Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, yesterday (Oct. 2) jumped on Slashdot to answer questions from the tech community — and no topic was off limits.
Similar to President Barack Obama's surprise " ask me anything " on Reddit, Wozniak held his own anything-goes discussion on the site that bills itself as "news for nerds." Most of the questions involved Wozniak's well-known views on Apple's patent disputes and the larger effect on innovation. He would prefer an open development process between companies and individuals.
"I wish that instead of all these lawsuits Apple was sitting down and cross-licensing with the other players," he said. "I would like my iPhone to be the best it could, even if someone else did some of the things first.
Wozniak is an iPhone user and flew to Australia to get his hands on one of the first iPhone 5s. However, he sees little difference between iOS and Android. "There are more than enough apps and they are generally the same quality on each platform," he said.
When asked where the technology hobbyists — young people who could be present-day Wozniaks — have gone, he said they are still here, but have branched out beyond mechanical toys. (Wozniak invented the Apple I and II computers.) "If there is less room to build something impressive enough to motivate you, then the creativity looks for other outlets, like outstanding Facebook pages, blogs, YouTube videos, etc.," he said.
Is the era of the personal computer over? For Wozniak, it's not, it's just different. "The days of being fixed to a larger machine are over," he said. "It's easier to throw an iPhone out the window than a Macintosh!"
As for the future, Woz says the computer will indeed become more a part of ourselves, like a friend. "I do envision conscious computers but I think we'll stumble onto the formula (circuit of a brain) by accident, the way we came upon Google replacing smart people for answers, but not by trying to create a brain," he said.
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But he said his real happiness comes from people, not computers. He believes in a master plan. "I walk through airports and look at everyone there, smiling, knowing that their existence somehow is part of the greatest thing to me," he said. "Even if someone came up and robbed me or killed me, I know that I'd consider that part of this great game of existence."