AI will be 10,000 times smarter than humans in a decade: SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son

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SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, in a rare public appearance on Friday, predicted a future where artificial intelligence (AI) becomes exponentially smarter than humans.

Speaking at SoftBank’s annual general meeting of shareholders, Son described a world where artificial super intelligence (ASI) surpasses human intelligence by a factor of 10,000 within the next decade.

The rise of AGI and ASI

Son first discussed artificial general intelligence (AGI), which he expects to be one to 10 times smarter than humans within the next three to five years. AGI represents a level of AI that can perform any intellectual task that a human can, marking a significant milestone in AI development.

“But if AGI is not much smarter than humans, then we don’t need to change the way of living, we don’t need to change the structure of human lifestyle,” Son said, according to a live translation of his comments in Japanese.

Son’s vision extends beyond AGI to ASI, which he believes will bring about profound changes. ASI, he explained, will be significantly more advanced, leading to AI that is 10,000 times smarter than the smartest human.

“[With] ASI, you will see a big improvement,” Son said. He described a future where various ASI models interact like neurons in a human brain, resulting in unprecedented cognitive capabilities.

Impact on SoftBank and the tech industry

SoftBank shares dropped more than 3% in Japan following the meeting, reflecting the market’s reaction to Son’s ambitious predictions. This decline underscores the uncertainty and mixed sentiments surrounding such a transformative vision.

Son is known for his early and profitable investment in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which solidified his reputation as a tech visionary.

He further cemented this status with the 2017 launch of the Vision Fund, a massive investment vehicle focused on tech firms.

While the Vision Fund has seen notable successes, it has also experienced high-profile failures, such as the controversial investment in office-sharing company WeWork.

After record financial losses at Vision Fund in 2022, Son declared that SoftBank would adopt a more conservative “defense” mode.

However, following another record loss in 2023, Son signaled a shift back to “offense,” driven by excitement over AI investment opportunities.

Personal reflections and SoftBank’s mission

During his speech, Son also shared personal reflections, revealing a more introspective side. He recounted a moment two years ago when he felt he hadn’t achieved anything of consequence and cried. This period of self-reflection led him to a renewed sense of purpose.

SoftBank was founded for what purpose? For what purpose was Masa Son born? It may sound strange, but I think I was born to realize ASI. I am super serious about it.

He emphasized that the mission of SoftBank is now aligned with the “evolution of humanity” through the development of ASI.

The future of AI

Son’s predictions about the future of AI highlight the rapid pace of technological advancements and the transformative potential of AI.

His vision of AI that is 10,000 times smarter than humans suggests a future where AI could solve complex problems, drive innovation, and significantly alter human lifestyles.

While Son’s forecasts are ambitious, they reflect a broader trend in the tech industry where AI is increasingly seen as a cornerstone of future developments.

The potential applications of ASI are vast, ranging from healthcare and finance to education and beyond.

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