Leadership Lessons from SoftBank's Masayoshi Son

Updated: May 9

Masayoshi Son, the founder and CEO of SoftBank believes that we are approaching the technological singularity as digital technologies start to accelerate at an unfathomable pace resulting in massive transformations to human civilization at an increasing pace.

I would say we have had several inflection points with new breakthrough technologies such as the iPhone a culmination of Steve Jobs legendary work at Apple, which brought ubiquitous mobile computing, something that transformed human civilization and something we take for granted. However, when we have advanced Artificial Intelligence (Artificial General Intelligence, Artificial Super Intelligence) and Brain Computer Interfaces, which I believe we will have this decade, I believe we will truly reach the technological singularity and a transhuman, sci-fi fantasy future.

Today at a time where digital technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and social media have accelerated to the point where humans are becoming like a hive mind in the Internet of Things and Internet of People we are creating and even where we are predicting brain-computer interfaces such as Neuralink to come in the market soon, we are a technological tipping point. I think that its worth hearing Masa Son’s thoughts on computing, artificial intelligence and the singularity as well as increasingly powerful and exponential digital technologies. Masa believes that these technologies will assist us with almost everything and improve the quality of both our lives and our work as they advance further and further.

Masa cites the exponential increase of processing power and compute on microprocessors and Central Processing Units (CPUs) as a reason for his belief in the technological singularity and the accelerating rate of change. Take a look at the exponential increase of the number of transistors that fit on a chip (CPU) and the projections for the future in this slide. We will have around 3 quadrillion transistors on a chip by 2040 or the equivalent processing power of a human brain.

We can already see that robotics, artificial intelligence and software are eating the world as we enter 2021, I think extrapolating to the near future, it’s not hard to see that we are closer to the singularity where these technologies are ubiquitous and omnipotent. Masa Son believes that the Technological Singularity will take place in 2047 and that we will have achieved Artificial Superintelligence by then. In fact the insane high-growth of his conglomerate SoftBank Group probably is in large part because of his insights around the future evolution of technology and innovation and his acquisitions of stakes in multiple tech unicorns or companies in sectors ranging from E-commerce to semiconductors, computing, ridehailing, autonomous vehicles, telecommunications, and remote working, etc, such as Alibaba, Arm, Nvidia, Oyo, Didi, Slack, Uber, etc.

Futurism | Softbank CEO: The Singularity Will Happen by 2047

The Future is Now & The Singularity is Near

I think this style of information technology based philosophy and entrepreneurship may seem eccentric and straight out of a sci-fi movie but will create the next wave of transformation in business and humanity for entrepreneurs who can capitalize and is already creating tremendous waves of interesting high-tech entrepreneurs and companies as are economy increasingly goes through digital transformation.

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