The CEO of Japan’s SoftBank says artificial general intelligence is on the cusp of exceeding human knowledge.
“Take advantage of it or be left behind,” said Masayoshi Son, whose comments at the annual SoftBank World event were reported by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Wednesday (Oct. 4).
The tech investor told his audience that by the end of the decade, artificial general intelligence (AGI) — a computer system that can match human thought and reasoning — will be 10 times more powerful than all of humanity.
According to the WSJ, Son believes this will usher in an era that will see a complete transition to self-driving vehicles, and AGI generating “Nobel Prize-worthy” scientific achievements.
He apparently spoke with the image of a goldfish in a bowl behind him to illustrate his beliefs about people who choose not to make AI part of their lives.
“Do you want to be a goldfish?” Son asked, arguing that people who avoid AI and those who use it will be as different as apes and humans in intellectual abilities.
Son’s comments follow reports from last month that he was interested in investing tens of billions in AI firms after taking tech company Arm — which designs chips for AI use — public.
A separate report by Reuters notes Son’s history of “strident” claims about the potential of new technology. Some of them — the mobile internet — have been proven right, while others — the Internet of the Things — have not, Reuters argued.
As for the potential of AGI, Microsoft published a paper earlier this year suggesting it is already here thanks to one of its AI systems. But some AI experts were skeptical about those claims, arguing that AGI requires a level of knowledge of the physical world that AI hasn’t reached.
Son isn’t the only CEO making bold prognostications about AI. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon earlier this week predicted the technology will someday lead to a 3½-day workweek and allow for advancements in healthcare, potentially leading to longer lifespans and a reduced risk of diseases like cancer.
However, Dimon also acknowledged the potential risks involved with AI, such as the possibility of its use by bad actors.
“Everyone has an equal ability to deploy technology, no matter who they are,” she said. “Utilizing generative AI, a fraudster can effectively mimic a voice within three seconds of having recorded data.”