Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma believes society will feel the pain caused by technology in the next 30 years. While speaking at a China Entrepreneur Club event in Zhengzhou, the billionaire warned that the people should be ready for decades of pain as the Internet and automation disturb different areas of the economy going forward.
Technology could be a disrupter
Artificial intelligence, robotics and more advanced manufacturing are expected to make many things in the modern workforce useless over the coming decades. There will be a net loss of over 5 million jobs across 15 major emerging and developed economies by 2020, estimates the World Economic Forum. A Citibank report also noted that automation could increase inequality and risks 77% of the jobs in China and about 47% of them in the U.S., notes Business Insider.
According to some experts, new jobs will be created to replace those lost by automation, but many, like Jack Ma, fear that future technology could cause social and economic pain and disruption if not handled properly.
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While speaking about potential job disruptions caused by technology, Ma said, “In the coming 30 years, the world’s pain will be much more than happiness, because there are many more problems that we have come across…. Social conflicts in the next three decades will have an impact on all sorts of industries and walks of life.”
Ma said that about 15 years ago, he gave 200 to 300 speeches and warned people that e-commerce and the Internet would disrupt conventional retailers. But not many paid attention to him because he was not very well-known back then. The Alibaba co-founder also spoke about the rise of AI and robots and said that this technology will be required to process the massive amount of data that is being generated today, which is something a human brain cannot do.
How Jack Ma believes pain could be reduced
Jack Ma suggested that the world should bring reforms in the education system and establish ways to work with robots to assist in reducing the pain caused by the Internet economy and automation. The billionaire urged governments to outline how humans need to work with machines.
He added that machines should not replace what humans can do; instead, the technology community should focus on creating machines that can do things which humans cannot do. This will make robots and AI technology human partners instead of opponents and will also assist in preventing job cuts in the future. If these reforms are not implemented, Ma said the Time Magazine cover for best CEO three decades from now will likely be a robot.
“It remembers better than you, it counts faster than you, and it won’t be angry with competitors,” he said.
Ma was critical of the conventional banking industry as well, saying that lending must be available to more members of society. He said that the lack of strong credit system increases the costs for all people.