He's responsible for the richest tech company in the world but Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak isn't happy about how his Silicon Valley counterparts have shaped our lives.

Speaking on stage at the WeAreDevelopers World Congress in Vienna on Thursday, the 67-year-old entrepreneur and philanthropist was biting in his criticism. When asked by the editor-in-chief of Business Insider Deutschland about what he thought of the current tech landscape, the man affectionately known as Woz let rip.

"I'm bothered by what technology has become. Usually, I don't let things bother me but what bothers me more than anything in the world is when technology goes bad. Because it ends up being on people like me, for creating something that turned out to not to be good and pure," he said.

In the early days of Apple, Mr Wozniak was the lead engineer with the technical know-how to Steve Job's ruthless business savvy and vision.

Advertisement

"I always want to put the human before the technology. In a company like Apple that made computers easy to use, I always thought that the user was more important than the technology," he told the audience.

But in the age of big data, tech companies like Google and Facebook have turned the humans that use their products into the fodder that powers their online advertising machines — and it's costing us our privacy.

"We put a lot of effort into letting people live their lives in a normal, human way. But that human way is changing," Mr Wozniak lamented.

"We used to be able to have conversations in secret with people. If I were to say something to you in private now, others wouldn't hear it — that isn't the case anymore. We lost our security a long time ago. We've lost our privacy and it's been abused."
Mr Wozniak said the way tech giants have been collecting and monetising our data amounts to a certain kind of deceit.

"If I think I have a level of privacy that I don't, that's deceit. And that bothers me. I hit a limit. I can't take that. It's one step in a long series of steps that are all in the same direction."