5 Technologists Who Have Benefited Humankind

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs built Apple into the world'’s leading high-tech company.
Steve Jobs built Apple into the world'’s leading high-tech company.
Tom Munnecke/Getty Images

What else can anyone say about Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple? Not much. Jobs, who died in 2011 of pancreatic cancer, created a company that for a brief moment outshined ExxonMobil as the top corporation in the United States. A visionary and creative genius, Jobs built Apple into the world's leading high-tech company. With such devices as iPhones, iPads and iPods, Jobs helped create a revolution in the way humans use content and communicate in the digital age [source: Forbes].

Known for being hard-driving, arrogant and sometimes pompous, Jobs teamed in 1976 with Steve Wozniak to build the first Apple computer in the garage of Jobs' parents. Jobs sold his Volkswagen to fund the project. The following year, Apple unveiled its Apple II computer, which was a hit. In 1986, Jobs left Apple after a power struggle, but returned 10 years later [sources: Griggs; Forbes].

Charismatic and complicated, Jobs had a way of inspiring people. He also had a way of humiliating them. As a child, the rebellious Jobs once exploded a device under his teacher's chair. He was bored, he said. He and Wozniak also built a device that allowed them to make free long-distance telephone calls by screwing with the telephone company's routing switches. They used their so-called "Blue Box" to phone the Vatican, although the pope, it seems, never picked up [source: Milian].

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