In Tokyo, Japan, Masayoshi Son shared his vision for the future of robotics and the Internet of Things. He estimates that within 30 years, machines will have hardware which will be 1M times more powerful than the human brain (which is an amazing electro-mechanical computer). At the same time, the Intellectual Quotient (IQ) for computers will top 10,000 – vs 100 for the average human, and around 200 for geniuses such as Leonardo DaVinci or Albert Einstein.
Of course, he realizes that pure “compute power” does not linearly equate to “intelligence”, but he says that there’s a good chance that the software will also evolve at the same time, at least, that’s the hope. It’s nearly impossible to predict what’s going to happen by then, but in the past 3 years, there has been a huge progress in the field of machine-learning.
After struggling for decades, researchers have now successfully developed algorithms that can reliably recognize things, and category of things. For example, these algorithms can be “trained” to recognize “automobiles”, and even if you show them a new car, they will “see” what makes a car: headlights, wheels, general shape, etc… and infers that this new object is most likely an automobile. This will become incredibly useful for on-board car computers and could revolutionize safety.
Masayoshi Son argues that the spread of machine-learning, associated with the increase in computing power and the ubiquitous availability of networks will revolutionize our lives and how we interact with technology. Each of us could be connected to about 1000 devices, he says.
Robots will also become a big part of our lives, he says. Of course, Japan has long been interested in how robots could become part of one’s life. That’s why his company, Softbank (the 3rd largest phone carrier in the world), has acquired French company Aldebaran, which has built the two robots (Nao and Pepper) that Masayoshi Son was demonstrating on stage. Both are already commercially available for B2B applications.
He was speaking at an event in Tokyo, where France and Japan have announced the “French Japan Innovation Year”, a collaborative program between both countries to promote each other’s technology and to collaborate on many tech-related projects. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was speaking at the event, along with several high-profile Japanese politicians.
In conclusion, Masayoshi Son said that he believes that robots would eventually get “smarter” than humans (at least in terms of raw brain-power), but that we should not fear them, and that they would be “friendly”. That, of course, depends on how we build them… but regardless, it is clear that autonomous machines with increasingly higher capabilities are already here, and evolving fast. Alternatively, others are trying to build robots using existing organic brains…