Past and Present Geek Heroes: 8 Innovators and Legends

Caught up in the drama of travelling cross country from Ontario to Victoria last week, I somehow missed the fact that my feature showcasing a number of real life geek heroes went live over at Maximum PC

Perhaps more interesting than the feature itself is the debate that took place in the comments section attached to it. For this assignment, I made a point of including geeky individual geeks who made a palpable difference to the human condition, but I think in a furor of fanboyism, the point was missed—the hot button topic surrounding the piece became whether or not Steve Jobs should have been on the list.

As much as I respect Steve Jobs for how he was able to bring the humanities and technology together in Apple’s products (it’s worth noting here that I own two Mac computers, an iPad 2 and an iPhone 4S), his contributions to society, no matter how important, technologically, were of a commercial nature. There’s no arguing that Jobs’ passion tweaked our reality, but I’m sorry, the man simply was not a humanist. When he finally spoke up for a cause, it was organ donation—something that he himself had a personal stake in. 

What do you think, guys? Was I off the mark? Should Jobs be on the list? Did his contributions make him a catalyst for the betterment of the human condition, or was he nothing more than a passionate businessman, with an incredible vision of what technology could bring to our lives?