The ecommerce billionaire isn't as excited about the "third technological revolution" as you might imagine...
Alibaba founder Jack Ma has voiced his concerns over where artificial intelligence and machine learning could get us – namely, another game-changing global conflict.
In a new interview with CNBC, the Chinese billionaire gave a dire forecast:
"The first technology revolution caused World War I.
"The second technology revolution caused World War II. This is the third technology revolution."
Ma is concerned that when this revolution results in mass job losses, as robots replace human workers around the world, the tension could trigger "the Third World War".
Asia's wealthiest man tempered this doomy prediction with no small amount of optimism, however, stating his belief that mankind will triumph over artificial competition:
"Humans will win," he said. "In 30 years ... we'll see us surviving. "
"Wisdom is from the heart. The machine intelligence is by the brain [...] You can always make a machine to learn the knowledge. But it is difficult for machines to have a human heart."
So, while "we know the machine is powerful and stronger than us", our innate powers of intuition should carry the day.
To nip any potential problems in the bud, Ma called on politicians to act swiftly. He confirmed he was personally “talking to all the government and state leaders and telling them move fast."
"If they do not move fast, there's going to be trouble," he said. "My belief is that you have to repair the roof while it is still functioning."
At the same time, robots are good for some things. The standard work week, for example, should be greatly reduced relatively soon:
"I think in the next 30 years, people only work four hours a day and maybe four days a week," he said.
"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."