Alibaba founder says education can ease blow from automation
‘Machines should only do what humans cannot,’ Ma tells forum
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma said society should prepare for decades of pain as the internet disrupts the economy.
The world must change education systems and establish how to work with robots to help soften the blow caused by automation and the internet economy, Ma said in a speech to an entrepreneurship conference in Zhengzhou, China.
“In the next 30 years, the world will see much more pain than happiness,” Ma said of job disruptions caused by the internet. “Social conflicts in the next three decades will have an impact on all sorts of industries and walks of life.”
It was an unusual speech for the Alibaba co-founder, who tends to embrace his role as visionary and extol the promise of the future. He explained at the event that he had tried to warn people in the early days of e-commerce it would disrupt traditional retailers and the like, but few listened. This time, he wants to warn against the impact of new technologies so no one will be surprised.
“Fifteen years ago I gave speeches 200 or 300 times reminding everyone the Internet will impact all industries, but people didn’t listen because I was a nobody," he said.
Ma made the comments as Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce operator, spends billions of dollars to move into new businesses from film production and video streaming to finance and cloud computing. The Hangzhou-based company, considered a barometer of Chinese consumer sentiment, is looking to expand abroad since buying control of Lazada Group SA to establish a foothold in Southeast Asia, potentially setting up a clash with the likes of Amazon.com Inc....MORE