Would Steve Jobs been able to have accomplish as much without his tyranny? Would Facebook be where it is without Mark’s social impairments?
Photo credit: Flickr / Andrew Feinberg