Technology Impacts Competitiveness: 'It's Either Utilizing AI Or Being Left Behind'

Masayoshi Son
principal founder, chairman and CEO of SoftBank Group Corp.

In the world that has been taken by storm by a boom of artificial intelligence products, businesses should adapt, or eat dust.

While people have yet to fully understand how AI works, and decode the so-called black box of AI, researchers and companies have came up with way too many uses of AI to aid people in life.

And according to Masayoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank, there is "a critical difference" in companies' competitiveness, and that it depends on how willing they are to embrace the AI technology.

Speaking at the SoftBank World corporate conference, Son said that:

"I think this is the biggest problem for Japanese companies."

"It's either utilizing AI or being left behind."

Masayoshi Son.
Masayoshi Son.

SoftBank Group Corp.'s CEO Masayoshi Son on Wednesday urged Japanese companies to take more advantage of AI because without the technology, businesses may struggle to keep up with the trends that come with the technology.

When OpenAI introduced ChatGPT, pretty much the whole tech industry was shaken by the possibilities the chatbot provides.

Wowed and awed, the rest of the industry raced to either partner with OpenAI, or create their own products to rival ChatGPT.

These products, called Large Language Models (LLM), are extremely smart because they use deep learning algorithms to recognize, summarize, translate, predict, and generate content. By literally learning from the entire internet, the generative AIs' knowledge expands through their immensely large datasets.

Speaking at his company's event, Son voiced his concerns about many Japanese companies banning use of generative AIs for fear of data leaks and other potential risks.

Son compared the situation surrounding AI to the emergence of the internet a few decades ago, saying that Japanese companies that didn't put the technology's potential into consideration gradually lost their global presence and gave way to fast-growing U.S. tech companies such as Google, Meta and others.

In one of his presentation, he even compared those who refused to adopt AI to goldfish, showing a slide an image of a fish in a bowl, and asking them: "Do you want to be a goldfish?"

Son also dubbed those who are denying the potential of AI as "hallucinators."

"AI is not our enemy. It's our friend and partner. Why ban it?"

Masayoshi Son.
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son speaks at the SoftBank World 2023 corporate conference, in Tokyo, Japan October 4, 2023. (Credit: REUTERS)

The executive also believes that AI shall soon surpasses human intelligence in almost all areas.

As soon as AI evolves from an ANI into an AGI, Son believes that the technology can be ten times more intelligent than the sum total of all human intelligence.

His thoughts are based on the rapid progress in generative AI that he said has already exceeded human intelligence in certain areas.

"It is wrong to say that AI cannot be smarter than humans as it is created by humans," he said. "AI is now self learning, self training, and self inferencing, just like human beings."

In the past, Son has spoken of the potential of AGI, by typically referring to it using the term "singularity," and that he also urged companies to use AI to transform business and society.

But this is the first time he mentioned AI using the idea of "Artificial Super Intelligence."

"It will fundamentally change not just all the industries but also education, one's attitude toward life, the way society is and human relations," he said.

Read: Paving The Roads To Artificial Intelligence: It's Either Us, Or Them