will host its first

will host its first-ever comic convention putting a technologists spin on the costume-laden celebrity-spattered fantasy-drenched fanfest that another part of California has become so famous for hosting every year The driving force behind Silicon Valley Comic Con is none other than Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak Before the three-day celebrationwhich will include appearances from the likes of William Shatner and The Martian author Andy Weir as well as a "big VR zone" and a panel about the greatest threat to humanityTIME spoke to the Superman of computer geeks Below follows a lightly edited transcript covering everything from artificial intelligence to Donald Trump to why he thinks theres no problem with kids having loads of screen time (Note: If you meet Woz dont pitch him your business plan) Why is Silicon Valley having its first comic con and how is it different from other ones out there The question we ask is: why is it happening so late in time When youre around the tech community so many of them are into the comics and the fantasy it invokes and the superhero movies Its like nobody thought of it until now We want to be a little bit distinct and special so were going to include [technologists] in Silicon Valley and San Francisco Were going to include a little bit of that carryover where science interacts with popular culture We know that it allows the effects to be made in the movies and all that Why do you think people in tech tend to be really into this stuff Probably because we spend our lives turning little ideas that are in our head which is like science fiction into things that are real Having discussions at a dinner saying Wouldnt it be neat if somebody could do this And then saying Oh my gosh I might even try to find a way It might be possible Thats what a lot of these movies do for us Primarily its still an entertainment-based show based around pop culture But were making an appearance that we technologists are significant in that world Speaking of technologists I know you have said that you side with Tim Cook in the Apple vs FBI fight But what do you think Steve Jobs would have done Its unfair for someone to guess what Steve Jobs would have done Hes such a hero to so many people I just know from being around himfor a lot of things in his life he really cared about people the end users regular people One time I was with him and the FBI came into Apple and there were just a few of us maybe a dozen executives And they explained how to watch for Chinese people that are trying to get into computers and steal our IP and stuff Theres was no Internet back then And Steve Jobs intelligently said to the FBI "Well we do the same thing right" And the FBI guy said "No we dont" In my life I always put honesty above everything else and its just a lie Why bother to tell it I just lose faith in especially administrators I think theres evidence that Steve Jobs would have been thoughtful on this issue but I cant say for sure because people change over time And I do not know what he would have said say at the end of his life He just really wanted good products for people And thats a different issue than whether they should they be totally secure or insecure Personal security is an important thing in our lives Look at all these movies the stuff youre going to see at Comic Con Keeping those things secret is so critical to them I mean just look whats happened to Sony Steve Jobs he realized when you introduce a product it has to be so secret that it just blows people awaygrabs their mind Just leaves them in awe just thinking Whoa I gotta have that Thats the same thing for popular culture Youve got to come out with surprises so people say Oh my gosh I gotta buy that comic just based on the front cover I gotta buy it today Or I gotta see this movie It might be as simple as whos in it Secrets are part of security and privacy If you build a product and its very secure and youre the one company in the world that keeps your word then you made a secure product And encryption The bad guys they can always just go and buy 20 different encryption programs Remember in this case with the FBI versus Apple theyve already got all the metadata every single phone call the phones made who they were to what the SMS messages were They got all the metadata I dont know what else theyre going to get Maybe a loose word in a phone that wasnt even the persons real phone it was their work phone What is harder: creating that security or defending that security Well creating and defending are kind of the same thing If you asked whether creating or breaking it was harder Id say theyre both about equal You need very very smart people to get through it But creating good security is very very tough Look how many companies get a hundred thousand records accessed by hackers A million records accessed by hackers Twelve million accessed by hackers You just hear about this over and over and over Having a new festival to at least partly celebrate technologists is a reminder of how prominent that culture has become in the Bay Area Theres been a lot of angst toward tech workers that middle-class people blame for rising rents the gentrification in the area Angst toward the Google buses Whats your take on all that All my life for different reasonsI kind of grew up during Vietnam War days and opposing authorityIm always for the little guy and against the big guy who has power and money being able to buy their way When I grew up just a normal engineerengineers dont make the money that lawyers docould have a home and cars and school and clothing and food and books everything for the family one person working Now two people in Silicon Valley have to work full-time stressful jobs just to maybe afford a home So we lost a lot and where did it all go We developed computers My gosh they made us so much more productive Where did all that wealth go It didnt really go to us like Oh we got it easy Now we only have to work four days a week Some places in Europe might have gone that way but we went the opposite The powers of money control how money makes more money and doesnt get taxed whereas those of us who work with our muscles or our brains do get taxed The money kind of went to the one-percenters and those are the guys who are saying theyre going to save America and bring back the middle class Theyre the ones that took it away So you mentioned some political issues What are your thoughts about Donald Trump Donald Trump is a very rude person Would I ever want a child of mine to grow up talking that nastily about other people Absolutely not It just offends me I watched whats going to be an ad I guess of him making comments about women and I was just crying out loud right here in this chair in my office just crying out loud at the things that he said Sometimes people do those things [that make you think] How can that be a human-being person Some of his ideas might be okay but I probably dont agree with most of them The Republicans to me just dont match my own personal ethics But you know if I voted I would vote for somebody who cant win If I do vote itll probably be for Bernie Sanders Donald Trump is a very rude person What do you like about Bernie Sanders The way he talks these values I have friends in those countries in Scandinavia and Western Europe that email me all the time and tell me how wonderful it is what they have and they cant believe the US And Bernie Sanders proposes things like getting college paid for You seen that movie Ivory Tower So many people are so worried about starting life with such huge debt Hes for some good things for people for the people to have benefits universal healthcare We have the most privatized healthcare system of all the developed nations through insurance companies and all And we have the highest costs and the lowest performance So its time to get more socialistic like the ones that outdo us Theres a lot of talk about trying to create more diversity in tech Is that something youve tried to incorporate into Comic Con The person who is going to come to Comic Con is an interesting person to me I hang around just normal workers and engineers in companies I dont hang around the higher-up people who make decisions about who theyre going to hire And I never ever want to hire and fire Ive always been at the bottom of Apples org chart to this day Most of the people I deal with everyone I ever run into thinks Oh my gosh we should do everything we can to be equal as far as both ethnicity and gender And it doesnt turn out that way A lot of that goes on in the schools I taught how to use computers in elementary and middle schools I taught for eight years I was teaching seven days a week No press allowed And lets look at the gender The girls and the boys had equal answers They understood what was going on in the computer at every stage and how to get things done And by about seventh grade when theyre getting into the little social problems that teenagers have the girls who knew the answers wouldnt raise their hand And I noticed that When I took computer scienceI went back to get my college degree after 10 years at Berkeleythe computer science classes were filled with people from Southeast Asia because theyre very mathematics-smart theyre very heavily trained in that And they were 50-50 on gender whereas we Caucasians were something like 90-10 Different cultures are just different Its just how it is in a culture And it doesnt mean that its good or bad even As far as pay goes I have never heard anyone who speaks common sense say that the pay shouldnt be equal So the fact that it isnt is offensive What do you think we can do as a culture to make it so the girls who stop raising their hands decide to keep them raised up instead Its way too hard to change in school and education Almost all the exciting things that took me places were outside of school The academic institutions have a problem which is often 30 students in a class and theyve all got to do all these different subjects You cant even go off and excel at anything because you dont have time You gotta do the reading and the homework And theres gonna be a quiz on Friday I was hoping computers would fix it But maybe in the future a computer will be like a human being Were now talking to our phones Were talking to our Amazon Echoes We ask a question and it speaks back an answer like another human being And kids are carrying around their phones like This is my best friend in the world now My little portal to the world And if it could ever become a good enough friend to guide them in education we could have one low-cost teacher per student and really rethink education What do you think about people worrying that kids get too much screen time too attached to those friends in their pockets There aint no good guy there aint no bad guy Theres only you and me We just disagree Its not bad or good What we had was good for us and theyre missing it so we think they dont have good they must have bad No they just have something different Its their future Its the world they live in Its their status quo And I never ever look at that sort of change in people and society as bad Its just the direction of the day And you know what Every generation sort of gets accused of that by their parents no matter what because they arent living the way the parents lived But that doesnt make us bad What are your thoughts on artificial intelligence Do you fall more on the side of It will make us immortal or It will kill us all Were going to have a session on this at our comic con: whats the greatest threat to mankind artificial intelligence or super babies I got very worried at one point I got negative for a while realizing that these machines are going up and up the scale from muscles to brains of what theyre doing better than a human And why would you want a human if youre going to lose money in a company over a computer And then I rethought it and I changed my mind quite a bit for reasons I wont get into now I hope a lot of it comes out in our panel What are you most excited about seeing a Comic Con Seeing interesting people just saying a word to them chatting looking The ones that are dressed up in costumes are going to be interesting And attending the sessions Looking into some of the sets and casts and movie company presentations Youre part of a big huge crowd and you cant go meet 30000 people But you might bump into one or two who think like you do and are like you Maybe they like the same products or maybe theyre deep deep fans of one certain genre or one certain movie When you meet people what do they tend to ask you What are they most curious about Funnily enough most of them just want to say thank you because theyre so delighted with where technology has gotten us We are the superheroes as much as the movies used to be Some of them will talk about how they grew up Some of them will remind me of a time that we met which is always good But I cant spend forever on people Heres my idea I got this idea for a company Gosh Oh gosh I get 12 of those a day in email and that can take up a lot of time Dont waste other peoples time Be polite Enjoy the show And for the most important question will you be wearing a costume I will not be wearing a costume When I was young Id wear costumes and Id even win contests sometimes I was so shy but behind a costume its like the early days of computers A shy person who couldnt talk to people could go in and be anyone they wanted online in chat rooms on AOL even before the Internet And it could really bring a lot out of them No I will just be totally normal and comfortable When I put any clothes on I sweat and sweat and sweat So if I put a costume on thats one of my aversions to it And why would I hide out when there are people who do want to meet me Why would I deny them that All I have to do is smile Write to Katy Steinmetz at katysteinmetz@timecom have led to growing scrutiny of the method. 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