At the annual meeting of his company Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, expressed grave concern over how much artificial intelligence has risen recently, and compared it to the advancement of technology that led to the atom bomb being created.
Speaking alongside his long-time partner Charlie Munger at the company’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday, Buffett discussed not just AI but their outlook on technology in general.
As part of the discussion, Buffett said his friend Bill Gates – one of Microsoft’s founders – gave him a lesson on the new ChatGPT AI technology. While the investor said he was definitely impressed by the vast capabilities of the AI system, he also said he was fearful about how rapidly evolving these programs were.
As he explained:
“When something can do all kinds of things, I get a little bit worried. Because I know we won’t be able to un-invent it and, you know, we did invest, for very, very good reason, the atom bomb in World War II.
“It was enormously important that we did so. But, is it good for the next 200 years of the world that the ability to do so has been unleashed?”
Buffett further admitted that he believes that AI would eventually change “everything in the world, except how men think and behave. And that’s a big step to take.”
Buffett, who is 92 years old, wasn’t the only one to express concerns over it, either. Munger, who himself is 99 years and serves as Berkshire Hathaway’s vice chairman, also expressed reluctance of his own over AI. He said:
“I am personally skeptical of some of the hype that is going into artificial intelligence. I think old-fashioned intelligence works pretty well.”
Some might be quick to respond to these comments and say that it’s just two old men stuck in the past who are afraid of new technology, but that’s not the case. Not only are Buffett and Munger very much up on the times – as they continue to be extremely successful investors in many sectors – but other much younger and “tech-forward” people have shared their concerns.
Elon Musk – the owner of Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter – led a group of people who recently urged that the tech industry should put a pause on training advanced AI models for six months. They said that the systems could eventually pose “profound risks to society and humanity.”
There were more than 1,000 experts who signed the open letter that Musk penned through the Future of Life Institute, a non-profit institution funded primarily through the Musk Foundation.
Musk’s letter says the industry should pause development of advanced AI models until the proper protocols for safety have been developed and then vetted by independent experts.
The letter detailed potential risks that could arise, including the spread of “propaganda and untruth,” the development of “non-human minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us,” and the risk of “loss of control of our civilization.”