AI will lead to 12 hour work week and help us 'spend more time being human beings' says Jack Ma


Billionaire Jack Ma says AI will make the future work week 12 hours long and let us ‘spend more time being human beings’

  • Billionaire Jack Ma says AI will pave the way for a 12-hour work week
  • That would mean working three days per week for just four hours each day 
  • Ma’s own company, Alibaba, has often promoted a 72-hour work week  

Billionaire Jack Ma said Thursday envisions a bright new future for the chronically overworked: a 12-hour work week.

According to Ma, a Chinese business magnate who helms mega-retailer, Alibaba, meteoric advances in artificial intelligence and reforms in education could mean many workers will eventually work only a quarter of their current weekly hours.

Theoretically, that would mean working as little as three days per week for four hours each day, he said inconversation with Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, at an AI conference in China.

Alibaba chief, Jack Ma (pictured above) thinks that with the proper advances in AI and the education system that workers could soon enjoy a 12-hour work week.

Alibaba chief, Jack Ma (pictured above) thinks that with the proper advances in AI and the education system that workers could soon enjoy a 12-hour work week.

‘For the next 10, 20 years, every human being, country, government should focus on reforming the education system, making sure our kids can find a job, a job that only requires three days a week, four hours a day,’ Ma said at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai Thursday according to Bloomberg.  

Ma reportedly continued to compare the advancement of AI to the rapid rise of electricity and all of the ripple effects that came with it.

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‘The power of electricity is that we make people more time so that you can go to karaoke or dancing party in the evening, he said. 

‘I think because of artificial intelligence, people will have more time enjoying being human beings,’ he said. 

For just about everyone around the globe, a 12-hour work week would mark a drastic reduction in time spent at their jobs.

While workers’ hours tend to vary across age and sector, average laborers in the US, for example, currently work just shy of 40 hours per week according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In other countries like  South Korea, the government just recently passed a law reducing the maximum work week from 68 hours to 52 hours.

As noted by Bloomberg, in Ma’s home country, the tech sector in particular is known for its grueling work schedule. 

Prominent technology companies have become notorious for working their employees 12 hours-per-day, six days a week.

Average weekly hours vary across the world, with adults in the US working about 40 hours per week while laborers in other sectors -- like the tech sector in China -- may work as many as 72 per week.

Average weekly hours vary across the world, with adults in the US working about 40 hours per week while laborers in other sectors — like the tech sector in China — may work as many as 72 per week.

Interestingly, both Ma and his company Alibaba, have promoted such a schedule — referred to as 996 since employees work from 9 am to 9 pm six days per week — and have recently drawn backlash from workers for failing to compensate the intense workload with overtime pay.

‘To be able to work 996 is a huge bliss,’ said Ma in a blog post on Alibaba’s official Weibo account. 

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‘If you want to join Alibaba, you need to be prepared to work 12 hours a day, otherwise why even bother joining.’

Musk, who often disagreed with Ma’s characterization of  a benevolent future AI, took the opportunity to promote one of his own most futuristic side projects: building a brain-to-computer interface. 

Musk’s often mysterious company, Neuralink, has worked to build a device that he says may one day be able to just upload information to the brain ‘Matrix-style.’

HOW WILL ROBOTS CHANGE THE WORKPLACE BY 2022?

The World Economic Forum has unveiled its latest predictions for the future of jobs.

Its 2018 report surveyed executives representing 15 million employees in 20 economies.

The non-profit expects robots, AI and other forms of automation to drastically change the workplace within the next four years.

By 2022:

Jobs predicted to be displaced: 75 million

Jobs predicted to be created: 133 million 

Share of workforce requiring re-/upskilling: 54 per cent

Companies expecting to cut permanent workforce: 50 per cent

Companies expecting to hire specialist contractors: 48 per cent

Companies expecting to grow workforce: 38 per cent

Companies expecting automation to grow workforce: 28 per cent



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