Warren Buffett Makes Cataclysmic Prediction On AI

Warren Buffett rarely pulls a punch when he answers questions during Berkshire Hathaway’s annual investors’ meeting. For about six hours, split between two sessions, the Oracle of Omaha sits onstage with his right-hand man Charlie Munger, and sometimes other Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) – Get Free Report executives, taking questions from people in the packed arena where the event is hosted and from remote shareholders.

It’s a unique way of conducting this type of session because it’s not analysts or even journalists asking the questions but shareholders. That’s because Buffett believes that the shareholders who own the company should have access to information at the same time it becomes available to professionals.

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The setup also leads to questions that would perhaps never be asked by financial analysts. For many CEOs, that would lead to a lot of “no comments” or non-answers, but in Buffett’s case, he answers every question or passes it to another Berkshire executive who answers as best as they can. 

At this year’s annual Berkshire meeting, Buffett once again took the stage flanked by the 99-year-old Munger. And, despite being 92 himself, Buffett adroitly answered every question that was thrown his way.

Warren Buffett has some real feara about AI.

Image source: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Buffett Shares His Thoughts On AI

“There won’t be anything in AI that replaces Ajit,” Buffett said, referring to Ajit Jain who runs Berkshire’s insurance businesses. “It can do amazing things.”

Buffett explained that Bill Gates had shown him some of the latest (presumably Microsoft  (MSFT) – Get Free Report) artificial intelligence efforts.

“It can do remarkable things, but it couldn’t tell jokes,” he said. “…but, you know, things like checking all the legal opinions since the beginning of time…it can do all kinds of things.”

That, he explained leads to his fears about the technology.

“And, when something can do all kinds of things, I get a little bit worried,” Buffett shared. “Because I know we won’t be able to uninvent it.”

Buffett Warns On the Unintended Dangers of AI       

The CEO noted that good intentions do not prevent future disasters.

“You know we did invent, for a very, very good reason, the atom bomb in World War II,” Buffett explained. “It was enormously important that we did so, but is it good for the next 200 years?”

And while Buffett supports that the atom bomb had to be invented, he’s very aware of the unintended consequences of those actions.

“Einstein said,” of the atom bomb, “this will change eveything in the world except how men think and I say the same thing…with AI it can change everything in the world, except how men think and behave. That’s a big step to take.”

Munger was more relaxed in his short comment on AI.  

“Personally, I am skeptical of some of the hype that’s going into artificial intelligence. I think old-fashioned intelligence works pretty well,” he said.

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