Chinese billionaire Jackie Ma, known as the founder of the Alibaba shopping site, warned everyone at the World Economic Forum last Wednesday (23) that technological advances may be what is expected to cause an upcoming World War.
According to the billionaire, World War I was caused by the first technological revolution, and another Great War was caused by the second technological revolution. Ma concludes that, as we are currently undergoing a third AI-led technological revolution, it is to be expected that we are also close to a Third World War.
Similar warnings have been made by another technology mogul – the ever controversial Elon Musk, who last year warned that competition among countries to develop increasingly capable AIs should be the cause of a Third World War.
Still talking about AIs, Ma punctuated the importance of education, arguing that children should be taught to learn skills that can not be replaced by a machine if they want to have a promising career in the future.
But despite the warnings, Ma is still optimistic about the role of technology for good, and believes that technological advances can provide solutions to serious problems that affect us, such as global warming.
Despite the good intentions, it is worth mentioning that Ma is mistaken in his position on the two Great Wars, since none of them was caused by technological reasons, but geopolitical reasons of expansion of territories and domination of subaltern markets. The first technological revolution cited by Ma happened in 1760, more than 150 years before the beginning of the First War, and it was not the second technological revolution that caused World War II, but rather the opposite: it was the War that increased research in machines to calculate (to decipher the communications of the enemy) and in new forms of communication of fast speed across the continents, what ended up culminating in personal computers and in the internet, equipments responsible for the second technological revolution mentioned by Ma.