The hall was crowded with people waiting for the father of personal computing and one of the original founders of Apple, the great Steve Wozniak, the great and powerful Woz, as he is known amongst computer enthusiasts and tech nerds. He was accompanied by Nuno Sebastiao, the co-founder and CEO of Feedzai, a cyber security company that detects fraudulent payments through AI.
They began by discussing the old days of Apple and whether Wozniak thought Apple would ever be this big. After exchanging pleasantries they began talking about global technologies that are influencing the world today. Wozniak mentioned working with Fusion-io that pioneered flash storage but he said he couldn’t point to one company in the technology space that would change the world like he had done in his heyday.
When the conversation shifted to AI, Nuno asked Wozniak when he saw AI becoming big during his lifetime. Apple’s co-founder commented that AI has come close to mimicking human ability yet it doesn’t quite work like the human brain just yet. He expressed doubt however, whether the Turing test would remain as effective as it is now due to the work being done on digital assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. As an example, these assistants would be able to tell jokes in the near future, that were tailored to the taste of the person in question. Nevertheless, he did point out that even slightly complicated questions managed to outwit contemporary personal assistants so AI has a long way to go.
After that all Nuno had to do was bring up Blockchain and Wozniak went on praising Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum as well as the Universal Ledger. He called these developments “astounding”. He compared the so-called “bubble” that Blockchain is in to the dot com crash in 2001, citing that culture doesn’t always want to change rapidly. He did think however, that Blockchain was “on the right track”. He believed that Blockchain and cryptocurrencies were much closer to a system being defined by nature, free from external controls and governed by the laws of the free market, than actual currencies. He mentioned loving an article that mentioned Jack Darcy, the founder of Twitter, saying that within a few years, everything would be bought and sold through digital currencies.
When Nuno shifted the conversation to payment methods, Wozniak shifted into Apple mode and praised Apple Pay’s ease of use and how companies had followed suit after failing to do digital mobile payments right.
The conversation inevitably touched on the EU Privacy Law, the GDPR. Wozniak praised the law, preferring a more regulated market of online behavior rather than the wild free flow of information.
Nuno wrapped up the conversation by asking Wozniak what he’d do differently if he could go back to Apple’s early days. Wozniak nodded no, saying that he believed he had done everything right. He waxed lyrical about the Apple II, describing its pioneering capabilities in graphics and software.
Wozniak ended the session by encouraging young entrepreneurs and engineers to pursue their dreams, to have a complete blueprint of the product they’re pitching before they do so, and to be unafraid of the long hours that await them before they get that first taste of success.