Jack Ma and Elon Musk Face-off in Shanghai

Shangai had the honour of hosting the two greatest entrepreneurs of our times. In a Faceoff, Alibaba’s eCommerce giant Jack Ma met SpaceX’s rocket superstar Elon Musk.

He did not come to Shanghai on his rocket, nor on any of his Tesla cars but, the conversation had a great learning for everybody who wishes to become a budding entrepreneur or start an eCommerce business.

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In a relatively disoriented session, curtesy, language barrier as indigenous Chinese audience did not seem to apprehend Elon Musk’s jokes. The jokes were only laughed upon after he had to say “This was a joke“.

Jack on the other side of the small table, sitting adjacent to Musk was rather too self centered. He tried to crack a joke about “Already been to Mars“, thankfully, the audience did not understand that either, ironically, neither did Elon Musk.

Jack also shared his thoughts about China, the planet “Earth” in particular. He spoke about making the “Earth a better place for you and for me and the entire human being”.

No, this is a song of Michael Jackson and he did not come back to play that on the stage, but Jack is a philanthropist, has a heart for the earth and told Elon; I would rather focus on billions of people on Earth than to worry about life at Mars.

Clearly, Elon Musk’s message about “Mars” was outrightly misunderstood. He looked like a stranger in front of hundreds of thousands of people and must have wondered in his mind “Seriously Guys?“. At least, the body language reflected a slightly uncomfortable Elon Musk.

It took Musk a clear explanation as to why he wants to go to Mars, how he is pro-earth and how exploring Mars could benefit human beings. Sadly before exploring Mars, he discovered on the earth at this Shanghai’s conference, he was not understood.

It also felt like, there was no coordination of the agenda of this great chat. Random questions were asked by the audience, only after Jack Ma changed the topic periodically and asked people in the front row “What do you want to ask?“.

The topics ranged from highlighting and fearing artificial intelligence, moving to Mars, Jobs and yes, Elon also pointed out to the fact that there are no aliens in this universe.

If there were Aliens, trust me I would know. said Elon Musk with a smirk on his face.

Both icons refrained from talking about US-China trade war, the nucleus of cold 5G war between the two countries after Whitehouse stepped on the gas that escalated the tension after it banned Huawei for a limited time.

The conversation between two maestros was part of the opening events for the annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai.

The conversation started with Jack Ma praising Elon Musk’s work by saying:

“I’m always amazed by your vision of technology, I’m not a tech guy,” – Ma said in his first comment to Musk.

Perhaps Jack remembered Elon’s statement about AI as “it is as dangerous as Nukes“. He was quick is sharing his opinion about AI. He believes Chinese are street smart so therefore humans are still better than technology, advanced AI in particular.

“People like us that are street smart, we’re not scared of that.” said MA.

Jack has previously held onto the same lines regarding AI and its possible repercussions. He has repeatedly said that humans do not need to fear smart computers and advanced technology.

Jack, however, emphasizes a lot on changing the education system to stand up to the challenges the advanced technology may have to offer to the humans in the future.

You can watch full conversation and ideas of these two amazing gentlemen here:

P.S (Do not hate me, I am a die-hard fan of Jack’s struggling life story and I genuinely believe, Elon Musk is the best entrepreneur in the world. He is amazing. He is fearless and he has a great vision.)


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Written by Hisham Sarwar


That is all you ever need to know about me but let me warn you, freelancing for me is a journey, certainly not a destination :)