Manchester Evening News: The Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist gave a packed out keynote speech at this year’s Business Rocks event. First published in the Manchester Evening News on 22/04/2016 here by Lucy Roue.
Tech idol Steve Wozniak said he was inspired by Manchester’s history of innovation as he visited the city for the first time yesterday.
The American computer scientist, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs in 1976, praised the creativity of the city after delivering a packed out keynote speech at this year’s Business Rocks.
He said: “I’m just inspired to think back to the history of Manchester and to be here, I almost got chills this morning thinking about it and its important role in the revolution of computer technology.
“The people I have met have been outstanding, very educated and liberal in their thinking about the importance of technology and keeping up with it in the news.”
Wozniak spoke candidly about his early days with Jobs and their quest to change the world through technology.
He said: “No matter what your business is you have to adopt to digital technology or you might not be disruptive.”
During his on-stage interview with Sunday Times journalist Bryan Appleyard, Wozniak spoke of his changing attitudes towards Artificial Intelligence and his delight at being played by Seth Rogen in the latest film.
“The acting in it was superb and Seth has become a family friend.”
He also said the prolific role of technology in everyday life will lead to human beings becoming like ‘the family dogs’ with our every comfort and whim covered at the press of a button.
Although optimistically he hoped future technology would ‘figure out solutions to the human problems we have been unable to solve like the economy, conflict and poverty.’
Business Rocks is a global tech and investment summit, brought to life by music.
The conference, held at Manchester Central over two days, has attracted more than 100 international speakers including global social influencer Brian Fanzo, priceline co-founder Jeff Hoffman and Dr Anita Goel of NANOBIOSYM.
It is the second year of the event which aspires to be as big as South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.
In addition to high profile speakers, Business Rocks includes tech demos, interactive debates, a £50,000 Invov8 Pitch Battle prize, a Homeless Hackathon and a live EU Referendum debate where the audience will vote live.
Founder and chairman of specialist private cloud provider ANS Scott Fletcher invested a six figure sum into the vibrant up and coming festival that attracted thousands over the two days.
Jonathon Cadden, founder of Business Rocks, said: “We believe that Manchester will become one of the biggest tech hubs in the world.
“With this in mind, we launched Business Rocks to inspire, engage and network with like-minded people.
“The event has brought together some of the most inspiring and entrepreneurial thought-leaders and start-up CEOs from across the UK and beyond.”