Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son recently made a thought-provoking statement: he believes that within the next decade, artificial intelligence (AI) will surpass human intelligence. Speaking at a corporate conference in Tokyo, Son stated that “artificial general intelligence will surpass the total intelligence of humankind by 10 times in 10 years.” This assertion, though controversial, highlights Son’s conviction that AI will dramatically transform every industry, and those who fail to adopt this technology will be left behind. As an influential figure in Japan’s business world, Son’s call to action serves as a wakeup call for companies and individuals alike to embrace AI in order to remain competitive in the coming decades.
The Wide-ranging Impact of AI
Son emphasizes that the impact of AI will be felt across a multitude of industries such as transportation, pharmaceuticals, finance, manufacturing, and logistics, to name just a few. The companies and individuals who actively engage with AI will be the ones leading the way in the next 10 to 20 years. By recognizing and capitalizing on the potential opportunities afforded by AI, these forward-thinking entities will position themselves for success in an increasingly AI-driven future.
Japan’s Stance on AI
Japan’s government has acknowledged the significance of AI and its potential to shape society. At the Hiroshima summit in May, Group of Seven leaders agreed to prioritize the reliable use of AI, and Japan seeks to join international efforts to establish guidelines for AI implementation. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, speaking at a science forum in Kyoto, expressed optimism regarding the societal benefits of AI. However, he also urged caution, highlighting the need to address concerns regarding disinformation, privacy, and copyright infringement.
Learning from Past Mistakes
Son warns against repeating the mistakes of the past, specifically Japan’s failure to keep pace with the internet age. He cautions companies against being overly cautious due to fears of data breaches and other risks associated with AI adoption. Instead, Son urges Japanese companies to embrace his vision of a future led by AI and avoid being left behind. Failure to do so, Son argues, would be akin to being a shuttered high street shop in the face of progress.
SoftBank, the company founded by Son, recently expanded its chip subsidiary Arm Holding Plc. Son believes that this British unit will play a pivotal role in the development of AI. By strategically positioning itself in the AI landscape, SoftBank aims to be at the forefront of this technological revolution.
Masayoshi Son’s belief that AI will exceed human intelligence within the next decade raises important questions about the future of industries and the necessity of embracing AI technology. It serves as a wake-up call for Japanese companies, urging them to adopt AI and seize the opportunities it presents. Governments, including Japan, are recognizing the importance of AI and are working towards establishing guidelines to govern its implementation. While concerns regarding disinformation, privacy, and copyright infringement should not be ignored, the potential benefits of AI cannot be disregarded. As the world hurtles towards an AI-powered future, individuals and companies must decide whether to embrace this technology or risk being left behind, resigned to the annals of history like a shuttered high street shop. Will Japan answer Son’s call to “wake up” and pave the way for an AI-led society? Only time will tell.