Ma said the emerging opportunities — and risks — from artificial intelligence and globalization are two of the topics that keep him on the road.
"This is why I'm traveling, talking to all the government and state leaders and telling them move fast. If they do not move fast, there's going to be trouble," Ma said. "So when we see something is coming, we have to prepare now. My belief is that you have to repair the roof while it is still functioning."
There could be benefits from artificial intelligence, Ma said, as people are freed to work less and travel more.
"I think in the next 30 years, people only work four hours a day and maybe four days a week," Ma said. "My grandfather worked 16 hours a day in the farmland and [thought he was] very busy. We work eight hours, five days a week and think we are very busy."
He added that if people today are able to visit 30 places, in three decades it will be 300 places.
Still, Ma said the rich and poor — the workers and the bosses — will be increasingly defined by data and automation unless governments show more willingness to make "hard choices."
"The first technology revolution caused World War I," he said. "The second technology revolution caused World War II. This is the third technology revolution."
With machine learning and artificial intelligence eliminating jobs, "the third technology revolution may cause the Third World War," he said.
Ma, a teacher by training, also said world leaders should pay attention to the education system to avoid the pain that could come with automation.
"I don't think we should make machines like humans," Ma said. "We should make sure the machine can do things that human beings cannot do."
Ma said machines will never get the wisdom and experience that comes with being human.
"Humans will win," he said.
— Reporting by CNBC's David Faber