Skip to main content

Jack Ma warns the world that AI could set off World War III

posted onJune 26, 2017

Asia’s richest person and Alibabas's founder and chairman Jack Ma has warned the world of the impending Third World War, which can be caused by new technologies such as artificial intelligence.

"The first technological revolution caused World War I. The second technological revolution caused World War II. This is the third technological revolution," warned Ma during an interview with CBNC's David Faber at the Gateway '17 conference for entrepreneur in Detroit.

“I think in the next 30 years, people only work four hours a day and maybe four days a week," Mr Ma 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." said Ma.

"Artificial intelligence may take a lot of jobs away. If we don’t move fast enough. If we’re not innovative enough. If we don’t give simple and easy technology products for small businesses, most of them can’t survive in 10 years. If small businesses can’t survive, we can’t survive,”  he said.

"It's going to be painful. Some people who catch the wave will be rich, will be more successful. For some people, it will be more painful. The government, you know, the world is going to be data. The people will now have more data than the bosses," he added.

According to Ma, advances in technology have caused world wars but robots will never be wise as humans. Artificial intelligence cannot replace human wisdom and experience.

"Wisdom is from the heart," Ma said. "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."

The 52-year-old self-made billionaire also said the goal of artificial intelligence should be making machines that do things human beings cannot do, rather than making them like humans.

In the battle against an artificial intelligence takeover, humans will win. "In 30 years ... we'll see us surviving. " he said.

Alibaba & Jack Ma


About Jack Ma

Ma was born on October 15, 1964, in Hangzhou, located in the southeastern part of China. As a teenager he started practising English with foreign tourists. Later in his youth, Ma struggled to attend college.  He enrolled at the Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute, from where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in English in the year 1988.He was rejected from dozens of jobs, before finding success with his third internet venture Alibaba, China's largest internet company and online shopping website.

On September 19, 2013 Aibaba went public. The company's $150-billion IPO was the largest offering for a US-listed company in the history of the New York Stock Exchange.

Ma is the richest person in Asia and  the 14th richest in the world, with a net worth of US$41.8 billion. In 2017, Fortune ranked Ma second on its World's 50 Greatest Leaders list.

Here is a quote from the entrepreneur who has changed the face of business and internet in China and across the world:

"Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine…. “