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SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son plans to create ‘super’ AI

ANN/THE STRAITS TIMES – SoftBank Group’s big-talking billionaire founder Masayoshi Son is back, this time with plans to bring about an era of artificial superintelligence (ASI).

Son sketched out ambitions to help create artificial intelligence thousands of times smarter than any human, making his most lofty pronouncements since the Japanese conglomerate began taking steps to shore up its finances following a series of ill-timed start-up bets.

Son, sounding both more energised and more reflective than he has in years, talked on June 21 about a future when Arm Holdings’ chips support a thriving ecosystem of robots and powerful data centres that can collectively cure cancer, clean houses and play with children.

Son, at times visibly overtaken with emotion, talked about how he wanted to change the world before he leaves it for good.

The 66-year-old invoked his late friend Steve Jobs, saying their frequent conversations often left him in tears when he realised his legacy would pale in comparison with the Apple co-founder’s.

But after grappling with his failures over the past year, during which his entrepreneurial father died, Son said he woke up with an epiphany on June 21.

I had my answer,” Son told shareholders gathered at an annual meeting. “I made some checks, and I see my path forward.”

“This is what I was born to do – to realise ASI,” Son said. “Watch me, I will make it happen.”

Billionaire Masayoshi Son. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES