You’ve got to be careful when you pull this card, so many in tech pull it too quickly, but you’ve got to reserve the Steve Jobs Card for times when it matters.

I can’t stop thinking about AI - artificial intelligence, not Apple Intelligence - and the original 1984 Mac.

Steve Jobs, age 29, in Playboy magazine (the articles, not the pictures):

It’s often the same with any new, revolutionary thing. People get stuck as they get older. Our minds are sort of electrochemical computers. Your thoughts construct patterns like scaffolding in your mind. You are really etching chemical patterns. In most cases, people get stuck in those patterns, just like grooves in a record, and they never get out of them. It’s a rare person who etches grooves that are other than a specific way of looking at things, a specific way of questioning things. It’s rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing. Of course, there are some people who are innately curious, forever little kids in their awe of life, but they’re rare.

A lot of the people talking about AI today are olds - like me. I’ve been driving around Italy this week hearing my favourite podcasters, and reading my favourite writers, wax lyrical about artificial intelligence, Apple Intelligence, generative AI, large language models, and the like with fear and loathing. Age changes us but it feels similar to my childhood, predominately the early 90s where “olds” were fearful and against the incoming technological change whilst I was so eager to play, toy, and learn.

I think about the earliest stories I’ve read of the 1984 Macintosh being shown to olds but it was the kids that really got it.

Andy Hertzfeld writes about Steve Jobs delivering a Mac to Mick Jagger the weekend before the computer launched:

Fortunately, Mick’s twelve year old daughter Jade had followed Mick into the room, and her eyes lit up when she saw MacPaint. Bill began to teach her how to use it, and pretty soon she was happily mousing away, fascinated by what she could do with MacPaint. Even though Mick drifted off to another room, the Apple contingent stayed with Jade for another half hour or so, showing off the Macintosh and answering her questions, and ended up leaving the machine with her, since she couldn’t seem to part with it.

And then there’s the story from a day or two earlier of Steve Jobs taking a Mac to Sean Lennon’s 9th birthday party where Walter Cronkite, Andy Warhol, and Yoko Ono were in attendance. John Lennon’s son took to the computer right away, but Andy Warhol was enamoured by the machine.

Warhol wrote in his diary that night, “I felt so old and out of it with this young whiz guy right there who’d helped invent it.”

Me too, Andy. Me too. I just try every day to be one of those people who are innately curious, forever little kids in their awe of life.