We spend an evening with one of the fathers of the personal computer, Steve Wozniak, in Melbourne

Think Inc are an Australian organisation who are putting together some of the most interesting talks for people to go and educate themselves with. Taking a look at their previous events, the two-year-old organisation delve into the talking to people devoted to science more often than not, but intellectual discourse is what they aim for, putting a spotlight on innovation and ideas.

Margaret Court Arena was probably one of the more odd places to see a talk such as this, considering we are more familiar with louder fare in the form of pop stars and large sporting events, and the fact that alcohol was offered seemed to be an ‘only in Australia’ moment.

But things did keep orderly as we waited for Steve Wozniak, the inventor of the personal computer and one of the founders of Apple, an evening that proved something to behold in its own stimulating way. Wozniak particularly had amazing enthusiasm through the talk, looking to the future – where computing and technology can take us, -and reflecting on where it’s been.

The effervescence that Steve Wozniak has is something. For a man who has thought deeply about technology for so long, nothing on him shows a lack of enthusiasm about the future. Wozniak comes on stage with running shoes and such an excitable tone to his voice as he talks about his life with Steve Jobs – making a very pointed note that there never was any ‘garage’ that the two worked out of. His insights on other technologies are what makes him most excited. Tesla gets a particular mention.

Half of the talk also looked ahead to what is coming up, and Dr Jordan Nguyen posed questions on what computer engineering had in store for us. Wozniak reflected on some thought-provoking ideas stating that computers should look to giving what humans need and not replacing us in any way, and expressing his excitement on the possibilities of artificial intelligence without seeing any gloom that others predict.

A section devoted to questions from the audience looked into the importance of education, whilst also looking into what effect this can mean for disability – reasserting his quote from earlier in the night saying that we need to look into what is needed and not replacements.

This talk in the Margaret Court Arena was a delight to hear (and managed better than the Sydney event, apparently). May Steve’s running shoes still be a part of the tech world to come!

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Think Inc’s national tour of talks with Steve Wozniak has concluded. Check out their events page for upcoming talks with guests like Dr Ben Goldcare and Dr Lisa Randall. The writer attended the Melbourne event at the Margaret Court Arena on 27th August.

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