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Steve Wozniak Predicts The Future (usatoday.com) 198

USA Today asked Steve Wozniak to predict what the world will look like in 2075 -- one hundred years after the founding of Apple. An anonymous reader writes: "He's convinced Apple, Google and Facebook will be bigger in 2075," according to the article -- just like IBM, which endured long past its founding in 1911. Pointing to Apple's $246.1 billion in cash and marketable securities, Wozniak says Apple "can invest in anything. It would be ridiculous to not expect them to be around... The same goes for Google and Facebook."

Woz predicted portable laptops back in 1982, and now says that by 2075, we could also see new cities built from scratch in the deserts, with people wearing special suits to protect them from the heat. AI will be ubiquitous in all cities, as consumers interact with smart walls to communicate -- and to shop -- while home medical devices will allow self-diagnosis and doctor-free prescriptions. And according to the article, 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." (Though he doesn't have high hopes that we'll ever meet aliens.)

Woz is promoting the Silicon Valley Comic Con next weekend. (Not coincidentally, its theme is "The Future of Humanity: Where Will We Be in 2075?") During the interview, Woz pointed at a colleague's iPhone, smiled broadly and said it "shows you how exciting the future can be."
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Steve Wozniak Predicts The Future

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  • by Kazymyr ( 190114 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @03:20PM (#54245601) Journal

    In 1911, it could have been predicted that 106 years later the Tsarist and Austro-Hungarian empires would be around and stronger than ever. There was no reason at that time not to predict that.

    • by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @03:49PM (#54245667) Homepage

      Bad examples. Nobody except maybe the Tsar would've predicted Tsarist Russia would last. It'd been weakening for a long time and there was a revolution in 1905.

      • by Kazymyr ( 190114 )

        Bad examples. Nobody except maybe the Tsar would've predicted Tsarist Russia would last. It'd been weakening for a long time and there was a revolution in 1905.

        Well, here we have Tsar Wozniak making predictions about the Apple empire. :)
        Quite the apt analogy I presume.

      • Bad examples. Nobody except maybe the Tsar would've predicted Tsarist Russia would last. It'd been weakening for a long time and there was a revolution in 1905.

        Like Erdogan in Turkey? Tell us oh great Oracle how will that one turn out?
        The very nature of the future is that it cannot be predicted reliably. Claiming you knew that Tsarist Russi would fall years before it did, in hindsight, does sound a little pretentious...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Well the inverse would be "Whenever you hear a prediction, just assume that is how it will play out, because they always do" so, IOTW, No Shit Sherlock. And you have been modded up for that? Slashdot really has sunk to a low even I couldn't have predicted 20 years ago.
    • by mrsquid0 ( 1335303 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @03:59PM (#54245709) Homepage

      In many ways Putinist Russia is Tsarist Russia. The broad outlines of Russia's current governance and foreign policy would be immediately recognizable to people in 1911. The thing they would not have predicted was the 62-year hiatus in the middle of the 20th century.

      On the other hand, the long-term demographic problems facing Austria-Hungary were known and both Russia and Germany were trying to get their ducks in a row in case the empire collapsed. Much of the lead-up to WWI, and the Balkans wars. was states jockeying for position in a post-AH world. It was widely assumed that Austria-Hungary would not survive in its (then) current form much beyond the death of Franz-Josef. Even his heir was openly talking about radically restructuring the empire.

    • Hungary had been chafing for independence for a century at least already by that time.
    • In 1911, it could have been predicted that 106 years later the Tsarist and Austro-Hungarian empires would be around and stronger than ever. There was no reason at that time not to predict that.

      The same person would have predicted that by 2011, IBM would have its Hollerith card tabulating equipment working at lightning speed. Advanced alloys in the sorters, better lubricants, and data entry girls from low-cost Southern states.

  • Nice try... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpiralBound ( 74839 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @03:23PM (#54245611)

    I'm surprised anyone would bother trying to make such sweeping predictions of "the world of tomorrow". I guess Mr. Wozniak felt that future generations will need something to giggle at in 58 years. I know I get an amused chuckle from reading all those outlandish predictions of what the year 2000 was supposed to be like, as envisioned by futurists of the 1930's. Where's my flying car! LOL! :-)

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      Pretty optimistic to think there will be future generations around in 58 years. Never mind Google or Facebook.
      • Barring a visit by a Class V space jellyfish there will almost certainly be future generations in 58 years. The real question is what will their quality of life be like?

        • The real question is what will their quality of life be like?

          If we use the last 10000 years as an example it is likely to be much better, all the while the great unwashed will believe it's worse.
          This has pretty much been the standard pattern for all of human civilisation.

          • Over the long term, yes. But on shorter time scales there have been a lot of extended ups and downs, and some of the downs have been quite unpleasant for the people who had to live through them.

            • Over the long term and overall. Utopias don't and can't exist. Comparing human progress to them is apples and imaginary oranges.

        • 58 years is roughly the time frame that machines become truly intelligent. Certainly much smarter than they are now. Robots everywhere.

          Most futuristic predictions completely miss that fact. It is just beyond our human emotional comprehension.

          See below for some ideas on what this might really mean.
          http://www.comptuersthink.com/ [comptuersthink.com]

      • Pretty optimistic to think there will be future generations around in 58 years. Never mind Google or Facebook.

        Based on the fact that every single generation in the history of humanity said the exact same thing, I'm going to have a punt and say that in 58 years humans will not only exist, they will be much more developed and advanced than they are now, and they will look back on the early 2000's as primitive and a bit backwards. Just like pretty much every period of human civilisation.
        Don't be fooled by alarmist media or nostalgia googles, the trend of overall human development has been consistently rising since we

      • by Anonymous Coward

        America's standing and influence in the world will descend even lower than it ever has in its entire history - you can take that one to the bank.

    • SO much this. I read Stranger in a Strange Land decades after it was written and it kept leaping out at me how 'quaint' it was.
    • Where's my flying car! LOL! :-)

      Well, we do have hoverboards and androids. Just not the actual hovering ones, or the actual humanoid robots, but who cares.

    • Woz is so dreamy! He's wrong though, the desert cities will have climate bubbles. Definitely climate bubbles.

    • Where's my flying car! LOL! :-)

      They're called "business jets."

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @03:24PM (#54245617)

    .. because there would be little point in showing us how morally, spiritually, and technologically primitive we are.

    • You know we split the atom right? You know im essentially transmitting thought to you effortlessly for almost no cost, right? For all our faults, we are still almost gods.
      • Gods? Gods wouldn't send 99.999% of what humans communicate with each other every day. We are using the tools of greatness to propagate trash. We are the mold growing from the cracks beneath the God machines, and one day we will be scraped off and washed away, never to be heard from again.

      • And yet,

        * Consciousness doesn't exist according to Physics [wikipedia.org]
        * The Big Bang is joke [wikipedia.org] with many unsolved problems
        * We STILL don't know what Electricity is
        * Or what causes Gravity
        * Or how to calculate how long a magnet will stay on a fridge
        * We haven't discovered that Space is relative (i.e. teleportation)
        * We haven't discovered that Time is relative (i.e. time travel)

        So yeah, our current tech is a total joke compared to other advanced civilizations.

    • .. because there would be little point in showing us how morally, spiritually, and technologically primitive we are.

      calm down there, Neil D Tyson.

      http://sciencevibe.com/2017/01... [sciencevibe.com]

  • by DatbeDank ( 4580343 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @03:42PM (#54245647)
    In 100 years people who were successful in one field will continue to try and predict the future in areas that they have no expertise in and still be wrong.
  • No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @03:53PM (#54245683)

    "He's convinced Apple, Google and Facebook will be bigger in 2075,"

    I'm sure everyone in 1975 thought IBM was going to be ruling the playground right now. The truth is that new companies get too big, bureaucratic or unfocused which makes them slow to respond to new technologies while new companies emerge and displace them which happens about every generation or two. It's been my experience that 10 years is about as far as you can see in terms of the technology industry if you're lucky but that doesn't even account for societal changes.

    Here's my prediction: some old fart is going to complain about how the current generation behaves and give their account about how things used to be better.

    • Re:No. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @04:27PM (#54245835)

      Well, they didn't exactly do too bad for themselves. IBM is roughly 30% larger today than they were in 1975, accounting for inflation (~6x the size by pure dollars). Maybe they didn't rule the playground, but they grew even larger and more profitable.

      • But how much bigger is the industry than in 1975? 30% growth in 42 years is nothing..

    • Re:No. (Score:5, Informative)

      by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @04:46PM (#54245901) Homepage

      A whole interview rarely carries over. I was asked if I thought Apple would be around in 100 years. My reply even referred to IBM, along the lines of what you can do and how many restarts you can get when you are that big. I facetiously jabbed at the idea of Trump seeking advice from today's huge internet companies by telling the reporter that they would all ask for lower taxes and become larger yet.

      • Google and Facebook are oranges. Apple as a tech company has to constantly innovate. Google and Facebook will be able to sell ads based off the same technology for to next 100 years. Apple could easily become the next IBM.

  • Is it marketable? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @03:55PM (#54245701)

    That's the question to be asked when you want to know whether something will happen. Can it be monetized? Can someone make money off it? That is the pivotal question.

    Why don't we have colonies on the moon, as a lot of people thought in the 60s? No profit. Why don't we have flying cars? No profit. Why don't we live in one of the many utopias that were promised to us? No profit.

    Socially, the 20xx years will probably be closer to the 18xx years than the 19xx years, without a Soviet Union that forces us to look like we're the good guys, there is exactly no reason that cutthroat capitalism shouldn't be employed to the full extent that we had in the 1800s. Only far, far more efficiently.

    • > Socially, the 20xx years will probably be closer to the 18xx years than the 19xx years, without a Soviet Union that forces us to look like we're the good guys, there is exactly no reason that cutthroat capitalism shouldn't be employed to the full extent that we had in the 1800s. Only far, far more efficiently.

      This is probably the most insightful comment that I have read today.

    • Socially, the 20xx years will probably be closer to the 18xx years than the 19xx years, without a Soviet Union that forces us to look like we're the good guys, there is exactly no reason that cutthroat capitalism shouldn't be employed to the full extent that we had in the 1800s. Only far, far more efficiently.

      I have this discussion all the time when people moan about house prices. The standard complaint is that prices are too high, "my parents could afford a house on a working class wage, why can't I"?
      The error is thinking that the 50's to the 80's is the normal that we measure against, but this period is the anomaly. For most of human history, rich people owned everything and poor people suffered. There's no reason to think that the further we get from the 20th century, the more it will revert back to this mod

      • Re:Is it marketable? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @09:59PM (#54246863)

        The reason our parents could afford a house on a working class wage and we cannot is simply that we earn less than they did. Yes, I'm not kidding here, in buying power we're worse off than our parents were. Well, most of us at least. A select few are actually better off. Then again, it's that select few that probably don't even notice it.

        Our running costs also went up. And I'm not even talking about fluff like that we "need" cell phones and internet. Even if you dump that, we're nowhere near the expense level our parents dealt with. Yes, part of it is convenience. Most of it, though, is planned obsolescence. I do remember my dad repairing our TV, our washing machine and various other electronic devices around the house. Today, when one of them breaks, all you can do is throw it away and buy a new one. And not because you're too stupid to fix it, but because it CANNOT be repaired. Generally, the amount of things you can actually do yourself, build yourself and fix yourself has dwindled into insignificance. I remember my dad actually gathering his buddies and build an extension to our home. Can't do that no more, new building codes and other laws demand that you hire some "professional" to do it.

        Professional only means here that he's doing it for money. Not that he has any fucking clue.

        The list goes on. It's frustrating to know that you're reduced to being a consumer. And this learned helplessness is branching into other areas of our life. More and more people live by the creed of "can't do it anyway, why bother trying".

        In all aspects of their life.

        • I've felt the internet has helped me repair things and be self sufficient. Certainly it has made it easier to get parts for my washing machine and dryer than it'd be otherwise. But I'd agree with the microelectronics like the TV. You can't even have it repaired for less than replacement cost. It is a bit of a boon for me, in a way, that manufacturing all went abroad so I can afford all the tools to do work I can't afford to hire out... I suppose you're right, though, in that if not for cribbing knowledg
        • by ediron2 ( 246908 )

          Nah, bro. All that shit is DIY if you're willing. The internet has fix my appliance websites and repair parts vendors. I've done every aspect of homebuilding from pouring a quarter-acre of concrete and stamping it, to plumbing gas & water (PEX is amazing), craning in trusses (my crane truck and operator was about $80 an hour or $600 a day... worth every penny) and sheathing / shingling roofs, etc. Phones... don't even come in here with how DECT6 at $100 for several extensions isn't as good as 1970-8

        • The reason our parents could afford a house on a working class wage and we cannot is simply that we earn less than they did. Yes, I'm not kidding here, in buying power we're worse off than our parents were. Well, most of us at least. A select few are actually better off. Then again, it's that select few that probably don't even notice it.

          I won't argue that the current generation doesn't earn less than the previous, but there is a bit more to housing than that. Housing coasts have gone up relatively also and there are multiple reasons for that. First, houses are bigger with more features than earlier generations, especially if talking my grandparents or farther back (50's or earlier). "Middle class" housing from that time period not only would not be acceptable to the average family these days, but probably wouldn't even but up to code. You

    • Why don't we have colonies on the moon, as a lot of people thought in the 60s? No profit.

      Startup costs. There's whopping piles of profit on the moon.

      • No. Sorry, but no. Most of what we could extract from the moon exists at best a theoretic concepts that are not even close to a risk/reward study, let alone some kind of financial plan. Whether that would ever be profitable is to be determined.

        • I didn't bother to specify: because startup costs in the 60's were too high. it is still too high today. at some future point when the costs are lower, there are whopping piles of profit on the moon.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The next generation don't think Facebook is "cool". And Facebook's push for monetization is annoying existing users. It's getting by on momentum and critical mass, but I can see a new pretender overtaking it within the next 10 years.

  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @04:11PM (#54245773)
    the year of the Linux desktop
  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @04:12PM (#54245779)

    No catgirls?!

  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @04:15PM (#54245801)

    I predict it will be more like Idiocracy. In fact it's already begun.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This. I don't know anyone successful or smart that is a breeder. I've lived in a lot of different cities between the US and Europe, but I've decided to stay in Seattle since it seems the most enlightened area. Dogs outnumber kids almost two to one here. With only stupid people breeding, the human race is doomed.

      • In Seattle they only have dialup. And no jobs because Microsoft laid off their entire QA department. That is why I am working as a maintenance guy and don't have a girlfriend.
  • Makes perfect sense to me. It may just be a matter of economics:

    In the past, cities tended to grow at strategic locations, or where it is relatively easy (read: cheap) to support a city. Like near a choke point between land masses. Or a river delta (easy transport up river). Or in the middle of an area with fertile agricultural land.

    In a technological advanced society, it should be possible to recycle most raw materials (including water). Most food could be grown in 10-story greenhouses where crops don

    • In the past, cities tended to grow at strategic locations, or where it is relatively easy (read: cheap) to support a city.

      If that's so, how do you explain Los Angeles?
    • It would be more general to say - cities are found where people have a reason for wanting to live in large numbers.

      Historically that has meant most often natural nexuses of transportation, centers of industrial and other economic activity, and governmental administrative centers. And cities have a natural tendency toward self-reinforcing growth - once economic activity and large numbers of people are located at once place, more of both tends to follow.

      In the case of Las Vegas its founding as a major city wa

  • ...Woz predicted portable laptops back in 1982,...

    And what else did he predict that hasn't come true?
    Laptops? In 1982? That really wasn't a stretch.

  • My predictions... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    A world market crash as rogue agents from various countries manipulate high speed trading markets for immediate gains, destabilizing the currently in-place market balance agreements between the top trading organizations around the globe. Apple shares will plummet to $1 per share, at which point Apple will be bought out by Costco, and the iPhone will be marketed in bulk packs of 25 and as a loss leader for Costco Internet Services. Costco Internet Services will actually be a division of Amazon run on the Ame

  • People are spoiled. They saw the amazing progress of digital electronics in the early-mid 1900s until now, and extrapolate that the future will show the same progress. Guess what? It won't. The digital revolution is coming to an end. We are hitting physical limits we cannot progress beyond. And we certainly cannot live on Mars, because, you know, evolution and biology and stuff. Just because someone has an iPhone doesn't mean anything at all.
  • Large players currently can grow, buy, or merge without any oversight. If that continues the prediction might be right. But there are many unknowns. Facebook and Google rely on advertisement. If the technology for blocking or removing or filtering adds gets better and more wide spread, that revenue might dry out. On the other hand these players are so large (similarly like Amazon, Microsoft or Oracle) that they can diversify and buy up new technology, surviving in other sectors , even so the original sector
  • I remember when Disney and others predicted people would drive flying cars.

    Can you imagine the unwashed masses piloting flying cars without any lanes? They drive shitty enough with land-based vehicles.

  • by arobatino ( 46791 ) on Sunday April 16, 2017 @08:03PM (#54246507)

    Woz predicted portable laptops back in 1982

    Laptops were predicted in the September 1977 Scientific American article Microelectronics and the Personal Computer [dreammachin.es] by Alan C. Kay. That's just one prediction I happened to know, there may be earlier ones.

    • And the Osborne 1 *shipped* in July 1981. Yeah it was a luggable portable not a laptop, but imagining that it would shrink and add a battery isn't exactly a big leap.

  • How soon people forget that it was less than a decade ago that everyone was convinced MySpace was going to be around forever, Windows was going to be killed off by "desktop Linux", the demise of Blockbuster meant DVD's-by-mail was the future of home video viewing, Amazon's business model was destined to fail, Blackberry was the future of smartphones, and everyone would be driving hydrogen cars.
  • Alternatively, our society will have exhausted a key resource required for the next technological revolution required to get rid of it. Everything will collapse, and nothing the Woz describe will happen.
  • In 1982, Woz saw the future as having portable laptops; they duly came out several years later. He was deeply involved in the microcomputing field, and the ever constant miniaturization was readily apparent to any observer. Not to mention adults during 1982 would have likely experience the transition from desk calculators to handheld calculators. Woz's prediction may have been a rarer one (I don't know on this), but it was in the very-near-future and rather obvious to anyone with a hint of imagination. Accu
  • 1. Batteries that are 5x better than what we have today.
    2. Artificial muscle to replace bulky inefficient motors.
    3. Solar cells that are 3x cheaper than today's lowest cost.
    4. Fusion energy (current viable path exists via MagLIF or ITER).
    5. Cure stage IV cancer and autoimmune diseases reliably.

    • Frankly by 2075 I think we may only be able to tackle #5 to some extent. Fusion energy, while technologically viable, is not going to happen due to the fact that politicians keep trying to pull funding. I doubt we'll be able to improve batteries or solar cells much by 2075. There is hardly any materials scientists that care about artificial muscle .. so that one's not gonna happen either.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Rob Lister ( 4174831 )
      1. Batteries 5x better. I think that is the most realistic of the list. Li-air certainly but maybe zinc-air might dwarf that. 2. Mech Muscles. I think that is reasonable but may not be widely deployed. 3. Solar is already pretty damn cheap at $1/watt. Couple with 5x batteries and today's tech is fine. 4. Fusion will be just 50 years away. Modular fission will be all the rage. 5. Probably but it doesn't really matter.
  • > He's convinced Apple, Google and Facebook will be bigger in 2075,"

    He's convinced Apple that Google and Facebook will be bigger? How did he do that? And why did Apple need to be convinced?

  • colonies on the moon? travelling to other planets? flying cars? jetpacks? biodomes?

    It'll take way more than 2075 for a colony on mars. It takes a decade to build a highway 100km long.

    It took thirty years for cellphones to get a touchscreen.

    People have been diagnosing themselves at home for millenia. The advancement was the doctor, not the diagnosis.

    Doctor-free prescriptions are called illicit drugs.

    Civilization doesn't move that fast, nor that way. Makes for a nice book though.

  • No one will be around to prove that humans existed.
  • A lot of things will be different in the future... On a more serious note, I won't be here in 2075, unless they figure out how to keep a 130 year old person alive. Personally, I don't want to live that long. I see the world (if they don't blow themselves up), being dominated by a super muslim majority simply because the rest of the worlds birth rate is not enough to sustain their populations. ALL ethnic groups except for the super breeding muslims, are in a negative rate. With the so called refugees bein
  • If the likes of Google, and especially Facebook, would not only still be around but 'bigger than ever', then I'm glad I'll be long since dead by that point, since that sounds like a pretty shitty world to have to live in.

    Personally I think he's mostly full of crap. Apple may still be around in 60 years, but Google and Facebook? LOL, no, especially not any sort of so-called 'social media' nonsense. I think 'social media' is just a fad that'll eventually pass, or at the very least the face of it will change
  • Why does he think that shopping will be around in 2075?

  • 2022 is only 5 years from now, we'll all be able to verify if the predictions were true.

If all the world's economists were laid end to end, we wouldn't reach a conclusion. -- William Baumol

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