Billionaire Cartier Owner Sees Wealth Gap, Artificial Intelligence Fueling Social Unrest

Bloomber | June 8, 2015

By Thomas Mulier and Andrew Roberts

Johann Rupert, the South African who has made billions peddling Cartier jewelry and Chloe fashion, said tension between the rich and poor is set to escalate as robots and artificial intelligence fuel mass unemployment.

“We cannot have 0.1 percent of 0.1 percent taking all the spoils,” said Rupert, who has a fortune worth $7.5 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “It’s unfair and it is not sustainable.”

The founder and chairman of Richemont, whose 20 brands also include Vacheron Constantin and Montblanc, said he expects advances in technology to lead to job losses after having read books on the subject recently. Conflicts between social classes will make selling luxury goods more tricky as the rich will want to conceal their wealth, Rupert said in a speech Monday at the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit in Monaco.

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