Could Rapidly Advancing Technology Cause World War 3? Alibaba’s Jack Ma Says Yes

Lately tensions are running high in the Middle East between the United States and Russia, starting with Trump’s decision to order a missile strike after Syria used chemical weapons causing several civilian casualties. Add that to threats from North Korea claiming they are ready for “full out war,” and talking about how easy it would be for them to attack Japan, and you might be starting to get worried. The potential for global war is definitely there, and according to Alibaba’s Jack Ma we’re due for World War 3, based on the rapid advances in technology alone, making the potential threat all the more terrifying.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Jack Ma explained that the growing use of artificial intelligence could threaten more than the jobs of millions of people. He points out that World War I broke out not long after the Industrial Revolution, when economic fortunes and classes of people shifted with the change in technology, creating a gap which generated conflict, eventually leading into war. Ma suggests that similar technological advancements led to the start of World War II as well.

Jack Ma says that technological advances will cause World War 3
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“The first technology revolution caused World War I. The second technology revolution caused World War II. This is the third technology revolution.”

If his theory is true, then we will see a shift in economy as we move forward with artificial intelligence, automation, and an e-commerce world that will negatively impact political systems as some are able to forge ahead, while others end up left in the dust. When this happens, there is going to be potential for conflict, on top of the already growing tension between major countries like the United States, Russia, China, and even the small, but threatening North Korea. With developing technologies, not only will there be many changes in the industrial world, but it will also change the weapons used in warfare as well, which is all the more terrifying.

Ma says that his global travels, which exceeded 800 hours in 2016, with the goal of 1,000 hours in 2017, is to educate and inform world leaders and governments of what could happen, in hopes of preventing it. Ways this could be done vary, but one thing he suggested in an entrepreneurship conference in Zhengzhou, China is to adapt education to move away from jobs that could be automated, and instead move towards the rise of the internet economy.

The technological revolution could cause world war 3 according to Alibaba's Jack Ma
[Image by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]

With the growing number of people who make their living online each year, and the number of jobs that are slowing going to be (or already have been) replaced by automation and artificial intelligence, it makes sense to start educating people to work in an online economy where the job growth is continuous, at least for now. This would help ensure that future generations are being educated to make a living in a way that won’t be easily replaced by machines, and he suggests that machines should only be made to do things that humans cannot easily do already.

Do you think that rapidly growing technology has put us at a higher risk for World War 3? Do you believe that technology growth influenced the first two world wars in a similar way, and that we are about to see history repeat itself? Or can we try and make a shift in the economy as technology advances to prevent such a conflict from arising? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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