Billionaire Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son plans to invest in singularity

February 27, 2017

Masayoshi Son (credit: Softbank Group)

Billionaire Softbank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son revealed Monday (Feb. 27) at Mobile World Congress his plan to invest in singularity. “In next 30 years [the singularity] will become a reality,” he said, Tech Crunch reports.

“If superintelligence goes inside the moving device then the world, our lifestyle dramatically changes,” he said. “There will be many kinds. Flying, swimming, big, micro, run, 2 legs, 4 legs, 100 legs,” referring to robots. “I truly believe it’s coming, that’s why I’m in a hurry — to aggregate the cash, to invest.”

“Son said his personal conviction in the looming rise of billions of superintelligent robots both explains his acquisition of UK chipmaker ARM last year, and his subsequent plan to establish the world’s biggest VC fund,” noted TechCrunch — a new $100BN fund called the Softbank Vision Fund, announced last October.

TechCrunch said that despite additional contributors including Foxconn, Apple, Qualcomm and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison’s family office, the fund has evidently not yet hit Son’s target of $100BN, so he used the keynote as a sales pitch for additional partners.

Addressing existential threats

“Son said his 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 potential to address some of the greatest threats to humankind’s continued existence — be it climate change or nuclear annihilation,” said Tech Crunch.

“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,” Son said. “Is it good or bad? “I think this superintelligence is going to be our partner. If we misuse it it’s 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.”

“With the coming of singularity, I believe we will benefit from new ideas and wisdom that people were previously incapable of thanks to big data and other analytics,” Son said on the Softbank Group website. “At some point I am sure we will see the birth of a ‘Super-intelligence’ that will contribute to humanity. This paradigm shift has only accelerated in recent years as both a worldwide and irreversible trend.”