In an interview, Apple co-founder and Fusion-io chief scientist Steve Wozniak discusses innovation and the importance of a human element in computing. Wozniak says many of today's efforts at innovation are failing to take hold because people continue to look to the past. For example, with wearable computing, companies are focusing on computing eyeware, he says, noting that companies have been "marrying eyewear with TV inputs for 20 years."
For innovation to take off, the cost of enabling technology must drop and other enabling factors, such as regulatory and practical considerations, must be in place, Wozniak says. In addition, he says technology that becomes mainstream often has human, personal qualities. "The software gets more accepted when it works in human ways — meaning in non-computer ways," Wozniak says. "The mouse is a good example. Using it works like how we see things in space; you're not having to think that you move 5 inches but instead move your hand."
Current voice-based assistants such as Apple's Siri and Google's voice recognition enable a natural human form of interaction. Wozniak says the convergence of natural language recognition, artificial intelligence-like analysis and transaction systems, and improved connectivity will allow technology to serve in a companion-like capacity for users.
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