Business Technology

Steve Wozniak doesn't think robots will take over – But we will become their pets

3 min read

29 June 2015

The co-founder of Apple has adjusted his previous prediction that robots could spell the end of humankind, instead suggesting we could be the family pets of the future.

We heard recently that the prospect of a reliance on robots was troubling Johann Rupert – the CEO of luxury goods company Richemont. It seems he’s not the only one having sleepless nights over the unsettling AI future we’re seemingly setting ourselves up for.

Rupert had said when workers were increasingly replaced by robots, tension would be escalated among the rich and the poor – with job losses and unrest.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has now said if robots were to take over the world, humans will quite swiftly become their pets. He had previously said that a robotic future would be “scary and very bad for people”. Wozniak had predicted that if we were to build devices to take care of everything “eventually they’ll think faster than us and they’ll get rid of the slow humans to run companies more efficiently”.

He hadn’t yet determined whether humans would assume the role of “the gods”, “the family pets” or simply “the ants that get stepped on”, but has now determined there should at least be a future with humans on the horizon.

“They’re going to be smarter than us and if they’re smarter than us then they’ll realise they need us,” he said at the Freescale technology forum in Austin. “We want to be the family pet and be taken care of all the time,” Wozniak speculated.

It may seem a humorous prediction, but some of the most successful entrepreneurs and smartest minds out there – including Stephen Hawking – have also warned about the dangers of AI. 

Elon Musk, the founder of Space X, confirmed he invested $10m into an AI research institute earmarked for a global research programme to keep AI beneficial to humanity. Musk said it currently stands as “our biggest existential threat”.

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From Wozniak’s perspective, he predicts that while it will be “hundreds of years” before AI is adept enough to take over, by the time it does, the technology shouldn’t be a threat to our existence. 

“They’ll be so smart by then that they’ll know they have to keep nature, and humans are part of nature,” he explained. “I got over my fear that we’d be replaced by computers. They’re going to help us. We’re at least the gods originally.”

He did though, say that once he’d had the idea that humans would become robots’ pets in the future, he had started “feeding my dog filet steak and chicken every night because ‘do unto others’”.

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