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.”
Big Issue: Business Rocks’ ‘Hackathon’ competition explores new ways to tackle homelessness. First published in the Big Issue on 22/04/2016 here written by Andrew Burns.
This week, some of the brightest young minds in tech, digital and social housing in Britain came together at Business Rocks festival in Manchester to explore ways in which the tech industry can tackle homelessness across the globe.
In the end, the judging panel – which included Big Issue journalist Andrew Burns– picked Hadil Dayri and Emile Maret as winners for their innovative LIMBO app, which will encourage, support and help find work opportunities for homeless and vulnerably housed people.
Dayri and Maret (pictured) – students at the London School of Economics – emphasised the importance of work, and the value of someone earning a legitimate income in their steps away from homelessness and poverty.
“LIMBO will help bridge the gap between someone being homeless and heir long-term goal to work and earn a living,” they said.
LIMBO is about prevention, and stopping the cycle of homelessness getting worse“It’s estimated there are one million hidden homeless in Britain – those who are sofa surfing, staying in temporary accommodation or in hostels – and LIMBO is about prevention, and stopping the cycle of homelessness getting worse.”
The competition posed the question ‘How Can Tech Solve Global Homelessness?’ and encouraged contestants to focus on mental health service solutions through social media. Participants were educated on the everyday challenges and systematic needs of the homeless and most vulnerable, in the UK and across the world.
The Big Issue was joined on the judging panel with leading developers, social housing experts, and homeless individuals from Gary Neville’s much discussed Stock Exchange project, while Big Issue founder John Bird offered expert insight into his own experience of homelessness prevention and support over the past 25 years.
Other pitches included Supportnet, a website that would connect the homeless and vulnerable with relevant support services in their area; Pleji, an app would facilitate a form of crowdfunding and donations for homeless support projects and collections; Posty, which would act as a remote postal service for those with no fixed address; and StreetBuddy, an app designed to pair up someone in need with a local, skilled volunteer.
Business Rocks is a two-day global tech conference, and this year’s keynote speaker is Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. The event ;has attracted more than 100 international speakers including global social influencer Brian Fanzo, priceline co-founder Jeff Hoffman and Dr Anita Goel of Nanobiosym.
LIMBO will now be piloted in Manchester in the coming months, with a view to expand it to other cities in the UK.