Masayoshi Son can’t stop talking about how artificial intelligence (AI) is going to change the world. Now SoftBank Group Corp will finally have a board member who is an expert on the subject. SoftBank named a new director: Yutaka Matsuo, a professor at the University of Tokyo who focuses on social network mining, natural language processing and AI.
SoftBank also said former Goldman Sachs banker Mark Schwartz will resign from the board, subject to shareholder approval at the general meeting on June 19.
SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund has made large bets on industries ranging from ride-hailing and autonomous driving to vertical farms and co-working spaces. Son says that what unifies the disparate investments is the way these companies use AI, which he believes will redefine every industry and create many new ones. Yet until now, there were no people in Son’s inner circle that had an intimate understanding of the technology.
Matsuo, 44, received a master’s degree in electrical engineering and a doctorate in information and communication engineering from University of Tokyo. He’s the president of Japan Deep Learning Association and also serves as a technical adviser to Tokyo-based startups Pksha Technology and Abeja.