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Even shoes will be smarter than us soon, says SoftBank CEO

Commentary: In 30 years, artificial intelligence to overtake the human brain, says Masayoshi Son at Mobile World Congress.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Look, the smart shoes are coming.

Ethan Miller, Getty Images

How can we prepare our children for the world to come?

Technology is making rampant progress, as humanity lags behind. Perhaps it's time to just give up.

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son declared it would only take 30 more years for artificial intelligence to outstrip the human brain, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Robots, he said, would have 50 times the IQ of humans. This would surely be frightening and also make them unbearable dinner companions.

Son envisages a world where these superbrainy robots can fly and swim and there are literally billions of them.

You might find this a delectable prospect, one that fulfills all the dreams you had after watching sci-fi movies. For me, though, a quote from Son depressed me to my boots.

"One of the chips in our shoes will be smarter than our brain," he said. "We will be less than our shoes, and we will be stepping on them."

If they let us step on them, that is. The mere idea that currently inanimate objects will be far more "intelligent" than we are is painful.

After all, we fancy ourselves as being quite clever. Can it really be that our shoes will suddenly mutter: "Hey, dummy. Get off your phone, we're about to cross the road"? It surely can.

Of course, Son's not alone in his predictions. Google's director of engineering Ray Kurzweil promised humans would be robot hybrids by 2030. He also insisted that, once we have those fine chips in our brains, we'll be "godlike."

This leaves open the notion that the wealthiest among us will be able to afford the best chips. Ergo, they (and their shoes) will be the cleverest beings of all.

What a dull world it would be if those with the most money were also the smartest. The wealthy are often insufferable enough as it is.

Then again, how glorious it would be living in a world where the president could take more frequent golfing vacations.

After all, he could just leave his loafers in charge.