Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, is a brilliant, passionate engineer, and a really nice guy too. The guy loves dogs and teaches high school science courses– more than enough reasons for me to like him.
In a recent interview, Woz discussed his feelings and expectations about AI and quantum computers. Check out this news item about what he said:
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on robot overlords and electric cars (24 March 2015, by Paul Smith)
“Computers are going to take over from humans, no question,” Mr Wozniak said.
He said he had long dismissed the ideas of writers like Raymond Kurzweil, who have warned that rapid increases in technology will mean machine intelligence will outstrip human understanding or capability within the next 30 years. However Mr Wozniak said he had come to recognize that the predictions were coming true, and that computing that perfectly mimicked or attained human consciousness would become a dangerous reality.
Mr Wozniak said the negative outcome could be stopped from occurring by the likely end of Moore’s Law, the pattern whereby computer processing speeds double every two years.
So unless scientists can start controlling things at sub-atomic level, by developing so-called quantum computers, humanity will be protected from perpetual increases in computing power.
“For all the time they’ve been working on quantum computing they really have nothing to show that’s really usable for the things we need … researchers can make predictions, but they haven’t been able to get past three qubits yet,” Mr Wozniak said.
“I hope it does come, and we should pursue it because it is about scientific exploring,” Mr Wozniak said. “But in the end we just may have created the species that is above us.”
Okay, it’s not like I’m ever going to meet Woz, but here is what I would say to him if I did.
(Gate model) quantum computers will be built in the next ten years. There is no doubt about that in my mind or in the mind of the vast majority of scientists. There has been much more progress in quantum computing than you realize. And, more importantly, no major hurdles (that violate known physical principles) have been encountered yet, and we are almost there.
Woz, you say you are afraid of what quantum computers can do for AI, but you want this endeavor to succeed because “it’s about scientific exploring”. Then I would advice you to follow the corny dictum, if you can’t beat them, join them. Get directly involved in quantum computing, perhaps by joining the board of directors of a QC company. No better way to make quantum computing move in the right direction than by becoming one of its steersmen.
One more thing…
Quantum computers will teach quantum mechanics to young kids, just like ham radio has taught them electronics and PCs has taught them programming. You Woz, who are so interested in k12 education, should keep this in mind. More about education: