According to foreign media reports, at the Moonshot seminar organized by the Japanese government in Tokyo on Tuesday local time, Softbank Group founder and CEO Sun Zhengyi proposed a solution to Japan’s decades-long economic downturn. The method, which involves artificial intelligence (AI).
Figure: Masayoshi Son, Founder, and CEO of Japan’s SoftBank Group Sun Zhengyi said that Japan can promote growth by co-creating AI platforms with India and Southeast Asian countries. He envisages that Japan will play a leading role in this, and believes that the combination of population and market can give these countries an opportunity to compete with China and the United States, which are currently leading the AI field.
Sun Zhengyi showed a slide showing that Japan’s gross domestic product (GDP) has soared, even surpassing China and the United States. He pointed out: “This is the Japanese moon landing plan. If we can achieve it, it will have an amazing impact.” But the audience laughed.
Sun Zhengyi explained that, as the first country facing the thorny problems of an aging society, Japan should focus on autonomous driving and DNA-centric medical research as a solution to the problems of increasing elderly traffic accidents and soaring medical costs. solution.
He said Southeast Asian countries should join the ranks of Japan, create shared databases, and develop common “AI engines.” Sun Zhengyi did not give a specific explanation, nor did he explain why these developing countries would help Japan solve the problems facing its first world. But Sun Zhengyi said: “If we build the best AI platform in Asia, it will have huge potential.”
Although many venture capitalists see Sun Zhengyi’s preaching on the upcoming AI era as nothing more than a marketing stunt, he is already pushing his company to prepare for the future. He believes that in the future, every industry will be changed by AI technology.
Last month, SoftBank announced plans to merge its Internet business Yahoo Japan with Japan’s largest communications service Line. This complex deal is expected to form a technology giant in Japan, which can more effectively compete with global rivals such as Google and Amazon.
Sun Zhengyi has always been optimistic about the future prospects of AI, although his investment strategy has recently been attacked. After Uber’s stock price has fallen more than 30% since its listing, SoftBank’s Vision Fund has had to write down the value of its ride-hailing portfolio, including China Didi Chuxing, India’s Ola and Singapore’s Grab.
Sun Zhengyi also lost billions of dollars after investing huge amounts of money in WeWork. WeWork is an office-sharing startup. There are no obvious traces of AI technology in its business, and there are a lot of challenges in trying to make a profit.
After several fatal crashes in AI autonomous vehicles, the hype surrounding the technology has recently subsided, which clearly shows that true autonomous driving may take a long time to become a reality. Still, Sun Zhengyi said that autonomous taxis can already do better than older drivers.
Son Zhengyi also played a video of Cruise’s self-driving car driving on a crowded street in San Francisco, a company owned by General Motors, and SoftBank invested $ 2.25 billion in it. Sun Zhengyi said: “If you still doubt the self-driving capability, you should believe it after today!”
At the same time, Sun Zhengyi believes that the best solution to rising medical costs is to conduct more DNA analysis, which can’t help but pay attention to Guardant Health, another company he invests in. The cancer-detection company is one of the stocks with higher returns held by the Vision Fund, and its stock price has risen about four times since it went public last year.
Son Zhengyi also mentioned blood testing startup Karius, which Softbank allegedly did not hold a stake in the company.
Sun Zhengyi believes that AI should become an examination subject in the Japanese college entrance examination. Earlier this month, he announced the opening of the Beyond AI Institute in collaboration with the University of Tokyo to accelerate AI research and shift it from theory to practical application.
In May this year, SoftBank appointed Matsuo Yukyu, a well-known AI expert and Deepcore consultant, as a member of the board of directors. This is the first time it has recruited experts in this field. Matsuo is the president of the Japan Deep Learning Association, which provides certification exams for AI engineers.
Sun Zhengyi said, “Japan has been lost in the past. If it does not act quickly to embrace AI and use this technology, it may continue to be lost in the future.