Apple, Google and Facebook have stood the test of time—so far. But will the tech titans really live forever? Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak believes all three entities will grow even more powerful over the next six decades.
SAN FRANCISCO — When Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs in 1976, the two Steves assumed it would last forever.
Woz still believes that's true. In fact, he's convinced Apple, Google and Facebook will be bigger in 2075, the theme of next weekend's Silicon Valley Comic Con (SVCC), “The Future of Humanity: Where Will We Be in 2075?”
The three-day conference, which Wozniak helped create last year, explores the intersection of pop culture and technology. This year's guests includes the 30th anniversary cast reunion of Star Trek: The Next Generation, actors William Shatner and John Cusack, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and renowned architect Greg Lynn.
SVCC is expected to draw 75,000 to 100,000 from April 21-23 to downtown San Jose. In addition to a start-up village and space exploration zone, its exhibit floor showcases entertainment companies, comic book vendors, and technology exhibits for virtual reality, robotics and smart devices. Panels and film presentations will weigh in on flying cars, aliens, Mars, the implantation of computers into brains and other space-age stuff, show organizers say.
After a first year success that made it the largest fan expo in Northern California, Silicon Valley Comic-Con is returning for a second show in 2017.
Wozniak is no stranger to predictions. In 1982, he said portable laptops would emerge. And he has strong opinions on how we'll live in 58 years.
“Apple will be around a long time, like IBM (which was founded in 1911),” Wozniak said in an interview on Friday. “Look at Apple's cash ($246.1 billion, as of the end of its last fiscal quarter). It can invest in anything. It would be ridiculous to not expect them to be around (in 2075). The same goes for Google and Facebook.”
Woz shared some other predictions on what type of planet we can expect in 2075:
— New cities. Deserts could be ideal locations for cities of the future, designed and built from scratch, according to Wozniak. There, housing problems will not exist and people will shuttle among domed structures. Special wearable suits will allow people to venture outside, he said.
— The influence of artificial intelligence. Within all cities, AI will be ubiquitous, Wozniak says. Like a scene straight from the movie Minority Report, consumers will interact with smart walls and other surfaces to shop, communicate and be entertained. Medical devices will enable self-diagnosis and doctor-free prescriptions, he says. “The question will be ethical, on whether we can eliminate the need for physicians,” he says.
— Mars colony. Woz is convinced a colony will exist on the Red Planet. Echoing the sentiments of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whose Blue Origin start-up has designs on traveling to Mars, Wozniak envisions Earth zoned for residential use and Mars for heavy industry.
— Extraterrestrials. With apologies to those who believe in aliens, Wozniak says there is a “random chance” that Earthlings will communicate with another race. “It's worth trying,” he says, “but I don't have high hopes.”
The trick with predicting the future, Wozniak readily acknowledges, is that it changes so quickly. “Who could have foreseen the rise of an Uber a decade ago?' he says, before pausing.
“She has more power in her hand than Superman,” Wozniak, broadly smiling, says, pointing at a colleague's iPhone. “To make such strides in computing… It shows you how exciting the future can be.”
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