Apple co-founder and chief scientist for Fusion-io Steve Wozniak speaks at the QUT Business Leaders' Forum on Friday. Photo: Michelle Smith
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.