Kevin Ho, president of Huawei's handset business, is clearly a man of fine judgment, having recently started following me on Twitter. He also appears to be a part-time futurist, as evidenced by his discussion of cyborg immortality and the robot apocalypse in a keynote speech at CES Asia.
In remarks reported by Bloomberg, Ho sketches out a future where we'll be able to download our consciousness into a computer, allowing children to use apps like WeChat to communicate with their (physically) dead grandparents. All of that, says the delightfully untroubled Ho, will require lots of data storage, which Huawei sees as a business opportunity. Forget Google trying to store everything about you, Huawei's preparing to store you on its servers.
I love these comments because they fly in the face of all the hand-wringing that Western tech companies feel compelled to do when discussing transhumanism or any other long-term future interaction between humans and machines.
Unabashed techno optimism
Ho is one of those unabashed techno optimists that believes "hunger, poverty, disease, or even death may not be a problem by 2035," though he does also address the threat posed by increasingly capable AI. To prevent any scenario where AI might launch an attack on humanity, Ho believes "we need authentication, better tech protection and remote defense," and Huawei is "developing all of these now."
If you're feeling inclined to wonder whether Mr. Ho has been watching a few too many dystopian sci-fi flicks, the answer is that he does indeed take inspiration from movies like The Matrix. Science fiction is apparently the well that Huawei draws on when looking for future trends and new business ideas. So rest assured that whatever dystopia does befall us, there'll be Huawei products and services ready to capitalize on it.