Alibaba Group Holding Limited (BABA) chairman Jack Ma is preparing for the Third World War. Or at least it would seem that way from his comments to television network CNBC during an interview. According to Ma, advances in technology have caused world wars. "The first technology revolution caused World War I. The second technology revolution caused World War II. This is the third technology revolution," he said. But he did not outline the possible causes for this war. 

Ma's interview was wide ranging and covered disparate topics that ranged from the future of humanity to the difference between wisdom and intelligence. He sketched the contours of a future world disrupted by artificial intelligence (AI) trends. According to Ma, the next 30 years will be marked by "very painful" changes for humanity as it enters an age defined by data and artificial intelligence. Ma said that humans will win in a war with machines. This is because machines do not possess wisdom, which comes from the heart. (See also: Alibaba's Ma: We're Not Looking to Invade US.)

That said, the age of machines will witness far-reaching changes. As machines take over labor-intensive tasks, the working week will diminish to 16 hours, Ma predicted. The extra leisure time will create a mobile population that will work across borders and put a stop to the backlash against globalization. "The only thing is how can we make trade more inclusive, knowledge more inclusive, and this is how we can deal with the instability of the world (that machines will create)," he said. Governments will have to make "hard choices," Ma added. (See also: Jack Ma: Success Story.)

Among those choices will the decision to open up borders to enable cross-border e-commerce. According to current rules, it is difficult for small businesses to trade across borders using e-commerce sites due to a phalanx of customs and duty provisions. Ma's e-commerce juggernaut is leading the charge for international e-commerce and already has a thriving business in Tmall, its cross-border e-commerce site that sells overseas goods in China. (See also: Special Delivery: Alibaba Wants Faster Traffic to Europe.)

 

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