At the soirees scheduled during the week of the United Nations General Assembly annual meeting, the current state of the world hovers uneasily over every conversation.
Masayoshi Son, chief executive officer and founder of SoftBank, offered something different: a wild vision of the future in which 10 billion smart robots with IQs of 10,000 will form a metal-collar workforce replacing most blue-collar and many white-collar jobs. These members of the superintelligence in about 30 years will swim and fly, come in all shapes — and redefine every industry, giving us a new lifestyle that presents great investment opportunities, he said.
Which leaves us where exactly? Unemployed and humbled — these smart robots may cure diseases and even save the world, he said Monday night at the New York Hilton while accepting an honor from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.
But there’s a silver lining: We’ll also have free time to help each other and ask the big questions. “What is mankind’s job when they become so smart, smarter against us? What is life, what is the meaning of living?”
Unfortunately, the able forecaster who’s made a lot of money on his technology-focused investments didn’t provide answers. Time was limited, after all, at a gala where two other CEOs were honored (Paul Polman and Brian Moynihan) and Son got to catch up with Blackstone Group LP’s Steve Schwarzman.”Steve has been my mentor,” Son said. “I am just following what he has done.”
There were also remarks by the Vatican’s foreign minister, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher; Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Appeal of Conscience founder; and Christine Lagarde.