Steve Wozniak has said that cyber-attacks are the modern equivalent of the atomic bomb when it comes to spreading fear and paranoia, and in terms of the threat they pose.
The Apple co-founder's comments were made while chatting to Lateline, an Australian news and current affairs TV show.
Wozniak recalled memories of the Cold War from his youth, stating: "We used to fear the atomic bomb when I was young, and you used to come home from school and sirens would go off for a test on every corner.
"Those were incredible days of fear from something. And now we fear all the cyber-attacks and hacking. What's the next one we're gonna hear about? Is one gonna come close to me? Is it gonna hit me? Could they really take out our electrical system, turn off our internet? How far can it go? And it's getting worse and worse year by year, not better and better."
Rising threat level
Of course, it's no secret that there is an increasingly real threat in terms of nation state-sponsored cyber warfare which could potentially target a country's critical infrastructure, and indeed the rising threat cybercriminals pose – with ransomware rings operating like legitimate businesses and holding the likes of police and hospital records to ransom, again with the very real potential for harm.
During the interview, Wozniak also noted that modern society has now reached a point where privacy effectively no longer exists, what with cameras everywhere, and "almost every action we take and where we go" tracked.
True AI is a long way off
And on the topic of AI, Wozniak felt that we'll be calling things 'artificial intelligence' too early, and that true AI which can actually reason is still a long way off down the road. In fact he said that it would probably be something like 200 years before AIs evolved so they can't be told apart from humans and can operate by themselves in the world.
In other words, the dystopian future where humanity is wiped out by AI isn't going to happen any time soon (if it does at all), because artificial intelligence will be far from independent and will need humans for a long time to come. A comforting thought – sort of.
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