Steve Wozniak is coming to Australia to take part in the future of technology as something other than ‘the other Apple guy’. The co-founder of the iconic computer company has accepted a position as adjunct professor at the University of Technology, Sydney, working with their Innovation and Enterprise Research Laboratory. Because he has a bit of experience with those fields.
This ‘Magic Lab’ researches quantum computing and intelligent systems, two perfect fields for for anyone chasing another society-shifting technological breakthrough. Wozniak has enough honorary degrees to wallpaper the world’s smartest room, but this is the first official position he’s accepted. And any adjunct professor will tell you it’s not a position you take for the glory – it’s one you take to get things done.
It’ll be good to see him commenting on technology news from a position of actually developing again. The internet has often lent him a spotlight based on past achievements, but now he’s looking to sort out the future, too.
Intelligent systems is a particularly apropos field. Apple has done more than any other company to integrate data-recording devices into our everyday lives. Willingly or unwillingly, more people than ever before are uploading untold volumes of information. Literally untold, as no human could ever read through them all. Having given everyone machines to access and create new information, a possible next step is giving them ways of dealing with it all.
He’s already helping students deal with their current situations. Acting as a remote student mentor, he joins class discussions by telepresence – both discussing and incarnating the kind of techno-social interaction we could only dream of 20 years ago. He’s also scheduled for several physical appearances in the lab every year, and has already discussed his long-term plans to become an Australian citizen.
It’s a spectacular status coup for UTS, having an icon of electronics history on active staff. And with the Magic Lab working on fields like ‘Social and Cognitive Robotics’ and ‘Smarter Transport’, Wozniak’s contributions might not be over yet.
One thing is for sure: he’s committed to working on the future of technology, and he’s decided that the best place to do it is Australia.