Techology and social revolution: Steve Wozniak at TEDxBrussels

quite an honor to be here on my first ever Ted stage I mean the famous Ted speeches um you know we're born with a natural curiosity and we have an open mind we want to learn things we want to learn how to feel things and what they do to our senses when we're a tiny baby we want to open cabinets eventually and our parents let us learn these things and every time we see something new move by or we touch it we smile and it's such great thing and then we go to school and in school oh we want to open those cabinets but you can't open the cabinets 30 kids 30 students can't open every cabinet we're taught rules our behavior is regulated our desire to be openness and learn everything is inhibited you can only learn what is in this class the same thing on the same minute Singh days as every other student in your class and that's what school is we're taught that intelligence is having the same correct answer that everyone else in the class has and that's intelligence and if you were to question oh when two canoes meet on a river the river wouldn't go at that speed if you were to do that you are disruptive so your intelligence is only coming up with the same answers and they aren't your answers and this is what we call learning a lot of facts or methods but not really learning to think for yourself and come up with your own ideas which is the heart of innovation now the role of Technology is to create the great devices that make life better in in other words I'm in my home and I have a washing machine and my great-grandparents had to wash clothes by hand how awful that must have been I want happy they must have been now we have the easy life we can turn on a television and watch movies and and that's the role of Technology it will give us a lot more leisure time it will make us happier okay we don't necessarily smile more than people did a thousand years ago right but in theory we do that's the reason we're creating this great technology so technology has a purpose and purpose is to do good and to share and it's very important that we're open when we have those ideas that we have methodologies and ways to present them and bring them to the public now I was told by my dad that if we created enough great devices and things in life to make life easier some day we wouldn't have to work as hard we'd have a four-day workweek instead of a five-day workweek in the States perhaps and wow I thought that was a dream well you know what over my lifetime we've been totally successful at creating the most incredible technology that does so many things for human beings and save so much work over the old days you know 10 X 20 X whatever excellent 100 X and we've been successful we created all these devices we've created all this new wealth but for some reason now in Silicon Valley it takes two people working full-time stressful jobs just to own a home so wherever that wealth that we created that not zero some wealth you know technology is you invent a better way to make a chair human beings in society have that technology those methods for ever and ever and ever it's not just built one time and replaced so you create new wealth and wherever this wealth went it didn't quite go to those of us working to create it um the inhibitors of wealth are often I mean of innovation are often large companies that want to seal things up and say we have a bunny machine we're going to turn the crank we're going to keep putting out the same sorts of products and will artificially improve them but if anybody comes along that might displace our business might have some new technology the wave of the future innovation will assimilate them or will ignore them very often market research doesn't turn up the value of these new devices that are coming like personal computers the big computer company said no these little microprocessor based machines are never going to do anything worthwhile well they were any in touch they were good marketers they were just only in touch with the people that were using their big expensive computers of the day and they weren't in touch with nurses and doctors and engineers and teachers and students and all the rest of the world it might want their own computer someday we had a club the homebrew Computer Club people in the club got up and spoke I was too shy to ever raise my hand and speak but I listened to academics people from Stanford and Berkeley in places like that and they would talk about how this technology revolution of chips that could finally do about as much as a computer that crowd the heart of a computer these chips were going to lead to a social revolution the social revolution meant we were going to be able to communicate type a message and within an hour a hundred people dialing up on modems might read that message 100 people was a large number in those days Wow and we were going to have better education because a kid could get corrected instantly on their answer whether it was right or wrong they didn't have to wait for the next school day their brains were going to be so well utilized in the future and the little guy who knew technology who knew how to program a computer to get solutions was going to go into work write his own programs that were so much better than the high paid programmers on the million dollar computers and have a little machine on his desk actually doing the great work of the company we little guys were going to be so important that was the heart of my life I wanted the little normal person the person that understood and studied and used their brain to come up with solutions to be more important than the big huge companies that basically controlled our life and control what we couldn't couldn't do the ones that regulate us in a sense and that was one of the reasons that I took my skills as a great technology developer and designed my first computer very quickly I actually modified a terminal I built into a computer with a microprocessor now before that every computer you had to be a computer expert to dare touch it front panels switches and lights ones and zeroes nobody would touch it unless you were the computer operator that knew how to music now all of a sudden that one was like the first computer that was affordable the price was right and it was a complete usable computer for running real programs had a keyboard like a normal typewriter a human thing and it had a little display on a TV with letters that came across you could afford a TV you couldn't afford a teletype machine was printed out and cost as much as a car so this was my contribution I didn't design the computer necessarily for the world I designed it for the other people in my computer club that wanted to do those great things with society and improve life for everyone and I gave away my designs for free no copyright notices no nothing trust me the Apple one computer is public domain and everyone there I was saying build your own build your own build your own not enough of them spend we're builders you know a lot of people love technology and want to use it but there aren't that many of them in the club that were real builders and so we had to start a company and make boards for them and and the story goes on of course Hewlett Packard I pleaded with my company that I loved so much Hewlett Packard as an engineer I was going to be an engineer for life there and I pleaded with them to build this small little computer that looked like a typewriter and they turned me down five times so Steve and I had to start Apple now the Apple 2 was really the great revolutionary machine I designed it as a computer from the ground up nobody ever expected the features in it it was leapfrogs it was you looked at and said whoa I never imagined a machine would ever be able to do these things even my engineer friend Sakura Packard said this is the greatest product I've ever seen and the Apple 2 was very very open the in the Apple one I've given it away that's as open as you can be the Apple 2 had all sorts of expansion capabilities the amount of memory slots you to plug in little pieces of hardware to do tasks that computers could do to monitor oil levels in the ground if that's what it was to have a floppy disk to have more more memory for a bigger spreadsheet a screen and the Apple 2 was as open as could be we put out manuals with our schematics and circuits like TVs of the old days did we put out all the code listings you could learn how to program computers at different levels this was really a totally open environment now I maintain yes even I had a little argument over that he wanted to build the amplitude with two simple slots only tiny little machine self-contained never expandable one slot for a printer one slot for a modem I said oh my gosh computer people love to do lots of things with computers that wasn't my motivation motivation was I'd come up with a very clever technique to use to little chips to have eight slots work with an operating system where normally it would take so many pop 40 chips or five tips on each board and a whole bunch of some little switches on each board to select addresses oh my gosh I wanted my Google two chips to be shown off and something great I've done it turns out that because of that there were two other early personal computers RadioShack and Commodore closed machines if you bought it with 4k bytes of memory that's all you had forever if you bought it without a floppy disk well there were no floppy this back then there was no way to add one so the first killer app that really made personal computers go the Apple to wouldn't have gone probably even with the dreams we had for it initially and then came the spreadsheet visit calc the first killer out and this spreadsheet a businessman could go in and and and write four more programs in half an hour than they could do on pencil and paper the rest of their life planning the financial scenarios of their companies so the sales shot up high well that spreadsheet VisiCalc could not be written on the other two little early machines from Commodore and RadioShack because they didn't have enough memory they weren't expandable so the expansion built in planning for the future having the ability to expand and add more was really what made Apple basically take over the world in those days with the Apple 2 even though it was a great computer now here's a company that got made one of the largest biggest companies in America in the world back in those times F in two days it got made with a product that costs nothing to build Steve and I have invested a few hundred dollars each you know and we and we come up with this machine out of nowhere so Apple took a huge leap in time with the open Apple 2 now later on we got kind of closed up in a Waterways on products marketing took over and marketing made us put chips in to disable features on some machines so people wouldn't think they were capable of doing what another machine we had could do um and and that was you know kind of disappointing to me but when did we really win it Apple really expand again as a company in terms of its value its stock price and all that if you go back and look it was really with the iTunes and the iPod great machine the iPod no doubt but then Apple only had about 6 percent of the world market share income commuters running iTunes on Macintosh's we could have plugged the iPod into a Macintosh if we sold the iPod to only 5% of the people in the world it wouldn't have made Apple twice as big as it was with computers alone no we wrote iTunes for Windows we opened up we were open in that sense we let the iPod be used by everybody in the world no matter which computer they were using and then Apple took its big huge leap and today with all the AI products that have followed onto the iPod building in our music system it's basically you know hey if you want the music system today we're closed up if you want iTunes you got to buy an iPhone we don't write iTunes for for Android we don't write it for Windows and I think we should we should treat every individual product of the company including iTunes as a valuable product on its own and market it to the world there's it comes to the idea of ownership what do you own in life as a matter of fact when you're in school in those early days and you get your first little beatings my behavior is tightly controlled it's controlled because other people own the schools and before the time of personal computers your big companies owned the computers and they set the rules for using those computers they owned it but you know what we were taught when I was young we were taught that freedom was was the ultimate desire of all mankind you know even though the United States wasn't really started as a very free nation if you really go but look at it but freedom was what we were all about and communism suppressed freedom why because people weren't allowed to own their own property we own things that we had you know and my father taught me you know all about technology and he taught me about things like radio signals my gosh those analog devices you could you could easily record it figure out a way to report it someday onto recorders television signals and the like any radio signal that penetrated payment of your house violating your space belong to you and you could listen to all those frequencies well until cellphones and then we ban certain cell phone frequencies it's like a core value of mine you know so disruptive by this we're going to close it up where we don't want you doing certain things now as we've moved towards the digital age from the analog age we've got all this open ability to program bits to do many more things than ever before but we've also got the ability to encrypt them with encryption formulas and now when you buy things it's less like you own it in the old days you would buy a record you own it you had the right to sell it and now you very often with software and with media you lease it and you agree to terms and you will not copy it and you will not pass it around to your family and you will not share it and it's like you don't own it anymore you have licensed it obviously we get to the cloud you sign up for a lot of services on the cloud and you always click ok I agree to this I agree that greater I agree that or you won't have your technology that makes your life fun and great and we all have to agree listen we don't read them we don't write the contract someone else writes the contract oh I have a long life I have a lot of experiences where when I didn't have any say in writing a contract very often things got taken away from me so I know that every one of those contracts I've signed every time I clicked ok I've said you own everything you're guilty of nothing I can't do anything goes wrong it's my loss and you're not the blame for anything I just know that's how it's written and I'm scared and on the cloud has caused me problems already I've had complete online calendars like Google calendars lost or changed their name through the simple technology things and I don't have a backup I caught for 8 years I thought young kids and schools how to use computers for your schoolwork but one thing I taught them was if you get a phone call and your mother's in the hospital what do you do backup your computer and get to the hospital back up back up back up so I have some of the things that I've put out into the cloud I've actually pulled back for the time being until I can trust things fully like I trust a bank with my money I mean that's a cloud for money until I can trust it I want my little physical backup I can hold in my hand and I know where it is this internet was you know supposed to be so beautiful an open world it was supposed to you know in the early as it was anybody could communicate anything they wanted anywhere did we have an Internet government no did we have governments controlled at all in regulating it no it was wide open and it was beautiful and it was working well with almost no government at all we're always told that leads to anarchy and now countries like we grew up in we grew up in society our schools our countries had borders you couldn't come in or out that's closed that's not open and our schools were like that and you always learn in school my school right or wrong stop thinking don't use your brain anymore just it's your school it's your country that's what you've got to be for and you don't have to use your brain I mean Society likes to dumb this down a lot and it really fights this whole thing about innovation what is regulation about you know everybody fears regulation takes away freedom is a common thing that said I disagree entirely in our country the Bill of Rights specifies your freedoms of speech your freedoms of religion and this and that and the way it specifies it is by saying Congress shall not pass a law that's regulation of Congress you're regulating governments will regulate the bad guys that are already regulating our lives now it might be big table it might be big telephone that wants to regulate how we can use the internet what we can connect to what data we're going to receive how much we're going to pay they want they're the ones who want to regulate the individual thinkers the real innovators government regulation of the regulators is very appropriate in the case like this the biggest touch in computers over my life it's the relationship between a human and Technology we want to keep the human more important for now sure maybe technology is already the master and we don't know it and maybe somebody will be so much smarter than us it'll become the master but for now we want to think we humans are the ones that are most important how do you make the human most important you design the technology to work in very familiar human ways and obey human paradigms ok technology has gotten more and more likely human our first computers spoke like computer talk you couldn't understand it and the speech got nice and and full and fluid like a real human talking to you and graphics became movements on the screen like cartoons and now they've become like real movies and things look natural that's all a more human world the computer is becoming a human someday the senses that I have the sense of touch sight hearing someday smell motion it's all built into these things human senses and I can speak to it and I can get answers sometimes it's not good yet but this is the path we're on and this is the path we've got to continue to follow I want I consider an open world when I don't have to think of a certain procedure I'm supposed to follow on a machine touching it in the right places to get something done I just want to speak the thought in my head I want to get an answer I don't even want to get links to articles that might give me the answer and we're getting there the more of these machines get smart like human brains who do you ask questions of now not a person but starts with geo and it's not God thanks very much

40 thoughts on “Techology and social revolution: Steve Wozniak at TEDxBrussels

  1. It's to bad I couldn't meet up with Steve Wozniak when he was in West Des Moines, Iowa at the West campus of Des Moines Area Community College.

  2. Wozniak is a real smart man, not only technology but also how to live life. He knows when to get in and get out of limelight and publicity. He lives life with freedom and low key with his dream and happiness.

  3. So the great conundrum is does emancipating technology or protecting creators with copyright help with innovation?

  4. This man is a genius. I love him so much. He speaks the truth and isn't just after money like Steve Jobs was. He has a lot of money yes but he knows what truly matters in life.

  5. The Woz knows its all BS.
    He knows that everything he has done is BS.
    Him sponging off of Job's brilliance is also bullshit.
    And yet I love the Woz.
    Without Jobs he would have always been nothing.

    If he does not know or admit it then he is in deep denial.
    Woz was sadly less than 1% of 0.001% of Steve Jobs.

  6. 10:33 What an honest revelation … I think this should be spread more although it's not a news,so as to stop these unethical business tricks.

  7. I'm surprised that he didn't get a standing ovation for the comment about iTunes be cross platform. Sounded like RMS for a sec.

  8. Without the technology that woz and others created in the 70's and 80's we wouldn't have smart phones or the internet .

  9. Great talk by Woz. He mentions many things that I've wondered about myself, like the "cloud" and what it really means for users (not good for sure). I also like his mentioning that government is necessary and a good thing so as not to be taken advantage by the rich and powerful among others. I wonder also who are those dark figures in the balcony?

  10. If all of these big companies took advice from the Woz we would be living in the furture….but sadly that will never happen because of greed. The Woz doesn't value technology more than human beings and that isn't the most profitable business model.

  11. These are the type of lectures I enjoy; As long as it is connected, vomiting information on me like a continuous stream of consciousness is fine 🙂 Woz needs to do more Ted Talks

  12. such a brilliant man, such a great dreamer just like all true geniuses..shame the big business owners control everything now. Also problem is they took his dream and changed it into something where people are dumber now and don't know how to do anything with their computers beyond point and click

  13. this guy is Apple… he is up there with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Gary Kildall, Sandy Lerner and Len Bosack, Ted Hoff, Marc Andreessen, this guy is not a show man, this guy is a real genius.

  14. 2:30 Well said: cars used to cost 1 full annual salary. Now they cost 10% salary. Homes on the other hand …

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