An evening with Steve Wozniak
Australian Technology Park
August 28, 2016
Think Inc. is a boundary pushing, Australia-based initiative dedicated to the promotion of intellectual discourse by bringing forward thinkers like Maajid Nawaz, Edward Snowden, Dr. Neil deGrasse, et alia down under.
Tonight ‘twas Stephen Wozniak’s turn – the man who has been credited with being the inventor of the personal computer as we now it: co-founder of Apple, philanthropist, motivational speaker and strong advocate for STEM education.
The ”Evening with” the effervescent and engaging 66-year-old, moderated by Dr. Jordan Nguyen -- a biomedical engineer, innovator in his own right and inventor of a mind-controlled wheelchair -- was a engaging biographic event with Wozniak reminiscing about his upbringing and how he developed a love for tinkering with technology long before computers came to exist.
Being an overachiever in the spheres of mathematics and engineering and equipped with a sense of humour, the young Wozniak indulged in pranks and found instant gratification in the way technology could be used. This was common ground for his relationship with Steve Jobs, whom he met at college.
Working at Hewlett-Packard at the time, Wozniak did engineering jobs throughout California, the products of which Jobs would turn into money.
Wozniak’s approach to technology has always had a very punk approach in a benevolent way: DIY in its nature through and through, with money never being a driving factor and with a longing for being part of a revolution, he gave his designs for free without copyright and dedicated his spare time to educating others in how to set up and operating computers.
With Hewlett-Packard having turned down his computer designs repeatedly, he and Jobs seized the opportunity, made a virtue out of necessity and formally started a company in 1976.
The Apple had fallen off the tree and the rest of the flourishing enterprise is history, pervading every aspect of our reality.
Eventually Wozniak opted out of Apple to pursue his goal of teaching computer classes to primary school children – a job he loved for its instant gratification outside the confines of monetary rewards as he to this day considers human interaction to be of utmost importance for education at primary and high school levels.
Wozniak is still a strong advocate of start ups and innovative areas, which his answers during the open Q&A component of the evening, with questions from the audience, underlining the importance and equitable access to education and that business and marketing acumen needs to go hand in hand with engineering capability.
Wozniak’s sincere enthusiasm for the possibilities of artificial intelligence and the benefits it could bring and giving humans what they need instead of replacing them, made it another quality Think Inc. event.