Wozniak: Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Robots Taking Over

Photo credit: Kendall Whitehouse

Technology is constantly advancing in leaps and bounds, and soon it will be more intuitive, more intelligent and more human than we ever imagined. In the future, machinery will do the thinking for you, Steve Wozniak told a packed lecture hall of technology professionals at the Wharton Web Conference this July.

“It’s a very developed world right now,” said Wozniak. “We’re all geeks, carrying computers in our pockets. But really, your smartphone is more than a computer in your pocket—it’s almost a person.”

But don’t worry, he joked. As quickly as technology is changing, robots won’t be capable of world domination for at least another 40 years. Probably more.

While large companies invest huge amounts in research and development and aim to create the products that will change the way we do business, connect with our friends and families, and understand the world around us, Wozniak predicts that innovation will come from more unexpected places—young visionaries who aren’t limited by corporate regulations and who don’t yet know what they’re not supposed to be able to achieve. Innovation does not happen in a vacuum, he said. It happens when people are driven by personal, internal passion.

“Most of these revolutionary companies that we admire so much today started with a couple of kids out of college. They’re proof that when you’re driven to do things personally, you’re going to make the best design or product in the world,” he said.

He expects this model of creative entrepreneurship to continue. Thus, he said, it’s important for tech innovators at every level to think less about the need for profits and more about people’s need for technology to support their everyday lives. Just looking at a product that currently exists and making it better isn’t enough.

“This is a very different type of thinking, and it’s not like anything you’re taught,” he said. “Don’t feel that your only tools are the ones you were brought up with. Start with the tiny atoms and create something totally new.”

—By Susan McDonnell

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