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Alibaba's Jack Ma says: Relax, we're too wise for robots to take our jobs

We just have a little self-confidence problem is all

By Andrew Silver, 12 Oct 2017

Everybody chill. Alibaba founder Jack Ma says we don't need to worry about robots taking our jobs. Phewee.

A paper published in March by US non-profit the National Bureau of Economic Research found that employment and wages in industries using robots fell between 1990 and 2007. Some thinkfluencers *cough* Elon Musk *cough* go a step further and argue they could someday pose a threat to our survival as a species.

But striking a more optimistic tone echoed by many researchers, Ma told a crowd at Alibaba Cloud's Computing Conference in Hangzhou, China, that we have some secret sauce that would keep us in charge. "People will always surpass machines because people possess wisdom," he was quoted as saying by Alibaba-owned South China Morning Post.

He gave the example of DeepMind's AlphaGo machine-learning project beating the world's best Go player last year. "AlphaGo? So what? AlphaGo should compete against AlphaGo 2.0, not us," he said.

"There's no need to be upset that we lost. It shows that we're smart, because we created it," he added.

Ma thinks technology widening the rich-poor gap or taking jobs are "empty worries".

"Technology exists for people. We worry about technology because we lack confidence in ourselves, and imagination for the future," he said. ®

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing