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Apple co-founder sees future as computer's pet

Apple Computer Inc co-founder and chief scientist for Fusion-io Steve 'The Woz' Wozniak speaks at the QUT Business Leaders' Forum in Brisbane on Friday 21st September, 2012.

Apple Computer Inc co-founder and chief scientist for Fusion-io Steve 'The Woz' Wozniak speaks at the QUT Business Leaders' Forum in Brisbane on Friday 21st September, 2012.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says he feeds his pet dog really good steak every night "because I might be a pet dog one day to the computers".

In a nod to the Siri function on iPhones, Mr Wozniak told a Brisbane audience yesterday people were already talking to their phones as if they were people.

During a business leader address organised by the Queensland University of Technology, Mr Wozniak spoke about the rise of artificial intelligence and said in 40 years computers may have conscious thoughts and feelings.

"The computer's going to be our best friend," he said.

"It's going to know me so well, I won't want you humans [anymore]."

Mr Wozniak spoke about ever-increasing use of computing technology, predicting greater take-up of driverless cars, computer-driven manufacturing and jobs being done by machines.

"I feed my pet dog really good steak every night because I might be a pet dog one day to the computers," he joked.

Mr Wozniak was speaking at an event at Brisbane's Hilton Hotel, where hundreds of business people listened to his recollections of his early involvement with Apple Computer, his work alongside the late Steve Jobs pioneering personal computing technology, and his thoughts about the future.

He mentioned his push to apply for Australian citizenship at the beginning of his talk.

"I'm going to live and die as an Australian. That sort of isn't well known yet," he said.

Mr Wozniak had earlier told Fairfax Radio 4BC he intended to take Australian citizenship.

Mr Wozniak, who had waited in line for the new iPhone in Brisbane yesterday, said he had no idea at the early stages how successful Apple would become.

"You don't really see the effect of your actions and what they're going to lead to and Apple is an example of that," he said.

Mr Wozniak recalled how he had wanted to follow in the footsteps of his electrical engineer father, after seeing how past inventions such as washing machines had make things easier for households.

When he was young he had a trusty transistor radio and soon developed a passion for logic and programming.

"For the rest of my life I was going to love those ones and zeros," he said.

Mr Wozniak said he followed his passion, not thinking he would make much money.

In fact, Mr Wozniak expected he would be an "engineer at the bottom of the organisational chart for life".

"When you have a strong goal, you are driven by personal drive," he said.

Journalist Kerry O'Brien, moderating the event at Brisbane's Hilton Hotel, pressed Mr Wozniak over his partnership with the Mr Jobs.

Mr Wozniak recalled Mr Jobs used to walk in bare feet, eat from a sack of seeds, and did not get super grades, but had an ambition to be important and run things.

By contrast, Mr Wozniak wanted to make things.

"I would design product after product. Steve would always find a way to turn it into money," he said.

"Steve wanted to be one of those important people that moved the world forward."

Mr Wozniak said Mr Jobs also wanted to give input into "every little aspect at the top of the company".

"We had to be a marketing driven company – know what the consumers want," he said.

But Mr Wozniak said he did not like it when Mr Jobs gave the impression that he had designed products.

"That happened a few times and I called him on that one," he said.

"He was the smartest guy in the room almost always ... he was generally right on ideas but he was rude to people."

The pair had remained "good friends but not close".

Mr Wozniak said the news of Mr Jobs's death last year was one of the worst shocks of his life.

Shortly before the death, Mr Jobs had called Mr Wozniak and asked him if he wanted to return to Apple.

Mr Wozniak said he now found it important to inspire young people with fresh ideas to follow their passion, so long as they were not in it for the money.

"I also very much enjoy this travelling speaking life I'm in now," he said.

11 comments

  • Steve you are assuming that human intelligence is just from brain cells and can be mimicked. Perhaps there is something beyond these three dimensions?

    Maybe you are feeding your dog steak because you can afford it.

    Commenter
    X
    Date and time
    September 23, 2012, 9:02AM
    • People have pet rocks.

      Commenter
      tester
      Date and time
      September 24, 2012, 10:49AM
  • Gotta love Woz. And, now that he wants to "live and die as an Australian" we're going to have to chnage his name to Wozzie.

    I'd love to hear him present.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/apple-cofounder-sees-future-as-computers-pet-20120921-26c1w.html#ixzz27F9AjO50

    Commenter
    HM
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    September 23, 2012, 9:15AM
    • Truthfully, in effect people are already ruled by the computers outpourings, its displays and utterance,But the input is still human, manipulations ,with all the endless possibilities for deceit, lies manipulations and distortions secrecy and annonymity enable.In the future that secrecy will be complete, and compliance with the computer legaslly unchallengeable,so total dictatorship will be easy..Thta been the plan and desired outcome for the forty years, and is almost our reality now..Only non compliance can save us now.

      Commenter
      kane
      Date and time
      September 23, 2012, 10:32AM
      • He is a beautiful, pure man who changed the world for all the right reasons. I wish there were more like him.

        Commenter
        Geoff
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        September 23, 2012, 1:29PM
        • Mr Wozniak is in a good position to predict the future of computer technology, as far as that can be done. It would be great to have such a genius in Australia, and I wish him well and I hope he secures his Australian citizenship. Welcome Mr Wozniak. Oh, and please write a book about computer design and your thoughts for the future so we can benefit from your knowledge. :-)

          Commenter
          santiago_aus
          Date and time
          September 23, 2012, 3:24PM
          • Ha ha, give the computer a steak. Ha ha, he's going to become an Australian.

            And we thought Steve Jobs was slightly odd!

            Commenter
            Stephen
            Date and time
            September 23, 2012, 4:32PM
            • This was a joke, as the article clearly states, so the headline is rather sensationalist.

              Anyone who works at the pointy end of IT (including Mr Wozniac) knows that true artificial intelligence is still an incredibly long way off. Sure vehicles will be driving/piloting themselves and machines will be able to understand spoken language as well as a human being, but they're still just mindlessly following rules - very sophisticated rules, but rules never the less.

              We still don't really have a clue about how to actually make computers 'think for themselves' or even what self-awareness actually is. In fact our best benchmark for true AI was proposed back in the 50s in the form of the famous 'Turing Test'. And this test involves computers successfully mimicking a human being to the point that a psychologist can't tell the difference - it therefore neatly skips the whole question of 'what intelligence actually is'. And even then it is flawed, because it places unnecessary burdens on the computer - who is to say that a machine intelligence will think or react anything like a human does, especially in the early stages?

              Commenter
              Paul
              Location
              Sydney
              Date and time
              September 23, 2012, 6:13PM
              • Mr Wozniak is very welcome here.

                And not a peep from the anti-immigration people.

                Commenter
                Knee Jerk
                Location
                Sydney
                Date and time
                September 24, 2012, 9:15AM
                • That's because in Australia, we rule!

                  http://theamazingios6maps.tumblr.com/post/32042128251/taken-on-my-ipad

                  And in the Apple universe, Bondi Beach is 12x bigger than before:

                  http://theamazingios6maps.tumblr.com/post/32074915544/bondi-beach-is-now-12x-larger

                  Why would he not migrate here?

                  Commenter
                  jamie
                  Date and time
                  September 24, 2012, 10:38AM

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