Debate: Topic and Outline
”Can AI make people happy?”” What should Japan do to make people happy by using AI? “
By Klaus Schwab who is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
Technical History of the First to Third Industrial Revolution
Interviewer: The fourth industrial revolution was a creation of connecting the worlds (the Internet) and would fundamentally alter the way we lived, worked, and related to one another. It began during the 18th century in England by developing mechanized industrialization, then electrical industrialization at the beginning of the 20th century, and finally computerizing technology during 1980. But you have a different point of view about the revolution.
Klaus: In my opinion, the first industrial revolution was the age of Copernicus and Galileo, the second began the age of Darwin, and the third and final by Freud. During the Renaissance period, it was called the “Restoration of Classic” and people became conscious of science. Now it’s our fourth revolution. We chose the improvement of AI technology and faced the fact that computer could write the better algorithm than us. It’s time to consider the difference of human and machines and what makes our existence variate.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution
Interviewer: Can human survive the fourth industrial revolution?
Klaus: There are two problems. The first one is what we called “Geopolitics.” This world is changing from centralized to decentralized. After the cold war, we discussed “the end of history” and believed it was possible to cooperate with each other based on our common values, mostly focused on freedom, democracy and human rights. However, there are countries that have opposing points of view, under these circumstances, there are common interests but no common values.
The second problem is how we familiarize with the fourth industrial revolution. Industrial revolution is not only about the technology but also it’s adherent effect on society and politics. It seems like this ” revolution” will likely disturb Japanese traditional politics somehow. There is a conflict with people who want to accept AI outright and positively, and then there are people who are afraid of its possibly drastic irreversible changes. Those people being afraid of new world believe that there are other solutions, for instance, nationalisms and populisms.
Can AI and the Internet Make Human Happy?
Interviewer: Do you think AI and Internet will make our lives happier?
Klaus: Of course! At the very least technology will be able to contribute to our overall happiness by making our life better and healthier. For example, let’s think about the new generational communication technology 5G which makes it easier to access telemedicine and education. If we can put robots and autonomous cars into practical use, the elderly will be able to enjoy the transportation and benefits from that technology. With a big data analyzing system, cancer therapeutics will progress rapidly due to detecting it in its earlier stages. Especially for countries like Japan, facing an aging society, this technology will present many solutions.
Interviewer: There is the topic about whether AI will take our jobs.
What do you think about this topic?
Klaus: Well.. Although there is a possibility that AI could take jobs away from us, we don’t need to be so pessimistic because meanwhile, new occupations will be needed. In twenty to thirty years, most productions and services will be probably automated. In that society, basic income will be needed.
Interviewer: What do you think about the possible invasion of our privacy?
Klaus: The greatest feature of new technologies is that everything will become “transparent.” More transparency in the world will be wonderful but at the same time, there will be a risk of going too far. It’sreally important to find a good balance. There were leaks of tens of millions of Facebook profiles in the past and it potentially could have endangered the lives of many and purposes. It shows how difficult it is to find the appropriate balance with public interests in mind. On the other hand, one of the main pillars of the fourth industrial
revolution like block chain has a potential because it is predictably effective to the measures of money laundering and corruption. There are a lot of technologies changing society and culture as well as having a good impact on this world. World Economic Forum (WEF) established the center of the fourth industrial revolution in San Francisco last spring for analyzing systems and regulations, and proposing resolutions to others around the world.
Interviewer: WEF will establish their second center in Japan this summer. Why Japan?
Klaus: Because Japan is facing a falling birthrate and population decrease and that will play a very important role. Being considerate and sharing is needed in the world of the fourth industrial revolution, so Japan could take the leadership position. And I think Japan should take that role because it has well-organized and has various data. The important thing in the fourth industrial revolution is not only innovation changes in businesses and universities, but also swift action of government to build regulations like which data should be used. If it goes well, Japan will be able to maintain its global competitiveness.
Interviewer: In the United States, not only Facebook but other major IT companies hold a monopoly in the technology field and there has been a lot of attention in the society recently.
Klaus: You can’t always necessarily say that “monopoly” causes problems. Once platform economy has established, it’s legislators’ jobs to ensconce the platform economy and think of a way to keep economic competitive strength.
Interviewer: What is your opinion about the US-China trade frictions?
Klaus: It’s important to make both countries understand how harmful the trade frictions are. If I was to say it, I think this is not about simple trade frictions but competitions for dominance in the fourth industrial revolution. Under this situation, neither US nor China give in because of the highly advanced technology matter,
Interviewer: I heard you were studying about Confucius.
Klaus: He shows us social norms to live by this world together. We are all members of a larger international community and we need to figure out how to cooperate with each other. The Confucius’s model was not about willing to fight a conflict or winner-take-all. He focused on compromise and trying to make situations satisfiable to anyone. In the way of mercantilism, there is only one outcome – one wins thoroughly and the other loses. I think it’s time to listen to Confucius’ doctrine.
About Klaus Schwab
Founder of the World Economic Forum in 1972 to solve various social challenges in the world. This economic forum is held in Davos, the East part of Switzerland every January. Leaders, politicians, and managers from all over the world come to discuss about poverty, environment, AI and so on. Schwab has a long history with Japan and he has come to Japan for over 100 times since 1973. He proposes Japan to show its ability to lead at the Davos meeting and offer more opportunities to women. He has PhD. in Economics (University of Fribourg) and Engineering (ETH Zurich). From Germany.
The above is translated by Ms. Kojima and prood reading by Mr. Sam.