Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, in an interview to CNBC, said the rising technological advancements in artificial intelligence could lead to World War III. Speaking to the news channel, the billionaire Chinese business magnate said there is a need for the world leaders to educate people about the pain that the rapid rise in automation and artificial intelligence will bring.
“The first technology revolution caused World War I. The second technology revolution caused World War II. This is the third technology revolution,” he said. “People are already unhappy because lot of machinery, artificial intelligence is killing lot of jobs,” he added.
Ma, the richest man in Asia, was second on the Forbes 2017 list of “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.”
Ma said he continues to travel because he sees the rising opportunities in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and in globalisation. He also said he continues to warn state and government leaders “to move fast”. “If they do not move fast, there’s going to be trouble. My belief is that you have to repair the roof while it is still functioning,” Ma said in the interview.
Disregarding the idea of machines “like humans”, Ma said there is a need to ensure machines do work which humans cannot. “We should make sure the machine can do things that human beings cannot do.” He further added that with increasing AI technology, humans will need to work less in the future. “I think in the next 30 years, people only work four hours a day and maybe four days a week. My grandfather worked 16 hours a day in the farmland and [thought he was] very busy. We work eight hours, five days a week and think we are very busy,” the businessman added.
On being asked whether “machines will win?”, Ma said, “Humans will win. Human being is good at wisdom.” He added that AI is smart but humans have wisdom which is an advantage. “A smart person knows what he/she wants. But a wise person knows what it does not want,” he said. But the businessman added the world will be painful in the future for those struggling to find jobs. “The people who catch on the new wave will be rich and more successful. For some people it will be more painful,” he said.
This is not the first time Ma has warned about dire consequences of rising technology. Just two months ago, Ma warned the internet is disrupting economy and advised people to be ready for “decades of pain.” “In the next 30 years, the world will see much more pain than happiness. Social conflicts in the next three decades will have an impact on all sorts of industries and walks of life,” Ma had said.
According to allied market research, the AI technology wil have a market size of $19,478 million by 2022. The technology has seen a growth at a CAGR of 45.4 per cent from 2016 to 2022, as per the research.