Lecture of Steve Wozniak
The transcript of the speech
October 7th, 2017, Lomonosov Moscow State University
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This transcript is a translation of Steve Wozniak's comments. While it is believed to be accurate, it has not been warranted by Mr. Wozniak. Reuse, reproduction or distribution without written permission is disallowed.
Oleg Bartunov:
Let's start with one of the most interesting questons. Today is a time for most incredible ideas to come true. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, quantum computers, internet of things - all these innovations create a huge field for activities. They change the society, impact on economics, and even on relationship between people. What technologies have impressed you most recently, and where do you expect the next breakthrough innovations in technology to appear?
Steve Wozniak:
Sure. Everyone in the world is interested in where we are going, what are the new technologies, what impact are they going to have on products and lifestyle? So, the categories you mentioned are all the ones that are pretty much being spoken of. I actually looked to each one of those with great hopes for improving our future as humans. One category you left out ‒ this is already becoming very prominent ‒ it's that of personal assistance. Personal assistance can be like the Amazon Echo, Siri, Cortana, Bixby on Samsung Phones. I can ask questions. I like the Amazon Echo because I never have to lift a finger, I never have to pick up a phone, I never have to address even a watch to get something done and I can ask questions. Last night at my hotel room I just said "Play song with lyrics…" And I gave some lyrics to the song. And it started playing the song, it didn't respond back ‒ "Here is the answer, here's the song you're looking for." It actually did what I directed it to do.

So, understanding human speech the way a human being would is very important to me in all the personal assistance we have. We're also looking forward to a future of robotics.

Humanoid robotics. Robotics that kind of walk and have hands to manipulate things. That field is growing much more slowly than computer science and other sorts of digital products. But some day I envision machines that walk around and help you very much. What is my idea of a perfect personal assistant? What you need today gets done yesterday. So, anyway, artificial intelligence is probably the key of the categories you did mention because it applies to almost everything in life including personal assistance.

But we speak of examples that we have today: machines that can play go, machines that can play chess better than any humans. They can come up with answers and make decisions for calculations and big data much faster than any human does. And we sort of call it intelligence. My entire life we have called this thing "artificial intelligence" ‒ a script set of rule determining better performance than a human seems like intelligence. But when I was very young I was taught that that really is simulated intelligence. It pretends to be intelligence. It looks like intelligence but it's not like a human brain. My entire life from a very early age, from the first program I ever wrote on a computer ‒ a computer that could do one million things a second still couldn't solve the simple problem. A human brain can look at a problem and say "How can it be solved?" We do not have computers that sit back and say, when we talk about artificial intelligence, our computers don't say "What should I do and what is the best method to approach this problem?" They only obey instructions that really come from humans.

What's the problem? We do not know how the brain is wired. We act like we know 10 000 things about the brain. But really there's a big blank hole as to how it is structured. You can predict that machine will someday be able to analyze as much data as fast as human brain. And maybe that implies singularity where you can't predict what's beyond it. Maybe the computer will start thinking for itself. Maybe it will become real and even have consciousness and feelings. But we can't say that because we do not know how the brain is structured. Otherwise, we could make a brain. Right now it takes 9 months to make a brain.
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Oleg Bartunov:
You know, I am afraid that computers may learn to love oneday.
Steve Wozniak:
As a matter of fact, what the movie Her ‒ some of you may have seen the movie Her ‒ computers fell in love. But the thing is what is love? Is it just an amalgamation of processing enough data fast enough and combining it all and trying to make sense out of it leads to something like love? Would a computer fall in love with a human or would it fall in love with another computer that sort of has the same background and thinks the same? And that was the theme of the movie Her ‒ falling in love with computer were a lot more valuable presence to communicate with slow humans. But theoretically you can't say no. You cannot say no. Perhaps someday we will discover that our feelings actually do amount to a lot of preprogrammed logic… the ways that our brains work to combine things will actually lead to love and maybe a computer will live to those sorts of emotions but it may be expressed in very different terms than humans'.

I relate to the rest of you, I relate to somebody I could fall in love with and I have with somebody from Moscow in the past. But I can relate to it because we all live human lives. We know what brings happiness and joy to us, we know what brings sadness, we listen to news, we go to the beach and we have a nice breeze, we have beautiful days. We have these things in common. A computer that doesn't really walk around and share a human life will have a problem relating to however humans think and falling in love with them.
Oleg Bartunov:
Let me take advantage of being a moderator. I would like to ask you the question which is interesting for me personally as for co-founder of Postgres Professional company - the company that develops database management systems - and as for a member of the international open source community Postgres: do you believe that open source may become a driver for technology development? Whether open source and freely distributed software will be competitive with proprietary software in the future, and what is the role of open source in the technological process?
Steve Wozniak:
The simple answer is yes. All my life I have been a proponent of open source. Basically it goes back to my university days when I had intellectual freedom. I could explore manuals from courses that I was not even taking. I could study deeply into a course before it even started. I loved the subject and I wanted to learn. But I developed skills, I developed talents, ways to make computers do things that were useful for myself and for others in society. And open source implies when maybe great companies develop products, they allow me to get in and add my modifications because I have a brain that knows how to use these technologies. I'm not limited to "what you get is what you get and you can't play with it and be a factor in the game". So, for me my own technical intellectual development was largely based on an idea that those of us who were smart should not be restricted from using what we have learnt or taught ourselves or discovered in life. It's one of the most fun parts of life.

Open source means you have some ideas and thinking and you share them with the world. My first computer, the Apple I, I gave it away for free to the world. No ownership, no copyrights. But I believe that other people will look at what you've done and add their own knowledge and intelligence and ways to improve it to take it to the next step. It's like mathematics. You learn one type of mathematics at 8 years old and a little more at 9 years old ‒ they all build on each other right up through the calculus or quantum physics. It's a learning curve and you base upon what you've learnt before or what has been done before. And that's how technology is. Almost all technology takes steps that were suggested or made possible by other advances in the past. I'm a very big proponent of open source software that can be implemented in different ways. And it doesn't mean you can't make money.
Oleg Bartunov:
We see that major companies become users of open source software. What is your forecast for how soon the open source software may become a prevailing power in technological development? May it happen in five or ten years, for example?
Steve Wozniak:
My impression from being around technology and startups in the United States is that almost all new projects start with an emphasis on open source being good. Looking at startup ‒ even the company that wants to run itself and has a bunch of software online on the Internet to communicate with the outside world almost always starts with open source products ‒ Linux, SQL, web servers that are out there, whatever. To me everywhere I go I run into people who are thinking of doing new things and open source is really a way to do it.

I think it's enhanced by a lot of open source thinking that goes around in our universities, the greatest technical universities like MIT, for example and all the way through. Young people are enjoying learning new technical skills and having ability to apply them and not being told "You can only go in certain tracks that others have taken before you". No, you want to pave your own way. And I believe that open source has already made such an impact! I can't remember being around a startup or a company that was anything other than open source at least to some extent.
Oleg Bartunov:
I guess it's quite clear for all of you that open source is what we need right now. You can use your skills to join some open source project or to launch your own one. And you don't have to wait at all, because the life changes too fast, so after graduating from the university you may realize yourself to be almost auld!

The idea of the blockchain as it was thought was to create a universal independent tool which will simplify interaction between people. It's one of the trendy trends today. To mention, our company deals with blockchain as well - we pursue integraton of blockchain technology into relational database. Do you believe that blockchain will bring real changes affecting the life of society, or it will be dissolved by the traditional bureaucratic systems?

Steve Wozniak:
It's very difficult to answer that question yes or no. Bureaucracies are hard to understand when you grow up mathematical, scientific, engineering, technology, logic, computers… Technology always advances the word. Bureaucracy comes from people who want to control and to ensure their control and to make things difficult and to benefit from them. And it's related to politics.

I would offer that politicians are not the important people in the world. Anything a politician does ‒ a few years later you might say "Oh, it was bad! We're going to move back and live the same as we were." It never seems to get a full agreement that we're advancing mankind through politics. But the leaders of great technology companies and great technology companies themselves always move mankind forward. Places that we can do things that we never did before and we don't go back. So, the question was… I'm getting off track.
Oleg Bartunov:
How strongly do you believe that blockchain will not be dissolved by the traditional bureaucratic system?

Steve Wozniak:
Blockchain? So, when blockchain first came about I wasn't really involved in its development but then I heard about the study and right away I loved the fact that it defined an entity with mathematics. Mathematics is pure, you can't undo it. The total number of Bitcoin, for example, in that blockchain is limited by the Math. My Gosh! We live in countries where the governments just print more, more and more currency and it devaluates all the currency that we already have and it's an easy thing, it's a game. It's not like money is real. It's like an artificial, economic… something we study and play with. Bitcoin is much more real. The price of a Bitcoin will always be determined by the cost that it takes to mine another Bitcoin.

Another thing I like about blockchain technology is the fact that it's not centralized and controlled. You're not forced to go through a bureaucracy. There really is no exact government. It is like classes that are taught with no direct instructor. Students collaborate with themselves and go online and learn what they need to learn ‒ something you can do with university age. But it's not like you have to go through a structure, get approval, pay all the gatekeepers along the way and I like it very much that it's just like blockchain technology has spread out everywhere. A ledger that keeps track of what has been done and who has what is everywhere. It's not in one place ‒ on a university database that a hacker could get in and modify or those who control the database who subtract things just like normal banks.

So, blockchain technology is going to have application in medical field, in banking field, in all parts of our life and it isn't going to go away. And we all have to fight for it.
Oleg Bartunov:
Steve, it was you who invented a personal computer some time ago. We see that humanity is constantly concerned with improving of different technologies, for the purpose to increase the quality of life. That's what you have been talking about as well. Indeed, many things are faster and easier for us now. But do you believe that we have become happyier and gained more freedom?
Steve Wozniak:
That's funny, because I don't measure the success of life in terms of accomplishment. I measure it in terms of happiness, how you feel, do you enjoy life, have more enjoyment and less disfavor, more smiles, fewer frowns. That's the measure of life. Has technology led to more of this happiness?

When I think deeply in my head, I go hundreds of years, thousands of years before. We have developed so many tools and technologies as mankind. Are we happier than men were tens of thousands of years ago? My answer is, as far as I know, they had to be just as happy to survive as species. So, I'm not sure that we always get to greater happiness.

When I was young, I wanted to be an engineer. Engineers made devices that made life easier. A washing machine washes our clothes rather than having to do a lot of manual labor. Wow, that sounds good! So, we're going to be happier, because we have automatic machines. But I don't really see that it leads to happiness in the end.

In our theory we as mankind are determined to explore and create new things ‒ be engineers to make things that never existed, to make life easier. We have a drive inside of us. Why would we have a drive from evolution or if you want to say from God, why would we have a drive if it's purpose was not to get us more happiness? So, maybe someday we will get to that place where we're ultimately happy. I also believe when I was young, 10 years old, deciding to be an engineer in my life I decided that someday maybe if we build all this equipment that does things for us and makes life easy instead of working five days a week, we will only have to work four days a week. I look around myself now and to own a home in Silicon Valley, two people have to work full time stressful jobs to own a home. When I grew up and was young, making decisions about how I was going to make life easier, only one person had to work. We had our home, we had our cars, we had our education, we had our entertainment, we had our vacations. We really had our food and clothing, we had it all.

So, I don't think that life got easier necessarily. It might have gotten a little bit harder or more stressful. The faster things move and change, technology changes, the more stressful life can be ‒ just trying to keep up with it is a hassle. We've got our devices but there's a different way to get an answer. Everywhere I go in the world I run into people who say "Oh, thank you for this technology! It means a lot to me!" I think most people would say it makes us happier. Now that we've gotten today's technology with computers to create and with mobile devices to communicate with others and play games and all… So, we've got good bandwidth where we can just instantly stream audio and video and have a more enjoyable life. I think, most people would say "Yes, it has made us happier." But has it made us more independent as humankind or are we only as good as our machines? I would rather be tested on my own brain.

But you cannot stop technology. When technology moves in a certain direction, you can't say "Hey, it's bringing some bad sides to it! We will not be as happy for certain reasons if we don't solve problems ourselves, the computer solves it. " Well, the trouble is you can't stop it. It's like standing in front of a huge tank, huge steamroller and trying to stop it. You're just going to get run over.
Oleg Bartunov:
You see now why it is so important to be able to laugh, smile and to enhance communication skills in general? Technological development could not be stopped, as Steve pointed out, but that's our job to comprehend their use. Technologies come with opportunities, though not all of us are able to take advantage of them. How will you use the extra time that technologies give you? Probably you have mentioned how the people in the underground are obsessed with their gadgets? So maybe just try to disconnect and build communication with each other instead?

It is commonly believed that education should go in pace with the technological development. What would you advise modern IT-students to choose as a promising path for professional growth, and what should other people who are not acquainted with technologies do?
Steve Wozniak:
Before I answer that question which is hard to answer, I will tell a little story. Steve Jobs and I in deciding to start Apple, we had a purpose. We talked and we said "We would like to build technology that will someday make blind people equivalent to sighted people."

And after all this time you have to admit that we succeeded, because everywhere you go at a train station people are looking at their machines and they are blind to the world. That's a joke. As far as what should you study today to be in line for tomorrow, there isn't one answer. All people are different. Society requires a lot of talent in many, many disciplines to work functionally and smoothly. So, it's wrong to say everyone should be a certain digital engineer, everyone should be analogue engineer. Someone should be a writer, these people should make music, other people should study chemistry or physics because we need to develop new devices. There is no one right answer.

You can look at where are the jobs that are disappearing. And they are not necessarily disappearing because of smartness of technology ‒ only a little bit. It's largely the mechanics. We're in the fossil fuel age. We have more energy available per person that we could've ever imagined and we can make huge machines called robots that assemble huge things like cars. And those used to be human jobs. So, you can look where human job are going away and say "Maybe these are categories to ignore".

But whatever you choose to do with life, you choose to be a digital engineer, because every company is modifying the way that it interacts with the public, with other businesses. Every company is going digital. If you choose to be a digital person or you choose to be a person that understands how to assemble small devices, even watches with your own hands, you should try to be one of the best in the world. That should be your goal. How can I be the best in the world? Try to be better than those around you. Think of other people that would solve the same problem, do the same thing, maybe invent the same circuit or device or write the same program. And I have written it. And pretty much a million people are trained with the same training, the same books, the same lecturers as myself and they would turn out something equivalent. What can I do that's a little special? Go back a second time, rethink things. Is there a way I can do it better? If you love what you are doing, you will become one of the best in the world.

I, myself, I love mathematics. When I was in high school, we would be assigned to do the odd problems at the end of a chapter from number 1 to 37. They do the odd problems for homework. I would do every single problem all the way to number 50. I would do every one and any extra assignments I could because I loved it. Not because I got a better grade. When I designed circuits that led up a long path leading up to Apple computer, I had reputation for thinking out the most optimal design with the fewest parts. That was my way of being better than other people. And I would come up with tricks that were in my head and not in any books.

Almost everything I created in my life I did… We are taught techniques to use building blocks and how those building blocks are built up into products, maybe a final program. But we are taught to create on our own, to have an idea in our head. The neuron connection is virtual and how to make something real out of it? As an engineer I never wanted to do what's already in the books. A million people would be doing the same thing as me. I always think "Is there a different way, a better way, alternative approach?" If something took me 78 digital chips to build, I would go to sleep every night thinking "Is there a way to cut it down to 76 chips or 75 chips? Is there a way I could do less?" And I came up with a talent not of knowing how to reduce them but the talent of how to come up with a way to reduce them. And it made me stand out and I had a big reputation for that. And I was proud of it. You're proud of what you're good at. I've got so good at it before I ever thought "I would have a job designing computer". I just loved doing it.

So, everyone should pursue the disciplines at the university level that they are getting the most happiness, that they feel they are the best and will have the most to contribute whether or not it looks like it's a guide to their future employment.
Oleg Bartunov:
Hope that you have noticed so many useful advices. As for me, challenges and competetions are my passion. I believe this is a good way to test youself, to proove of what you really can do, and to be proud of it. And for young people this is a good approach as well. Sitting here next to Steve, I am almost ready to fly, inspired by his words. I guess you should feel the same.

Steve, there is an opinion that the world has been facing with a crisis of great ideas for many years. What do you think the next great goal should look like, and whether the society needs such goals indeed?

Steve Wozniak:
I'm not sure I understand the question as it was phrased. The next goal to me is I would love to see us becoming dispersed an separated farther from politics and more into use of the brain, emphasize the good brains. We really are the key to the future, to making decisions to all of us and that's about all I can say on that cause I don't understand that well.
Oleg Bartunov:
Steve, actually I meant the next great idea for the humanity.
Steve Wozniak:
A great idea for the humanity. Yes. Well, obviously machines that interact and act just like human being were on a course. Every step of the way from personal computers to today we have made the machines seem more genuine, more realistic, more like realities. Cartoons changed into live video, virtual reality makes you feel like you're in another word. Artificial reality will give us information about the world at our fingertips. I will be able to look at you and see your name and, of course, every website you've ever browsed and every click you've ever made and everything you've ever said online.

Next idea is very difficult to say. I would say machines that are very good friends to human but help us more than we could ever do by ourselves.
Oleg Bartunov:
I thought you would say something like the great idea is to discover how the universe is evolving, how to pass the black hole safely, are we ready to meet aliens and so on?
Steve Wozniak:
Yes. I agree, the search for science is a part of our live and we all have those questions, so it's not like me specifically. I don't think you necessarily get answers looking that far out. You get mathematics and you get science that explains a lot of things and makes us feel good about discovery. But a lot of those things are so far away ‒ we'll never visit them, we'll never be there, we'll never know the answer for sure. And I prefer to be an engineer. I grew up as an engineer with my feet on the ground. I'm not a science fiction writer but an engineer who wants to say "These are the practical, possible things to do".
Oleg Bartunov:
I respect your point of view. Steve Jobs and you are not just inventors of a new product. In some mean you are creators of the art object. The technology gave you an opportunity to realize your creativity power. In your opinion, how important it is to follow creative rather than technical approach solely in all that you do?
Steve Wozniak:
Coming from Apple computer we get recognized for the creativity in computers. But it goes back to a time before there was any press. There were I and Steve Jobs for five years leading up to Apple computer. We try to go back now and say "Here's how Steve Jobs was and here's how Steve Wozniak was and here were the goals for the company…" And they don't look at the fact that when we started Apple computer, we were in our young 20s. We had no money, no savings accounts, no bank accounts, no rich relatives. We had no business experience. We were young kids. We had some brains and the actual thinking originally behind… the first couple of computers I built them myself, I owned them myself even before Steve Jobs knew they existed.

And my motivation wasn't really to start a company. It was to bring a tool to society that would help us communicate better, educate better and be more productive and creative if we learn how to use this tool. And the Apple II computer which we started real corporation with… We had two starts to Apple. The second start was the big one ‒ that's the Apple computer you know today. Steve Jobs and myself and we had third equal partner who owned as much of the company ‒ our investor and head of marketing, Mike Markkula. Mike Markkula was an adult. He looked at Steve and I and he taught us who you hire, how do you create a technology company, what are the roles of various job positions. And he taught us the importance of marketing. He would run marketing. He felt marketing was more important than engineer. And he ran marketing and he talked about marketing principles.

Steve Jobs wanted to be successful in life, he wanted to be important. He didn't have the academic background or the job background that would lead him to be in one of those few important people in life. But he wanted to be there. And he didn't have a technical background, he did not know the insides of a computer ‒ hardware or software or how it worked. He barely had touched just the outsides of any computer ‒ running a program on a teletype, on a computer far away. So, Steve wasn't technical, so he started paying attention to the business, the face of Apple.

I did not want to be seen by people, I didn't want to talk to the press. I was shy. I just wanted to go into a laboratory and be an inventor like my heroes in life. And I wanted to have ideas and to create new things and build them ‒ keep me away from the business side of the company. But Steve wanted to learn the business. Even without a title he would interact with everybody in the company and learn how to run every facet of the business. That was actually defined as his role and job. He paid attention to marketing, principles of art. Somebody can look at a photograph, it's subjective and I like this for this reason. I studied great pianists, I studied great musicians of the past and everyone can have their opinion. And Steve decided that some of this esoteric talk, the way you put beauty in a product is going to be his role of speaking.

Whether it made a difference in our product… We started the company with the product that would be all of our revenues for the first 10 years of Apple computer. 10 years based on a product that was already done before we started the company. It's hard to say. The product had been built by me and a lot of the beauty that I put in it is not a sort of beauty that Steve Jobs would be recognized for eventually, of how things look and what they signify in a human brain, how they bring you into the technology and make you feel a part of it. Steve Jobs went in that direction because he wasn't technical.

To me the greatest thing in the world would be not for people to say "You started a great company", not for people to say "You invented the personal computer formula". It would be for other engineers to look at my drawings, my schematics, my designs, my creations, my software, my code ‒ line by line ‒ and say "Wow, this is just amazing stuff! This is not normal. This is not our of engineers' textbooks. This impresses me". I wanted other engineers to see how great I was at my form of art.

Only in later years did I come to appreciate things like user interface. Things on a screen have to make sense to a human being. The Macintosh under Steve Jobs, although it was a failure, it was a great step in the direction of the human being more important than technology. You, as a human being, see the world in three dimensions. If you want to point at something, you can point at it and say what it is. When we went to the mouse-based computers with our Lisa computer for the Macintosh, we had a mouse-based computer ‒ you could point at something in a two-dimensional space that the eye sees and you can even drag it and drop it into something else just like a person drops a fork into a drawer. This was the human being represented.

The method was put a lot of work in your technology. Programming software to make it so that a human being doesn't have to learn very much, everything seemed and felt natural. That makes the human being more important than a technology. Don't call a screen "a screen" ‒ that's kind of a technical word. Call it "a desktop". Every human being has always been familiar with the word "desktop". Make things natural. If you have an icon that looks like a paintbrush, it will paint. Very simple human terms. Whereas before that people had to learn complex expressions. I am an expert, I have modified my brain, I have learnt everything about the technology. Then I can use it. But that makes the technology more important. I have to adapt who I am as a human to do things the way that technology tells me to do them. Even to this day I have been so influenced. I was very organized structural person designing things with hundreds of little bits and pieces, whether it was tiny… on signal or voltage or how fast it can go or the code or how many… so many pieces of code all tied together trying to minimize them. I spent a lifetime so intensely thinking about it. It's not something easy to do. Very structured.

Now I want to avoid distraction. We have machines… Long time ago Apple had a tablet called Newton MessagePad. You didn't see this things. If you go to the Apple museum and I think it's... or some place like that and you can see that there's actually an Apple museum with the details, this history of development. But we had our Newton. It was a tablet that you could handle with your own muscles. You could handwrite and it understood the words that you wrote. And the first day I had my Newton Message Pad I was in San Francisco airport with my children and I got a phone call. And I handwrote a little reminder message on the outer level. I just opened this prototype and wrote a message "Sarah ‒ my daughter ‒ dentist, Tuesday, 2 p.m." just to remind me to put it on a calendar later. And as I was looking around, I saw the button called "Assist". I said "Oh, it's like the menu! Let's see what this menu is". I clicked the "Assist" button and my new MessagePad opened up a calendar ‒ Tuesday at 2 p.m. It put the word dentist and grabbed Sarah out of my contacts list. That changed my life forever. I wanted to do things in a human way. I wanted to communicate to humans and have the machine understand me ever since. I would even take my Newton MessagePad when I wanted to make a phone call to a friend. I would handwrite with my own muscles "Call Jim" and I click "Assist" and it would go beep-beep-beep and I didn't have to go over to a phone and in a structured way hit 353-4747. I didn't have to do that anymore. I just got to live in a human world.

Obviously we now have speech assistance like Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, Bixby and we can just speak natural ideas, speak it out and not have to follow a lot of set procedures to get it done. And I much prefer that life because it makes me feel that I get to be a human and the technology is more invisible and out of my way.
Oleg Bartunov:
Yes, I guess that many software developers faced with the problem that even almost perfect algorithmes that make you admire may not be appreciated by users if they are given a poor users interface.

Steve, I know you have been travelling a lot with lectures all over the world, speaking to youth people much. Why do you do that, and do you believe in potential of youth?
Steve Wozniak:
It goes way back… These are internal core values when I refer to the younger people than myself. But I had this goal and these internal values from when I was very young and my father would teach me about the importance of education, of learning things, how to eventually be an engineer and create things. But education was going to be my future. It was going to get me a job. It was going to get me an income. I was going to afford a house and a family. And I came up with extremely high education values.

I felt that my teacher… I was 10 years old, by the way, and I told my father "I'm going to be an electrical engineer like yourself but second, I'm going to be a teacher, a teacher of 10 and 11 year olds, a fifth grade teacher. That was a goal of mine. I felt that my teachers were so important in my life and so good. I will point out that after Apple was successful I went back to college under a fake name because my name was famous. And so, my Berkley diploma actually says Rocky Raccoon Clark. But I wanted to tell my own children "Yes, I went to college. Education was that important to me". Now I feel you get educated everywhere you go in life. Walking on a street, talking with friends, reading an article here and there, sharing ideas. It doesn't necessarily have to be in an academic sense and a lot of things that you actually learn in school don't apply to a real job once you have one.

And what was the topic?... I don't want to get too far off…
Oleg Bartunov:
All the same, why do you do that and do you believe in potential of the growing generation?
Steve Wozniak:
Yes. So, I grew up my entire life saying "I believe in young people. They are the future of the world. Their education is so important". And everywhere I went in all stages of my life I paid attention and thinking to the younger. In my own family I would say "Wait a minute, we, adults, keep the best computer and give the older computers to the young kids. But the young kids use them better. That's wrong! The young kids should have the best computers". The youngest kid in my family would always get the most to say in decision and choice. They were not taught, you were independent, you would only get along if you follow what older people tell you. I believe in young people.

When I took psychology courses ‒ and I almost got my degree in psychology ‒ I paid attention to the development of the human mind in young children, particularly infants and how much that might tell us about what computers can do some day. Eventually I was giving computers to schools, because if you have a lot of money, it's easy. It doesn't mean you have to sacrifice a lot. And I said to really sacrifice I would fulfill my goal and be a teacher. And Apple have been very successful but I went back. I taught in the public school, I taught 10 to 12 year old children how to use their computer, how to apply the computer to all of the subjects in your class. I taught for 8 years. At one point I had so many classes going ‒ I was teaching 7 days a week. I wrote my own lessons, I never used a book. I believe in them. You have to understand the students.

Apple wanted me to create CD discs that they could distribute my courses to million people. And I said "No, I want to be like a normal teacher interacting with 15 to 30 students at a time and knowing that some day I will know their names and their history. I will go to some of their college graduations. That's one thing. Youth is very important to me. We, older people that are successful, should do all we can to help the young ones come up. We should be their mentors in life, in technology, in education.

And secondarily, one of the reasons I like speaking to young people is to inspire them as to where I came from. In my high school days I had great electronics and computer development even before high school and huge science fair projects that were like Master's degree programs at a university and I had my ham radio license at 10 years old. But in high school and college I got to explore things that were not in school, I got to go way beyond the university. As I mentioned before, my first year of college, Introduction to Computers, was a graduate level course. And I took it and I got an A+ and I wrote every program I could think of running and I overran a budget by five times.

But I just loved doing this! I would buy and there was a time in my life when I could develop because you went to a university bookstore and your first year of college, your first year of college you had to take the standard courses. But I could find books on programming languages. I got a part-time job washing dishes in a girl's dorm so that I had a little money and I could buy extra manual and learn programming languages that I would never use, I would never have a class on, never had a grade.

This was a time of intellectual freedom and growth. That's what I see in a university. Yes, you're exposed to an awful lot of education that will help you change the world of the future when you're in a university. But how you apply it and how far you take it is up to you. When you are this young, your personality is forming, your values in life, what's important, how you're going to be and how you're going to live ‒ that's important too. But at this point in your life you have intellectual abilities, you can think better, faster, father than you will at later points in your life. It's the fact that's true. You also have more physical energy. You can stay up late at night working on projects as all engineering, science, programmers, everybody who has problems to solve winds up spending late at night trying to find out what's wrong, how do I make it work. It's just a part of life but you have more energy to do that when you're young. If you don't waste your free time. When you have free time, work on ideas that could advance the world and be special even if they don't apply to the company that you work for. And that's how you're going to have a chance to develop something great.

So, I believe every chance I get to inspire, to mentor young people, to tell them where I came from and that you don't have to feel that you're just a pawn in a game and just going along with how things are. No, you can do great things on your own but remember this: do them even if they are not worth money. Just great things to show your friends, to amaze yourself, fun little things ‒ write programs that solve puzzles. Every time you do that your brain advances and you learn and you feel happier about the direction you've chosen.
Oleg Bartunov:
Steve has said the very right thing: one should not waste his time. One should not stay at one place. Better try, think and create, not necessarily in the field of your present study - just give a chance to your phantasy. You are youth, and the future belonges to you. You are creating the future!

One simple question now, Steve. I guess you have millions of stories about the Apple. Please tell us the one which you think would be useful for the audience today.

Steve Wozniak:
I have so many great stories about Apple, about life, even stories five years before Apple. A lot of stories with Steve Jobs and the things we did. But I'm going to pick a story from a very early Apple time that is relatively unknown. We had a new computer. We had a computer that was far ahead of other things in the world. The Apple II computer was the first time in history that arcade games that you played ‒ joysticks and everything ‒ arcade games would be in color. It was the first time in history the arcade games that you played would be software. You could write a program that made things move. A 9 year old child could write a program and make colors move on a screen. Before that it took engineers hooking wires on chips half a year to a year to develop a prototype for a new game idea. Now a young kid could do it in one day. This was incredible start for Apple. Oh, what was the question? Oh, a story! I'm leading to a story.

The story is so, we were new. We had this great product and we noticed that somebody developed hardware right away that plugged in our machine and plugged into a wall socket and it could send data through your house to another device plugged into a wall socket to turn on light or do other things for you. So, our computer now was attaching to phone lines to make modem calls. We knew that that was in the future. It was attaching to printers through wires, it was attaching to electrical sockets in your house. But we weren't really building a machine that could connect to the phone line and operate the phone line the way phones do.

Up until the start of Apple it had been illegal to do that in the United States. There was one monopoly phone company ‒ AT&T and you could not build your own device and plug it into a phone line. It was illegal. But a law was passed, there was some legislation and it was overturned and anti-monopoly cases…

And now it was legal to build your own devices, some day you could build your own phones, some day you could build your own answering machines. I have rather unique thing: I believed in humor greatly. I had built the first dial-a-joke ‒ a phone number you can dial every day for a new joke. I built the first one in San Francisco Bay Area. Nobody had done it because it was extremely expensive. I could only rent one phone machine called a Phone 700 from AT&T and it was half of my apartment rental. As a young engineer that's way too expensive. But got it because I loved humor. And I rented this machine and it told 2000 jokes a day ‒ probably the most called single line number in the United States.

I thought well, could I program a computer to be a dial-a-joke machine to control a tape recorder to play jokes when people call them? And I hired a phone freak friend, phone freak friend John Draper known as Captain Crunch. He had a reputation for building devices that made free phone calls in the world. I had done that as well. And he understood phone engineering. And I hired him and he designed a board that plugged into our computer and you could tell that board to dial a phone number ‒ 1234567 and it would dial it in a program. You could tell it to a program... Furthermore, I pointed out to him the circuit that he used to send a tone could be hooked up in a different mode that sensed tones coming back. If the phone answered with a busy signal, it could sense that tone. In basic you could say "wait for this tone" and "Is there a busy tone? Is it answering? Is it some other tone?" It was going to be 12 years before modems could dial a call and tell whether anybody answered or not. It took it 30 seconds to decide it must not have been answered. All they had to was listening to a tone.

This was early days. We didn't even have a disc drive on our computer yet or you could say, run a program, programs that run cassette tape. So, John Draper developed this board called the Charlie board that attached to your phone line. It could dial calls, it could turn on and off little signals that started and stopped your tape recorder and rewound it. It was beautiful. Then John wrote the program that would dial 5000 calls a night into companies that had free numbers going in, free calls going in. 5000 times it would listen for a certain tone, it would dial 76, and if it got the right tone coming back it would know it was in one of the ones that had free outgoing on. And then it would try one of a thousand combinations, four digit combinations ‒ 10 thousand combinations. And about once a night you grabbed an outgoing code to make free outgoing calls. That was his motivation.

I took his program as a prank. I loved playing jokes and pranks. That's creativity, that's humor. Making a joke that hasn't existed before. I took his program and instead of having to call 5000 calls a night into some company I had to call Steve Jobs 5000 times a night. He didn't last long.
Oleg Bartunov:
That's a very interesting story. But Steve, didn't you have any troubles with police because of that?
Steve Wozniak:
Didn't have any problems with police because of that. As a matter of fact, I could've modified his program so that he actually got billed for 5000 calls by calling a different far away number. I held up, I said "I cannot do this". You cannot cost a person a lot of money. That's not right.

My run-ins with the police, they probably were close to… In my 3d year of college was the one year that I used a blue box and made free calls all over the world. But I paid for my own calls. I made free calls, I would try to talk to operators in London and in other places. We were not allowed in 1971 to make a phone call to Russia. I could type in country code 7 and the calls would never go through. And I tried over and over and over and I finally got one answer in Russian. So, I got through one time. I was so proud of that! The police were probably onto what I was doing but they never quite caught me. I was just short of being caught, probably because I paid for all of my own long-distance calls. I only wanted to explore the network and learn about it.

In later life I made some unusual money.

Pads of paper… Every sheet was four two dollar bills perforated. Nobody in the United States has seen anything like this. I'd tear them off and I would sell a sheet of four two dollar bills for five dollars. I didn't pay any dollars more, a printer in my town makes them. They meet the specs of the US government, so by law they are legal tender. Oh yes, I wound up with the secret service who's in charge of counterfeit money. And one time they read me my Miranda rights. This is when they're going to interrogate you and ask you questions ‒ they read you your Miranda rights. But I gave the secret service a fake ID that I had used for fun on every airplane flight for five years. It said that I was a laser safety officer and I have an eye patch in the picture. That's my humor. So, secret service bought it.
Oleg Bartunov:
Do you think that technogies of the future may prolong a human life? Let's say, people would be able to live for one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred years? Do you hope to live up to this time?
Steve Wozniak:
I, myself, think about every time we save a life. When we save someone from a heart attack. We've added one to a number in a later year of a death, we've added one death in a later year. You can never change the rate of death from 1.0. Everyone will die ‒ 1.00. So, I became not very concerned about death. We're here. You're not measured by what you don't do when you're gone. I told that to Steve Jobs near his death. You are measured by what you did while you were here. Did you do the right things? Did you have a happy life? Did you improve things? And I'm satisfied. I do not want a longer life. I would not want to live forever. I would almost feel like… I believe I'm one of everybody and we're pretty much all equal. Why would I want to take a spot that somebody else could have to grow up and have a happy life?

Will we have technology that extends life? Well yes, it extends life, it doesn't give us extra life. It just gives us extra portion, a number of years. And I don't believe that we've really gotten to the point that our human life expectancy is greater than it was hundreds of years ago. I read about people back then and they died at the same ages if they were kind of wealthy, taken care of and didn't have some disaster. What we've done is we've come up with things like heart stents, that some disasters we can extend life. And I sometimes even question how valuable it is. It should be your own personal choice whether you want to take some of these technologies that might give you more life for less. I believe in quality over quantity. You should have a good happy life more than you should have a length of life.

Oleg Bartunov:
So, the quality of life is much more important that the life expectancy.

Now I wish to thank all of you, who joined the lecture today, who has been watching the online broadcasting, and in the neighboor rooms too. I wish to thank Steve for coming and bringing to us such a charge of drive and good ideas. And you, now it's your time to adopt them and implement in your life.

It's turn for some nice gifts to Steve now.
Viktor Sadovnichy:
Dear Steve, we are all admired with your lecture! I am especially greatful to you for singing the praises of the mathematics. I wish to thank you as I am a mathematician. And all the youth people are thankful to you for the talk.

Please let me reward you with the highest reward of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, with the letters written in gold, in gratitude for the given lecture.
Thank you!
Oleg Bartunov:
And we have a very interesting gift for Steve as well...
Steve Wozniak:
Wow, I didn't expect this! It means so much to me! Thank you all. Live long and prosper and to the singularity and beyond.
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