Jack Ma: Technology disruption will bring decades of pain as jobs and the economy change with automation

Lynsey Barber
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Chinese billionaire Jack Ma signalled the pros and cons of change ahead (Source: Getty)

Decades of pain lie ahead due to disruption from technology, according to billionaire entrepreneur Jack Ma.

The Alibaba boss struck a cautious note for the future during a meeting of fellow Chinese billionaires, painting a more negative picture of the disruption automation will bring to the economy and society than some top entrepreneurs.

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"In the next 30 years, the world will see more suffering than happiness. Social conflicts in the next three decades will affect all industries and social classes," he said, speaking at a meeting of the China Entrepreneur Club in Zhengzhou.

And even top bosses like himself could be replaced as jobs "change greatly".

"In 30 years the magazine cover featuring the best chief executive is likely to be a robot," he said.

Ma warned the world must prepare for the rise of automation and people living for longer, using education to foster creativity, innovation and curiosity.

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But he added that it will provide opportunity to those who regard the changes as a positive: "If you feel negative, it will always be, if you think it is a chance, it will be your chance."

"The next next 30 years do not belong to the internet companies, it belongs to companies making good use of the internet," he said, warning leaders to prepared for the changes ahead.

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