Let's say you're a major shareholder at a public company with an aging, "eccentric" CEO and an impressive, young heir apparent. With a succession plan in place you're feeling pretty good about long-term stuff, right?
But what if suddenly that heir apparent quits in a very public manner, making it crystal clear that your irascible leader is not ready to be replaced quite yet. Now you're feeling a little nervous, less sanguine about the future and hoping to contain the fallout, right?
The dudes over at SoftBank know what we're talking about...
Yesterday, the Japanese business world was rocked when it was announced that would-be successor to Masayoshi Son, Nikesh Arora, would not be taking over the top spot at Softbank and is instead leaving the company.
Yeah, that's a bitof a pickle. But all SoftBank shareholders have to do now is keep Son from saying anything too nutty in public and they can ride this out...
"I still have unfinished business regarding the Singularity," Son told the Nikkei. "I want to continue for at least another five years."
Ok, that was close. Some people could hear "The Singularity" and think that Son is talking about the hypothetical event in which an upgradable intelligent agent (such as a computer running software-based artificial general intelligence) enters a 'runaway reaction' of self-improvement cycles, with each new and more intelligent generation appearing more and more rapidly, causing an intelligence explosion and resulting in a powerful superintelligence whose cognitive abilities could be, qualitatively, as far above humans' as human intelligence is above ape intelligence. But luckily for SoftBank, that can't be what its CEO is talking about... right?
"I think we are about to see the biggest paradigm shift in human history," Son told the Nikkei. "The Singularity is coming. Artificial intelligence will overtake human beings not just in terms of knowledge, but in terms of intelligence. That will happen this century … Looking into the next 30 years, our focus will no doubt be on AI, smart robots and the Internet of Things."
Ahh... Hmm... So he was talking about the coming robot apocalypse?
Well, major shareholder, we hope your whole situation goes better than this one did.