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Robot CEO — A Likely Case in the Future Says Alibaba Founder Jack Ma

Jack Ma of Alibaba, one of the most influential leaders in China’s e-commerce community, says corporate executives aren’t safe from being taken over by rapid industrialization. He predicted that someday soon, the top CEO could be replaced by a robot CEO. Notably, Fortune Magazine recently named Ma as one of the great leaders in the world. Therefore, CEOs may want to pay attention when Ma says: “In 30 years, a robot will likely be on the cover of Time Magazine as the best CEO.” Ma also notes, “In the next three decades, the world will experience far more pain than happiness.”

Ma was a resource speaker at a recent entrepreneurship conference in China. There he enjoined business people and professionals to prepare for the upheaval that developments in technology will bring forth. Jack Ma underscored the need to reform educational systems in order to make kids more creative and equipped to handle changes. He is greatly concerned with the integration of robots into the workforce as well as into the corporate world. He notes that robots are not only faster but also more rational than humans, stressing that they don’t get affected by emotions. This fact keeps them from getting angry at competitors or customers.

Jack Ma is Optimistic About Robots, Despite Challenges

In spite of his concerns, Jack Ma is optimistic that robots will help propel the human race forward. Jack Ma says robots should not be treated as “mankind’s biggest enemy.” He is, instead, pushing for a partnership and cooperation between humans and machines.

The Alibaba founder also made the bold prediction that technology will allow human workers shorter hours of work.  “In 10 or 20 years, people will work less than 4 hours a day, maybe three days a week,” Jack Ma said.

The shorter work week, greater abundance, and increase in leisure time is exactly what was promised by the futurists decades ago. This idea was seen as a shining goal in which all of humanity could share. As it has happened though, there have been rough patches along the road. Questions remain as to how to distribute the fruits of these productivity gains and how mankind will adapt to a life of greater leisure and abundance.

a robot hand and a human hand in a handshake amid the possible reality of a robot CEO in the future
Jack Ma is pushing for a partnership and cooperation between humans and machines.

Other Things to Consider Other Than A Robot CEO

Perhaps Ma’s warning is a pointed challenge to CEOs and executive boards who have had at times seemed cavalier about the disruption created in the lives of ordinary workers as their labor is replaced by machines. By alerting CEOs to the fact that someday their job as CEO may also be lost to a robot CEO, it may bring all sides together to find creative solutions that offer better, richer lives to everyone.

Robotics offers great promise to humanity. Nevertheless, it is also disruptive. Jack Ma and others like him call upon the leaders of business to chart a path forward that benefits everyone—especially now that the idea of a robot CEO is not unlikely in the future.

Audi Driverless Car Hits New York

Audi, the iconic German luxury car brand, has a bold plan to test driverless vehicles in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Audi will be the first company to evaluate autonomous cars ever allowed in New York. The test will roll out initially in Albany in June.

It is a breakthrough because, in 1971, a law was passed preventing self-driving cars from being tested in the state.

Audi Q7 learns from both the driver and the road in every mile it travels.

However, the state legislature passed a new law this Spring, which gave companies one year to test autonomous cars on New York roads. The new law requires car companies to insure their vehicles for $5 million and pay for police escorts.

New York has been chosen for the test because it is a nationwide leader in innovative highway safety programs.

According to Albany Business Review, Audi is the first company to test self-driving vehicles in New York. It is also the first one to be approved under the year-long trial program.

Audi of America will test and demonstrate cars that have Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) Level 3 automation. Cars that are considered SAE are able to handle ‘automated driving at posted highway speeds when specific conditions are met.’

In the course of the testing, two engineers are going to be inside the car to monitor the system. One of the engineers will be in the front seat, while the other one will be in the back seat.

photograph of Audi logo on the outside of grey building
Audi is the first company to test self-driving vehicles in New York.

Scott Keogh, the President of Audi of America, says “we have been leading the way in the development of piloted driving technology for more than a decade now, and testing in real-world environments is a key step in our pursuit to safer roads.”

The New York State Police have already pre-approved Audi’s vehicle routing information for the Albany exhibit. Its application was also supported by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Audi and NVIDIA Team Up With Driverless Car

Tech Crunch says Audi is working with NVIDIA to bring a self-driving AI vehicle to the market by 2020. Both companies have been working together for 10 years now.

computer generation of a red four door Audi driverless car
Your car will soon more resemble your living room.

Alongside NVIDIA, the companies have developed for an Audi Q7 that utilizes neural networks and end-to-end deep learning on the platform of artificial intelligence in order to navigate a course.

Audi Q7 learns from both the driver and the road for every mile it travels. The vehicle can also handle situations like roadblocks, construction, and changes in weather.

Discussed in Automotive Fleet, the next generation Audi A8 is going to feature Traffic Jam Pilot. Audi A8 uses a central driver assistance controller that will provide drivers the option to turn over throttle, steering, and braking functionality to the vehicle at speeds of up to 35 mph.

Tesla, Ford, and GM are just some of the major car companies that are testing autonomous vehicles right now. They are investing more than $1 billion in self-driving cars. Big technology companies such as Google, Lyft, Apple, and Uber are also doing the same.

Audi envisions a safe vehicle for their customers with cutting edge technology. The innovation of cars is a growth market and Audi is doing its best to stay ahead of the curve.

‘Will Bigger Budget Window Improve The U.S Economy?’ Cartoon

republicans are pushing for a tax reform adjustment window from 10 years to 25 years
Will building a bigger budget window to 25 years have a positive benefit to businesses all across the country and economy in general?

Building a Bigger US Government Budget Window for Economic Growth

Donald Trump was sent to Washington for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was major tax reform—a relevant factor in the US government budget. He promised to reduce income tax across the board, abolish the death tax, and do a complete overhaul of the system in order to make taxes simpler and fairer.

Business particularly dislikes uncertainty.

One of the largest obstacles to implementing Trump’s tax reform through the budget reconciliation process is the arbitrary budget window put in place back in 1974. Reconciliation, often referred to as the Byrd Rule in honor of the late Senator Robert Byrd, was established by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. The premise of Reconciliation is that tax package must pay for themselves in the budget window period covered. The budget window must be passed to last at least 5 years.  And that the period of time the bill covers is known as the “budget window”. Officially, there is no requirement limiting the size of the said window.

At this time, many pundits and politicians claim that the 10-year Budget Window is some sort of a time-honored tradition dating from the founding of our country. Well, it’s not. The Budget Window has bounced around from 5 to 7 years for decades. The first year that we ever had a 10-year Budget Window was 2000. Before the 10-year period was over, it was changed to a 7-year period.

Grover Norquist, president of the Americans for Tax Reform, and David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth, recently published a compelling opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.  Their piece, “Tax Cuts that Last-With 51 Votes” makes the case that an increased budget window would greatly improve economic conditions and enable more certain and needed tax reform.  Bold Business endorses their position.

On the US Government Budget: Is the Budget Window Fun and Games to Congress?

These shenanigans might be all fun and games on Capitol Hill, but this kind of uncertainty has consequences in the real world. Primarily, it costs the country a great loss in economic growth. Businesses need to make long-term decisions, and that requires reliability. The private sector values certainty and long-term stability. If Congress can’t agree on lowering taxes, at the very least they should be able to agree how long a bill will be in effect for. 

a photo of Capitol Hill where the US Government Budget Window is set
Only 51 votes are needed to extend the budget window.

A 25-year timeline for tax proposals would make a larger impact on America’s debt ceiling. Given a particular set of circumstances, the business community can adapt and grow. But in chaos, with constantly changing rules, regulations, and taxes, it is almost impossible for a business to chart a course. Twenty-five years also allows changes to stick, rather than be changed immediately by the next presidency. Republicans have recently been very optimistic in their messaging concerning tax reform.  House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis stated at the 2017 Manufacturing Summit in Washington, D.C.: “Once in a generation or so, there is an opportunity to do something transformational—something that will have a truly lasting impact long after we are gone.” Expansion of the budget window would enable this possibility.

Indeed, long-term planning in both small and large businesses would be enhanced by increasing the Budget Window to 25 years. The increased predictability and stability would be a positive benefit to businesses all across the country.  Let’s hope the Republicans get out their tools and hammers and build the country an “expanded budget window”.