The Apple co-founder has been talking blockchain, digital banking and artificial intelligence (AI) at a major fintech conference this afternoon.
While discussing ‘the future of everything’ at today’s Money20/20 Europe conference, Steve Wozniak offered mixed messages on disruptive technologies such as blockchain and crypto-currencies.
Wozniak, sometimes referred to as the ‘father of the personal computer’, said that blockchain ‘might be a bubble’, but also acknowledged its disruptive potential.
“It’s kind of the like the internet,” he said on stage, likening the technology to the internet in the 1990s.
On cryptocurrencies, Wozniak was optimistic. Referencing Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey’s prediction that Bitcoin will be the world’s ‘single currency’ in 10 years, Wozniak said: “Wow, that’s some of that extreme science fiction thinking but I want to believe in that.”
The ‘Woz’ also offered thoughts on digital banking and artificial intelligence.
He said that online banks ‘just aren’t as secure’ as their incumbent rivals, referencing a time that his own crypto-currency holdings, or a portion of them, were stolen from a digital bank.
The Apple co-founder said that AI was getting closer to replicating human behaviour, but that it still ‘has a way to go’. Part of the problem at present, he explained, is that machines lack human experience, and so struggle to reproduce certain aspects of human behaviour – such as jokes and understanding human expressions – convincingly.
Asked directly whether Apple is going to be a bank, Wozniak was non-committal, saying he ‘would never try to guess’ at the motivations of the business he founded. He did say, however, that Apple is ‘involved with banks’ – likening the various financial services it currently offers (such as payment services) to apps and the app-store.
AltFi is returning to Amsterdam for its second annual Summit in the city. The inaugural event last year was a roaring success, with key figures from across Continental Europe's alternative finance and digital banking sectors highlighted. These included Jeroen Broekema, managing director of Funding Circle Netherlands, and Mieke van Engelen, head of innovative partnerships at ABN AMRO's standalone lending platform, New10.