Wozniak on emerging technologies: Natural language recognition, self-driving cars, and conscious computers

Wozniak on emerging technologies: Natural language recognition, self-driving cars, and conscious computers ...

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak always has something interesting to say, whether it’s criticizing Apple, giving his approval for jailbreaking, or hating on patent verdicts. Last week, he spoke the Georgia Insitute of Technology, and today the video recordings have been uploaded. His comments on emerging technologies caught our eye.

When asked about what’s next, Wozniak listed off three things: “voice recognition with an understanding what is really meant by sentences of words and language – natural language recognition,” “we just about have cars driving themselves too,” and “computers approaching consciousness, becoming brains – that’s a lot further off.” His thoughts on the last one were particularly honest and rather interesting:

I used to think that will never happen. The brain works so differently than any computer, and we don’t know how it works. We’ll never be able to do that. Computers can do the job but a brain has to figure out how to do it. No, I think computers are gonna figure out how to do it… [that’s] not too far off.

That’s a both a scary and an exciting statement. I think I prefer the move towards self-driving cars, but that may just be me. Here’s the clip, including Wozniak’s take on IBM’s Watson:


It’s very clear Siri and Google Now are the stepping stones for improvements in natural language recognition all the way to conscious computers. At first it will just look like our apps and robots are predicting what we want based on patterns, but as those algorithms improve, they’ll be taking initiative on more and more useful tasks.

Wozniak still has his great sense of humor; here he is talking about his Tetris career:


Other clips include Wozniak giving advice on how to build a startup, education, and life in general. Finally, here’s the full 53-minute talk:


See also:
Steve Wozniak wishes Apple was less arrogant and had released two sizes for the iPhone 5
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak gives jailbreaking the thumbs up, wishes iTunes supported Android
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on Samsung patent verdict: ‘I hate it and I don’t agree with it’

Image credit: Iva Villi

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