Alibaba founder Jack Ma says ChatGPT is just beginning of AI era amid visit to a Hangzhou school, stresses using AI to solve problems instead of being controlled by AI
Published: Mar 27, 2023 06:46 PM
Photo: Wechat account of Yungu School

Photo: Wechat account of Yungu School

Jack Ma Yun, the founder of Alibaba Group and one of China's best-known entrepreneurs, on Monday visited Yungu School, a private school established by Alibaba partners based in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province, according to a post on the school's WeChat account on Monday.

During the visit, Ma discussed the future of education with the school's directors, and shared his perspective on ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot that has garnered widespread global attention, according to the post. 

The visit comes after certain media outlets quoted sources as saying that Ma had opted to "stay overseas, saying he has retreated from his companies to focus on researching agricultural technology." 

Ma's high-profile visit also comes as Chinese economy is embarking on a fast track of recovery, and as Chinese authorities have pledged unwavering support to boost private and internet economy. Observers said that the move of a prominent business tycoon also carries weight in shoring up confidence in the recovery of Chinese economy. 

During the discussion, Ma said that technologies like ChatGPT have brought challenges to education, but they're just the beginning of AI era. And "we [as human beings] should use AI to solve problems rather than being controlled by AI. Although the physical and mental strength of human beings are not comparable to machines, but human beings have a 'heart' whereas machines only have 'chips,'" Ma was quoted as saying in the post.

Ma noted that the industrial era is knowledge-driven and is a competition for knowledge, while the digital era is wisdom-driven, a competition of creation and imagination, a competition of leadership and responsibility, and a competition of independent thinking.  

Alibaba's Hong Kong shares rallied 5 percent on Monday's morning trading session, and closed 0.06 percent lower.  

According to a video posted by the school's WeChat account, Ma also visited students at the elementary school's first grade year group and listened to their speeches with a big smile. He also visited the school's pottery room.

Yungu School was founded in 2017, and spans 15 years of education, offering classes from kindergarten through to high school. The school, since being established, has been exploring how to offer children an education geared toward the future in an era during which AI develops rapidly.   

In January, Ma reportedly met with Thailand's richest man and senior chairman of Chia Tai Group, Xie Guomin, and his third son, Xie Rongren, Chia Tai's chief executive, in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Economic Times reported.

Ma officially stepped down as chairman of Alibaba in September 2019 at the age of 55. The school's post said being a teacher is Ma's favorite job, and he hopes to resume this role someday. 

Global Times