AI could make 12-hour work weeks the norm - Jack Ma

By Bloomberg | 31 Aug 2019 at 20:12hrs
Jack Ma
Billionaire Jack Ma, long an outspoken advocate for China's extreme work culture, says that people should be able to work just 12 hours a week with the benefits of artificial intelligence.

People could work as little as three days a week, four hours a day with the help of technology advances, the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder said at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai Thursday.

He spoke on-stage with Elon Musk, the chief executive officer of Tesla Inc. who is building manufacturing facilities in the city.

Just this year, Ma endorsed the China tech sector's infamous 12-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week routine, so common it earned the moniker 996. In one blog post, China's richest man this year dismissed people who expect a typical eight-hour office lifestyle, defying a growing popular backlash.

"I don't worry about jobs," Ma said on Thursday, making an optimistic case that AI will help humans rather than just eliminate their work. "Computers only have chips, men have the heart. It's the heart where the wisdom comes from."

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