Steve Wozniak: Human Over Technology: Page 4 of 5

Maintaining a creed of human over technology has served Apple and its co-founder Steve Wozniak well over the last four decades. In this Q&A, Wozniak discusses how making technology work for people brought about the Apple II and shares his thoughts on arti

do for you given the alternatives we’ve had in the past. You could take ones like Uber or ones that make reservations at a hotel and feel like this is nice and human.

The Apple II was the first time arcade games were in color and the first time arcade games were programmable by a 9-year-old. That’s pretty human in itself, too.

The humanity of computers like the Lisa and the Macintosh with a mouse were that you looked at a screen the way you looked at real life with your eyes, a 2-dimensional desktop –  it has a phone over there, a pencil and pen, some paper – it has all of these items that you use in front of you in a 2-dimensional view so you could look at something and go to it.

That was probably the biggest step in bringing humanity to machines. The way humans live their life is more important than the way technology wants to do it. We didn’t have to change ourselves to meet the technology. The technology was changed, program and program after program — a lot of hard work —  to work in a way that was confident and familiar to humans.

I’ve always preferred the human over the technology. Well, we all would say that we do. But I look at specific representations of that in every product I buy and generally I’m not too happy.

WozSteve Wozniak will take the stage on June 13, in New York, during Atlantic Design & Manufacturing. Register for the event here !

DN: Do you have any advice for those who are designing and aren’t meeting that expectation?

Wozniak: Yes. Try to have some of the people who are going to use it evaluate it. Beta testers often aren’t always the people. You have to find some really good people who should be part of the design team and those people should say, ‘is this intuitive, do I natural get it to do the right thing and get the right results?’

Try to make things as intuitive as possible. That’s the human way.


DN: You’ve managed great success without becoming a ‘suit’ and staying an engineer. How did you do that?

Wozniak: It was a different time and age. I made my success as an engineer. I was known for designing things very cleverly, with very few parts, and being able to get things done that other people weren’t even imagining. I had about 10 of those crazy genius years in my life. What was fun for me was being acknowledged by other engineers for the engineering. Not for starting personal computers or a big, successful company or all that. That really wasn’t my direct role. Really, before anything else, [it was] building machines for myself that I would like and trying to impress other engineers with my engineering powers.


DN: That goes back to your DIY comments, being willing to share your ideas and knowhow.

Wozniak: Yes, absolutely. Well, I was also shy, and, of course, I worked at Hewlett

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