Apple's Siri teaches Jon Stewart about Foxconn

Moved by Rick Perry's plea that we need to get jobs (and Steve Jobs) back to America, Jon Stewart asks Siri about the factory where Apple products are made. It is an ear-opener.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Everyone should have more money. Everything should be cheaper. Everyone should have a job.

These seem to be the prominent political themes of the day.

Indeed, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry made clear that we cannot drive great tech entrepreneurs away from the U.S.: "Steve Jobs and what he innovated and people like him, we need to be giving them the incentive to be on shore doing that and not driving them off with tax policy and regulatory policy."

Last night, Jon Stewart seemed a little bemused by this. He wondered how we could get Steve Jobs back from heaven. On further consideration, he realized that most of Apple's products are made in China, "the Communist country where corporations get the respect they deserve."

So how can the U.S. make its factories more like, say, Foxconn, where iPhones and XBoxes are made? Stewart first leaned on news reports to learn that some Foxconn workers do 35-hour days at 31 cents an hour.

He was fascinated that trying to form a union might get a Chinese worker 12 years in jail. He was moved to hear that some workers try to commit suicide. So he resolved to get rid of his iPhone and XBox.

Suddenly a female voice purred: "I wouldn't do that, Jon. I thought we were forever."

Yes, it was Siri, speaking from Stewart's pants. She felt the need to explain a thing or two about tech economics. If it wasn't for factories like Foxconn, Siri declared, an iPod would cost 23% more.

"I would expect if we were working people to death we'd be getting, like, 30-35% savings," mused Stewart.

Because Siri is smarter than Stewart--indeed, than all of us--she encouraged the Comedy Central star to play "Call of Duty: Modern Workfare." As Stewart played this "first-person solderer," he... well, just watch the above video yourself.

Sometimes, you see, we forget that the side of us that merely wants to consume is fed using methods that none of us would want to contemplate. And all so that our iPods can be 23% per cent cheaper. We're a classy bunch at heart.

 

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