IF YOU want to find a spectacular vision of the future, Silicon Valley is not the only place to look. In Tokyo Masayoshi Son, the boss of SoftBank, a Japanese telecoms group, is starting an investment fund worth $100bn which, he hopes, will make him the Warren Buffett of technology. “Masa” is no stranger to risky bets: SoftBank was an early investor in Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company, and has sunk $22bn in Sprint, a struggling American telecoms firm. Now he has been seized by the kind of Utopian fever that would make the Sage of Omaha choke on his Cherry Coke.

Mr Son, who is 59, believes that the world will soon encounter what is known as the Singularity, the point at which artificial intelligence exceeds the human kind. The brains of people and machines will become enmeshed (see article). Every person will have over 1,000 devices linked by a seamless global network, with the data analysed by machines in the cloud. As well as smart glasses, people will wear smart shoes and every car and washing machine will…Continue reading