March 25, 2015

Wozniak voices concern over reach of artificial intelligence; sees great supply chain potential in wearables, drones

By DC Velocity Staff

The co-founder of Apple Inc. warned Wednesday of the potentially destructive power of artificial intelligence, saying it could create a world where machines will run businesses better than humans can, and where people could end up becoming the "family pet to the machines."

Steve Wozniak, keynoting the afternoon activities on the third day of ProMat 2015 in Chicago, also said he doesn't plan to own one of the new wearable watches that function as a mobile device. Wozniak said he is content with a basic watch that just tells time through a digital numeric readout. Still, he said he sees huge potential for wearable devices and also believes there is a sizable market opportunity for commercial drone deliveries. He is not optimistic about the outlook for 3-D printing, saying that in its current form, it shows little promise for mass-market commercial application.

Wozniak spoke with Mitch Mac Donald, group editorial director of Agile Business Media LLC, the parent company of DC Velocity and CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly, before an overflow audience

Wozniak, who as an engineer single-handedly built the first two Apple personal computers, the Apple I and Apple II, which revolutionized the microcomputer industry, left the Cupertino, Calif.-based company in 1987, 11 years after forming it with Steve Jobs. Since 2002, he has run "Wheels of Zeus," which makes wireless hardware for tracking the physical location of enabled objects.

Wozniak said Jobs, who died in 2011, was "always interested in what I did" and that he had a solid understanding of how computer components worked. "He could have been an engineer, but he never got to that level," Wozniak said. He recalls that he frequently urged Jobs to listen to feedback from young consumers "because they knew where the world was going."

More coverage from ProMat 2015