“Singularity” — the point when machine intelligence surpasses our own, and goes on to improve itself at an exponential rate — will happen by 2047, according to Masayoshi Son, the Japanese tech mogul and CEO of SoftBank.
Son was speaking on Monday at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain. He said: “I totally believe this concept. In next 30 years this will become a reality.”
Son went on to say that our world will fundamentally change as a result of so-called superintelligences that will be able to learn and think for themselves.
“There will be many kinds,” said Son, whose company spent $32 billion (£26 billion) acquiring UK chip designer ARM last year. “Flying, swimming, big, micro, run, two legs, four legs, 100 legs.”
Son added that he expects one computer chip to have the equivalent of a 10,000 IQ within the next 30 years, Bloomberg reported.
Son, Japan’s second richest man, went on to highlight how SoftBank plans to invest in the next generation of technology companies that are developing AI with a new $100 billion (£80 billion) tech fund, which was announced last October and is called the SoftBank Vision Fund. Apple and Qualcomm have contributed to the fund, as has the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia.
“I truly believe it’s coming, that’s why I’m in a hurry – to aggregate the cash, to invest,” said Son. “It will be so much more capable than us — what will be our job? What will be our life? We have to ask philosophical questions. Is it good or bad?” Son added: “I think this superintelligence is going to be our partner. If we misuse it it’s a risk. If we use it in good spirits it will be our partner for a better life. So the future can be better predicted, people will live healthier, and so on.”
Son is not the only person who thinks superintelligent machines will become a reality. A panel of AI leaders including Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX, and Demis Hassabis, the cofounder and CEO of Google DeepMind, agreed that superintelligence is likely to be developed in the coming decades.
The panel, which took place in January at the Future of Life Institute, had varying opinions about the exact time frame and the potential risks that could come about through such a breakthrough, while Hassabis voiced concerns about whether tech companies will work together in the lead up to the intelligence explosion he anticipates.
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