Anyone whos seen Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son give a keynote speech will know he rarely sticks to the standardindustry conference playbook.
And his turn on the stage at Mobile World Congress this morning was no different, with Son making likeEldon Tyrell and telling delegates abouthis personal belief ina looming computing Singularity that hes convinced willseesuperintelligent robotsarriving en masse within the next 30 years, surpassing the human population in number and brainpower.
I totally believe this concept, he said, of the Singularity. In next 30 years this will become a reality.
If superintelligence goes inside the moving device then the world, our lifestyle dramatically changes, he continued, pointing out thatautonomous vehicles containingasuperintelligent AI would become smart robots.
There will be many kinds. Flying, swimming, big, micro, run, two legs, four legs, 100 legs, he added, further fleshing out his vision of a robot-infested future.
Son said hispersonal conviction in the looming rise of billions ofsuperintelligent robots bothexplains his acquisition of UK chipmaker ARM last year, and his subsequent plantoestablish the worldsbiggest VC fund.
I truly believe its coming, thats why Im in a hurry to aggregate the cash, to invest, he noted.
Sons intentto raise$100BN for a new fund, called the Softbank Vision Fund, was announced last October, getting early backing fromSaudi Arabias public investment fund as one of the partners.
The fund hassince pulled inadditional contributors includingFoxconn,Apple, Qualcomm and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellisons family office.
But it has evidently not yet hit Sons target of $100BN as he used his MWC keynoteas a sales pitch for additional partners. Im looking for a partner because we alone cannot do it, he told delegates, smiling and opening his arms in a widegesture of appeal. We have to do it quickly and here are all kinds of candidates for my partner.
Son saidhis haste is partly down to a belief that superintelligent AIs can be used for the goodness of humanity, going on to suggest that only AI has the potentialto address some of the greatest threats to humankinds continued existence be itclimate change ornuclear annihilation.
Though he also said its important to consider whether such a technology will be good or bad.
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, he said. Is it good or bad?
I think this superintelligence is going to be our partner.If we misuse it its 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, he added.
Given this vision for billions of superintelligence connected devices fast-coming down the pipe, Son is unsurprisingly very concerned about security. He said he discusses this weekly with ARM engineers. And described how one of his engineers had played a game to see how many security cameras he could hack during a lunchtime while waiting for his wife. The result? 1.2M cameras potentially compromised during an idle half hour or so.
This is how it is dangerous, this is how we should start thinking of protection of ourself, said Son. We have to be very very careful.
We are shipping a lot of ARMchips but in the pastthose were not secure.We are enhancing very quickly the security. We need to secure all of the thingsin our society.
Son alsorisked something of a Gerald Ratnermoment when he said that all the chips ARM is currently shipping for use in connected cars are not , in fact, secure. Going so far as to show a video of a connected car being hacked and the driver being unable to control the brakes or steering.
There are 500 ARM chips [in one car] today and none of them are secure today btw! said Son. (Though clearly hesworking hard with his team at ARM to change that.)
He also discussed a plan tolaunch800satellitesin the next threeyears, positioned in a nearer Earth orbit to reduce latency and support faster connectivity, as part of a planto help plugconnectivity gaps for connected cars describing the planned configuration of satellites as like a cell tower and like fiber coming straight to the Earth from space.
Were going to provide connectivityto billions of drivers fromthesatellites, he said.
For carriers hungry for their next billions of subscribers as smartphone markets saturate across the world, Son painted a pictured of vast subscriber growth via the proliferation of connected objects which handily of course also helps his bottom line, as the new parent of ARM.
If I say number of subscribers will not grow its not true, he told the conference. Smartphones no but IoT chips will grow to a trillionchips so we will have 1TR subscribers in the next 20 years. And they will all be smart.
One of the chips in our shoes in the next 30 years will be smart than our brain. We will be less than our shoes! And we are stepping on them! he joked. Its an interesting society that comes.
All of the cities, social ecosystem infrastructurewill be connected, he added.All those things will be connected.All connected securelyand managed from the cloud.
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