Jack Ma

The simple reason technology will never replace humans, according to Jack Ma

People are wise, so have confidence in yourselves and don’t worry about the robot revolution, urges the Alibaba founder

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 October, 2017, 1:08pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 October, 2017, 2:20pm

Have confidence in yourself - technology will never replace human beings, insisted Jack Ma in a keynote speech at Alibaba Cloud’s Computing Conference in Hangzhou.

There’s one simple reason for that, the Alibaba founder said - we possess wisdom.

“People are getting more worried about the future, about technology replacing humans, eliminating jobs and widening the gap between the rich and the poor,” said Ma. “But I think these are empty worries.

“Technology exists for people. We worry about technology because we lack confidence in ourselves, and imagination for the future.”

Ma explained that humans are the only things on Earth that are wise. “People will always surpass machines because people possess wisdom,” he said.

Referencing AlphaGo, the Google artificial intelligence program that beat the world’s top Go player at his own game, Ma said that there was no reason humanity should be saddened by the defeat.

“AlphaGo? So what? AlphaGo should compete against AlphaGo 2.0, not us. There’s no need to be upset that we lost. It shows that we’re smart, because we created it.”

Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

Eight lessons for a successful career (and life) from Jack Ma at Alibaba’s Gateway ‘17

Ma also touched on these topics in this keynote speech:

Working for just three hours a day

At some point in the next 30 years, people will end up working for just three to four hours a day, for three days a week.

But don’t think that means life will be more relaxed. “When that happens, you’ll be even busier than you are today,” Ma insisted.

“My grandfather worked 16 hours a day on a farm and felt that he was very busy. He had only one day off a week. I have two days off a week, I work for eight hours a day, and I feel even busier than my grandfather.”

WATCH: Jack Ma’s hiring tip - ‘If you think they will be your boss in five years, hire them’

Knowing nothing about the future

Futurologists might disagree, but Ma said no one could really know what the future would bring.

“Anything that can be clearly defined is not the future. When faced with the future, we’re all kids; no one’s an expert,” he said.

“What we don’t know about it is far greater than what we do. What we imagine about the future is naive.”

Seven more lessons for a successful career (and life) from Jack Ma

Trust young people

Believe in young people, because they will be able to solve the problems that plague us today. Reiterating a point Ma frequently brings up in speeches, he explained: “Children aren’t worried about the future. Young people aren’t worried about the future; they’re worried about us: us leading them into the future we envision.

“Kids nowadays don’t want to be informed, they want to be involved. Let’s leave the opportunities of tomorrow to the kids. They’ll be able to solve the problems we can’t solve. Believe in them, believe in young people.”