awards

Masayoshi Son
September 18, 2017

I don’t know what to say. Thank you, Rabbi. Thank you, Steve.

Steve has been my mentor. I am just following what he has done. Such a great honor to be introduced by the person that I truly respect. All the details of my life, of my past, are brought back. So I don’t want to repeat what he said. I’m just so flattered, so honored. So, I was lucky. I came to the States at the age of 16. I encountered to the innovation of semiconductor. When I was 19 years old, I do remember even now, on the street, I just got out of my car, I was walking on the pedestrian road. The leaves were below my shoes, I was stepping on those leaves. I was flipping the page of science magazine. The one page grabbed my attention. What is this picture? It was a strange picture, I have never seen that kind of picture. It looks like the design or the map of the futuristic city. It’s so sophisticated, it must have some kind of meaning, some kind of thing. Then I flipped the next page and I read what it is.

It was the enlarged picture of the microprocessor. On the next page it had a fingertip of the person. On the fingertip there was a microprocessor’s chip itself. I said “wow”, “wow”. Finally mankind created something that could be smarter than mankind, smarter than ourselves. Mankind created finally created something that will be smarter than ourselves. Mankind always developed and created tools—fire, airplane, automobiles—all kinds of tools to give us productivity. But finally mankind created something that will be smarter than ourselves. It’s no longer just a tool, it will be smarter than ourselves. I start crying on the street. I couldn’t stop my tears. All my fingers of the both hands, all my fingers lost their nerves. I couldn’t tell what the feeling was. It’s like when you watch the great movie, you start crying. When you see great art, or listen to great music, you start crying because you are moved so much. To me, it was just like that feeling. I start crying on the street. I tore the page with the scissors. I put in the plastic thing and I slept with it for 6 months.

I always carry it in my bag to go to the campus. To me, it was like a photograph of your idol star. I couldn’t sleep. I was dreaming with it. Of course as a student I didn’t have the money to create a factory, to create a fab, to create the company, to make that thing. I only started a small company as a student at 19 years to utilize my first invention, an electric dictionary. It was the first electronic dictionary with handheld. That was my invention. I filed the patent. And I got 1.5 million dollars.

That was the first money I ever earned. That was just a student job. So I said after I graduate, when I grow up, I will start a real company. I did not know what kind of company it was going to be. It became SoftBank, our company. The first business we started was personal computer software aggregation and distribution. So the name SoftBank comes from that meaning. We store like a bank, instead of a money bank, we store human intelligence of programming. That software we store in a bank and then start selling to all the users of the personal computers. We start also publishing magazines for computers. Later on we acquired the world’s biggest magazine publisher of the computer, PC Magazine, PC Week, which was Ziff-Davis, we acquired them. We acquired COMDEX, which was the largest PC trade show, and so on.

That’s how I started SoftBank, and we had operating business of those. And then later on, we started personal computer Internet broadband, when the Internet started. We started investing in Internet companies. Along our operating business, which I spent 97% of my time, 3% of my time I spent on investment. 3% of my time was almost like a hobby. My executives, my employee, my board directors

could not understand why I am investing crazy amount of money like 100 million dollars for them. At that time, even for me, it was big money. And all those companies that I invested in were losing money. People couldn’t understand. People called me crazy. But the Internet bubble came, and for three days—did you know the fact?—I became richer than Bill Gates. In year 2000.

At that time, every week, my personal net worth was increasing 10 billion dollars every week. I said, “Oh My God. I’m not doing anything. It’s just money spent coming in.” I do not know how to spend. I was thinking, “Where should I donate?” Spending money with respect is actually more difficult than making money. That’s what I thought. So where should I donate it? How do I get respect when I donate? I did not know the answer. I couldn’t have the answer, I was struggling, thinking for six months. Then God gave me the solution. The net bubble crashed six months later.

Our company share price dropped down 99% in one year. So I went almost broke. After the crash, I revived my energy once more. I said, “I am living now.” My fighting spirit is back to me. Now I have to really fight to make money, not just get it by crazy valuation. I start fighting with our largest company in Japan called NTT. They are the monopoly of Internet infrastructure. They had a monopoly of 100 years of all the telephony infrastructure. The government is still the largest shareholder of them. They used to be owned 100% by the government. So I picked the biggest company as target to fight when I was almost broke. So people called me crazy. But I revived my fighting spirits. Somehow I survived.

If you want to know my opinion about top four market cap companies in the world in the next five years, maybe next ten years, you may have heard of the four letter companies, “FANG”, for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. That maybe right, but my opinion is “4As”: Apple, Alphabet (which owns Google) Amazon and Alibaba. I am the first person to say the 4As.

So I don’t know five years later, which A will be No. 1. I have my opinion. You don’t want to know. You can guess. I think in the next five years, next ten years, the 4As will be in the top four of the most viable companies in the world. Anyway, that’s the past. The past is just the past.

As Steve said, we just raised a $100 billion fund focusing on investing in the future of technology. What is my belief and vision for this investment? I have only one belief—Singularity. Please raise your hand if you know the meaning of Singularity. This side was more because of more SoftBank invitations. 30% of raised your hands. This is English terminology by the way. Singularity means one thing, which is the computer artificial intelligence surpass in one point, at the cross point, surpass mankind’s brain and that cross point is happening most likely in the next 30 years. Even today, in the game of chess or in the game of Go, the computer has proven that they can learn by themselves with deep learning, with artificial intelligence, that they are already smarter and stronger than mankind’s champion. They have already proven that. For weather forecast, when we were kids, we were joking. The weather forecast that we see on TV is like a joke. All the fishermen can predict better about tomorrow’s weather. So the computer prediction of the weather forecast was like a joke. But today, even all the fishermen look at the news and see Google and the weather forecast because computer prediction became smarter than all the fishermen about the

weather forecast.

Those things are already starting to happen. But only here and there, not every subject. Going forward in the next 30 years, the Singularity is really happening.

So I tell you four numbers: 10, 1, 10, 1. Easy to remember. What are those four numbers? If you know the Dr. Einstein, he’s known as one of the smartest persons on this earth. People say his IQ was probably around 200. IQ is one of the measurements of measuring our intelligence. The average, let’s say, is 100. If you had 200, you are called a genius. So Dr. Einstein was a genius with 200 as a score. Maybe Da Vinci was around 200. Of course he was one of the geniuses at the time.

First 10, what is 10? 10,000 will be the IQ level of the artificial intelligence 30 years from now. That’s my prediction. If you are 200 and called a genus, what should we call the guy who has 10,000 IQ? We had better not fight with such a guy. So the artificial intelligence might become in the measurement around 10,000 in the thirty years. It’s not so far away.

The next 1 is 1 million. Last 30 years, the computing power by microprocessors, the size of memory, the speed of digital communication, has increased by 1 million times. Those three factors determine the functionality of computing. Computing power, memory size and digital communication, those increased by 1 million times in the last 30 years. In the next 30 years, it’s going to improve another 1 million times. That is why the fundamental power f artificial intelligence is coming. So that’s amazing. This is so fundamental. That is 1 million.

What is the next number? 10. 10 billion. I predict 30 years from now, the number of smart robots, the smart robot population on this earth will be 10 billion. By that time, human population will be around 10 billion. So here on this earth we will have 10 billion population of mankind and 10 billion population of smart robots. This is the first time on this earth that we live together with 10 billion robots. When I say robots, it’s not just two legs, two hands. So the car that will autonomously drive is a robot. In my definition it’s a robot. It’s a smart robot. The robot that flies, the robot that swims, the robot that is micro, the robot that is gigantic. It’s all robots. All kinds of shapes, the number of legs, flying, whatever they will be all smart robots. They will do many different tasks. They will be 10 billion of smart robots. Those smart robots communicate with each other to the cloud. The definition of robot today does not apply to them. If you say, “That guy is like a robot,” that means that guy is just mechanical and does a routine job. Not autonomous, not smart, not super-intelligent.

But as I said, artificial intelligence, Singularity is coming. Those robots I say are metal collar. Here we have white collar and blue collar. I said a new collar will start: that is metal collar. That metal collar will not only replace most of the blue collar jobs, but many of the white collar jobs. So when they become so smart and the muscles to move, what is the definition of what mankind’s job should be? What should we do if they replace many of our jobs? What is the value of our lives? We have to think once more, deeply.

What is the fourth 1? I said four numbers. 10, 1, 10, 1. What is the fourth 1? That is 1 trillion. Last year

we acquired a company called ARM. We paid f34 billion dollars in cash. And the CEO Simon is here. Simon, can you stand up. Simon is the CEO. He has 99% of the market share of any of the smartphones that you have in your pocket. The chip inside the smartphone, 99% of the worldwide market share is by him.

Next 20 years, we predicted, in the next twenty years the Internet of Things, IoT. So his chip is not only going into smartphones and automobiles, and radios. They’re going everywhere, and the number of chips we are predicting that he’s going to ship are 1 trillion chips. That will be 90% of any chip that gets connected to the Internet.

Guess what? If the Singularity really comes, if the computing power becomes so powerful and 10 billion smart robots live on this earth, the same number of population as ourselves, and they are connected real time seamlessly, ubiquitously, all around the world, 1 trillion chips connecting each other, what kind of life should we live?

Every industry that mankind created will be redefined. The medical industry, automobile industry, the information industry, of course. Every industry that mankind ever defined and created, even agriculture, will be redefined. Because the tools that we created were inferior to mankind’s brain in the past. Now the tools become smarter than mankind ourselves. The definition of whatever the industry, will be redefined.

We’re no longer using the usual tools. When that kind of new lifestyle comes, we have to think. To me this is the gold rush. If the Internet was the gold rush, this will be an even bigger gold rush. It’s a great investment opportunity. But money is just money. I didn’t create the SoftBank Vision Fund just for chasing money. I did it for helping the happiness and future of humanity.

The sadness as Steve introduced about our thinking of the mankind was people’s death, your family’s death, your loneliness, and so on. Maybe those superintelligence can save our lives, our family and friends’ lives, from the diseases we could not solve in the past. Maybe those artificial intelligence can save the world from the disaster that we didn’t encounter in the past, or new violence we don’t know yet.

So if we misuse the artificial intelligence, that could be a danger, but if we use them well, if we live on this earth with harmony, with them, this Earth, the life, humanity, we may no longer need to have mankind and mankind fighting wars. The wars may become a better peace. So I hope that the value of the person, the value of the heart will become even more important. Helping other people, philosophy, religion, thinking about other people, thinking about helping each other will become even more valuable because productivity would be substituted by them, the superintelligence.

Let’s just hope that we are working for the better future of humanity.

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