"It's about wisdom. It's about experience," said Ma, China's richest man and e-commerce mogul. "So I don't think the machine — the artificial intelligence — is gonna replace the wisdom."
The replacement of jobs with automation has become a hot topic in technology, as companies like Google brand themselves as AI-first. Goldman Sachs estimates occupations like truckers, secretaries, cashiers, bank tellers, waiters and real estate agents could be at high risk of automation in the near-term.
"It's going to be painful," Ma said from the Gateway '17 conference in Detroit. "Some people who catch the wave will be rich, will be more successful. For some people, it will be more painful. The government, you know, the world is going to be data. The people will now have more data than the bosses."
— Reporting by CNBC's David Faber. More from this interview will air Wednesday on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."