SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son: The Singularity is Coming

Masayoshi Son
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son | SoftBank Corp.

The singularity will be here sooner than we realize. How do we use rapidly developing tech as a force for good in our society?

Masayoshi Son, the chairman of SoftBank, recently gave a talk at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.

Son, a billionaire businessman and tech mogul, spoke about the billions in venture capital money that he has invested in acquiring ARM Holdings, a tech company that makes chips for smartphones, cars, and other IoT devices.

Why Does Son Spend so Much Money?

Why do I spend so much money?” he rhetorically asked the audience before detailing his belief in the approaching reality off the singularity as the reason for all of his investments.

The singularity happens after human and machine merge to the point that machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence. According to Son, it will be here sooner than people realize.

Son’s original guess for singularity? 2018, give or take a couple of years. This seems rather sudden, but, as Son mused to his audience, one day soon “We will be less than our shoes.”

“We Will be less than our shoes,” Masayoshi SOn

He explained how in only a few more years, the average shoe will have more chip intelligence than the average human. Making the case for the singularity, he argued that the average human IQ is 100, which is just a drop in the bucket compared to the 10,000 IQ potential for machines.

Is the singularity inevitable or is it happening because we are investing billions of dollars to realize it as a future for humanity? Speaking about ARM, Son noted that “they run 99% of smartphones . . . ARM will ship a trillion IoT chips in the next decade.”

As the controller of Sprint, he noted that they “will have a trillion customers” to connect all that.”

Soon, our Tools Will Be Smarter Than us

Technology is a tool, and how useful it is depends on how we use it. With that in mind, Son does mention security as a concern for the future.

A study from Oxford University listed some of the 12 greatest risks to humans kind. Among catastrophic events like the Yellowstone super volcano erupting and a global pandemic was artificial intelligence.

Masayoshi Son
Hot Springs and Geysers like Old Faithful within Yellowstone National Park are a sign of constant volcanic activity. Experts agree that an eruption of the Yellowstone caldera could be an extinction event. Dolce Vita |

Artificial intelligence is one of those twelve crises,” Son explained, “but it can be a solution for the other eleven crises.”

According to Son, the potential benefits of AI outweigh the risks, and he trusts that companies and tech leaders will work together to keep hacking and cyber attacks at bay.

We live in a world where anything can be hacked from anywhere, and that threat grows as more connect to the Internet of Things.

#MasayoshiSon says #AI can solve the world's crises.Click To Tweet

Son’s vision of a tech community that works together for security is almost more implausible than the thought of the singularity occurring next year. Short term gains and economic competition are ingrained in our culture, and it would have to take a large cultural shift for this to not be the case. Tech companies will have to work together to ensure security, but also develop a new plan that emphasizes a long-term vision, one that has boundaries to which they can all agree.

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