The bullshit idea that ‘the next Steve Jobs’ will be emerging from a bunch of Syrian refugees

Will ‘the next Steve Jobs’ carry the DNA of a Syrian refugee? Maybe he will. Then again, maybe he won’t. Tossing a coin won’t really settle that question — because the outcome of a toin coss is a 50-50 proposition. The reality is that “the next Steve Jobs” descending from the DNA of a bunch of Syrians knocking at America’s doors is really infinitessimal.

[Note, by the way, that Steve Jobs is of Syrian descent.]

The idea that 'the next Steve Jobs' will descend from Syrian refugees has no mathematical basis. (Photo source: Julia Baird on Twitter.)

The idea that ‘the next Steve Jobs’ will descend from Syrian refugees has no mathematical basis.
(Photo source: Julia Baird on Twitter.)

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This can be proven by simple elementary school statistics. US President Barack Obama pledged last year to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees. So, presumably, “the next Steve Jobs” will be coming from that lot plus, maybe, the next 10,000 coming the following year. And the year after that.

But then, in the US, almost 4 million babies are born every year. So, yeah, analyse that: 4 million American people coming into being annually versus 10,000 Syrian refugees being admitted to the US every year. I wouldn’t be putting good money on a bet that “the next Steve Jobs” would be coming from the latter.

Furthermore, by the time these American kids reach the same age Jobs was when he first met Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in 1971 they will have been raised on American food and educated in America’s public school system. To be fair, the quality of either may be debatable, but it is likely that both would be far better than anything Syria will have offered to its citizens. So even if, by some miraculous triumph in political-correctness, the US opens its doors to 4 million Syrian refugees, they still would not be able to compete with America’s vast corn-fed well of human capital.

And those are just American babies. The United States is home to 300 million people. The “next Steve Jobs” is also likely to be amongst that lot. 300 million possible Steve Jobs is, I believe, a safer bet than the 10,000 pool of warm bodies Syria has to offer America.

So before we embrace the idea that America may be losing out on “the next Steve Jobs” by rejecting Syrian refugees, think again and do the maths. Hipsters need to come up with a better argument than that.

15 Replies to “The bullshit idea that ‘the next Steve Jobs’ will be emerging from a bunch of Syrian refugees”

  1. Of course I agree with your assessment that the “next Steve Jobs” will more likely come from millions BORN in America than from the Syrian refugee population. What I do not agree with is your dismissal of the American public school system coming from a person born and raised in a country that doesn’t even HAVE a genuine public school system.

    1. My reference point in that commentary on the US public education system was not the Philippines. And, also, all I said was that its quality was debatable, which is different from outright dismissing it.

      I’m sure it’s a great system. Perhaps not as great as Singapore’s or Germany’s but definitely a lot better than the Philippines’.

      1. It depends on the state. As a Californian I don’t think California has a great public school system. My mother in-law in New York teaches (or used to)at the Bronx and she said most of the students didn’t care much about learning and here’s a bunch of videos on the internet of black students fighting in class.

        There’s also the issue of H1b visas.

  2. Do you know that the biological father of Steve Jobs was a Syrian immigrant? The parents weren’t married and the mother decided to give the baby up for adoption.

    To become “next Steve Jobs” talent is not enough. Important is networking. Steve’s adoptive parents weren’t networked well but he grew up at the place which became later Silicon Valley and somehow he became friend of the well-networked Steve Wozniak.

    The most likely way that a Syrian refugee becomes the next steve Jobs is similar to that. Maybe some of the 10,000 are unaccompanied or orphan children and some of them may end up with well-networked foster parents. If the child is somewhat talented and get admitted to an ivy league college then there might be a chance.

    1. The thing is, I see the difference. Steve Jobs’ father was Syrian, but an immigrant. Different from a refugee. So when Jobs did his stuff to make Apple great, he did it as an American, not as a Syrian. For me, this shows the trouble with using an assumption to justify a questionable action. But if you ask me, some people want to do violence against refugees, assuming they are terrorists, and that is the wrong thing to do.

      See the magic word: assuming.

      1. @ChinoF Regarding talent there is no difference between refugees and other immigrants. And I think Steve Jobs does not care of his nationality when he dis his work for Apple. If does not make any difference for global corporations if their managers are Americans or any other nationals. The current CEO of Google is an Indian national.

  3. For once I agree with Benign0. The next Steve Jobs will not be a Syrian refugee. The next Steve Jobs will be a Filipino!

      1. Jerry Lynch: I think you’re thinking of the Coke-bottle light pipe, which was invented in Brazil and then promoted in the Philippines by Americans via a local NGO. Filipinos had nothing to do with its invention.

        You’re quite right about the education system. It’s beyond bad. Where I live – theoretically a farming community – all the kids walk two miles to school every day, but they’re all dumb as a sack of rocks. I’m pretty certain that’s not because they start off dumb: it’s because they’re lined up in classrooms where dumb adults drag them down to their level.

        Just to top things off, they’re taught that they’re not really dumb, they’re really clever, and they should beat their chests about the achievements of the Philippines, just like Pinoy Pride back there. I was reading a high-school science textbook which actually stated on the flyleaf that it’s purpose was to teach science “with a focus on achievements by Filipino scientists”. Predictably enough I couldn’t actually find anything written inside that referred to Filipino scientists.

        The terrible thing is that there is no way this can be fixed. Kids are taught to be like this for a reason. If a foreigner, or even an enlightened local, tried to set up a chain of proper schools, he’d be quietly done away with.

    1. In order for a Filipino to invent or do anything he will have to have an actual education. From observation I don’t see many real advances made by people from privileged backgrounds inventing much of anything because the drive is not there. When people already have comfortable lifestyles there is little impetus for most such people to work extremely hard.

      In The Philippines the only people with quality educations are those already privileged. Then you have the situation wherein a poor or disadvantaged person may have drive but the abject “quality” of the public school system here is just SO DAMN BAD that even the basics are not sufficient to entice an inquiring mind into working on great things.

      You can’t use someone like Pacquiao as an example because he had no education, but a physical gift and a bit of luck. Education, or the lack thereof, did not give him any obstacles to becoming a great athlete, but the basic lack of reading skills and the ability to think critically will cripple the endeavors of even the brightest who may have the potential to do something great.

      I can think of only ONE thing invented by a Filipino and that is some kind of light that runs on salt water. That device apparently is being sold in a remote province and I read that for every one sold, one is donated, but I can’t even find out where to buy one. If I could find one I would buy several and even donate the ones I buy to other poor people, but it seems nobody can even properly market the thing so they are available. In a country as poor as this one it should be the responsibility of the government to coop manufacture and marketing for the good of the people, but where the hell ARE the things for sale?

      What this all boils down to is that there is virtually ZERO possibility the next Steve Jobs, or even ANYONE of significance will ever come from The Philippines. The only possible way I see that happening is if some (not wealthy) but hard working family from some advanced, or even advancing or forward thinking, country adopts a Filipino child and that child eventually sees and develops an idea and eventually credits his adoptive family for helping him escape the intellectual desert known as The Philippines. Of course then every Filipino will claim him as their own even though that same person would still be on the streets of Manila selling cigarettes on overpasses and sleeping on cardboard, but for the good fortune of being adopted abroad.

  4. Those Syrian Refugees, which presumably a “Steve Job”, would come; could be ISIS/Al Queda Terrorists, like those husband and wife , Islamic Radical murderers, who murdered 14 people, in California.

    Steve Job was a result of an “out of wedlock” relationship. He did not even know his father. He was adopted. He went to college, but did not earn a degree. Instead, he was one of those “flower children” of the Vietnam era, who went to India, to learn the Art of Transcendental Meditation…after that , he was interested in Computers. With a friend, he built a computer factory ,in his Garage. Thus, began his Apple Computer Company.

    He was good in improving both the hardware and software of computers. He was also a good Salesperson…he knows what people want…he had the foresight that computers , will change peoples’ lives.

    He had difficulties, getting along with people. So, they threw him out from his Apple Computer Company. He established the: NEXT Computer Company, to rival the Apple Computer Company.

    The Apple Computer Company went almost bankrupt, without Steve Job. He won in the struggle. He went back to Apple Computer Company, as its CEO, with his trusted people. Apple Computer Company flourished, under his guidance, until his death. He is now succeeded, by his trusted friend, Apple Computer Company, CEO, Tim Cook.

    No human being , ever changed and advanced our civilization; the way we live and communicate than : Steve Job.

    The idea that another Steve Job, would come from those bunch of Syrian refugees is ridiculous. Steve Job was born in America. He had American upbringing and education. His mindset was American. His culture and values were American.

    1. And that is the big picture the liberals fail to see. These Syrians are born and raised at a drastically different culture than Americans or Filipinos. Their concept of “mercy” is no different from “weakness”. The whole Migrant issue is more or less a zombie movie unfolding in real life. And the idiots who’d let the brain eaters in? Non other than politicians who are being manipulated by big businesses as well as your naive liberals.

  5. We thank our foreign readers to participate in the discussions of issues, here in the GRP. Some Filipinos are very knowledgeable , well educated and can discuss well on any subject.

    Many of our political leaders, cannot do such thing…you will not be disappointed to read the comments of our GRP Bloggers and the Web articles of our GRP Web writers. Thank you , also to the Webmaster, BenignO, for putting such good website…

    I hope that someone will be kind enough to translate what are discussed here in Pilipino.

  6. The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.

  7. Interesting article, benign0. Thing is most people just use the saying “we might find the next Steve Jobs among these refugees” to try and express the idea that we want to try to provide people with the opportunity to receive adequate education. It’s a universal right. The idea is that everyone should be given the chance to develop their innovative capacity and productivity. You’re right, what are the chances of finding “the next Steve Jobs” among the displaced? That’s slim in most places. But that’s not the point. The point is we want to enable and empower people to be contributing citizens to their community and society as a whole.

    Allowing refugees to live in terrible conditions, continuously suffering from physical and mental health problems and not receiving proper support, assistance and opportunities for improvement makes it very difficult for them to be productive and contribute to society. But given the chance, who knows what these people can do or eventually do? Yes, a refugee, given opportunities, may only impact their own life and that of their family members. (Still awesome to be able to lift themselves from hardship and vulnerability).
    Or maybe they’ll impact their local community. Maybe they’ll make a positive impact on their country. And maybe, unlikely but certainly not impossible, they’ll make a wonderful contribution to the whole world. I mean, after all, Albert Einstein was a refugee.

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