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Warren Buffett strikes a gloomy note over AI at his company’s annual confab
By Xin Zhou, Ben Armour  |  May 09, 2024
Warren Buffett strikes a gloomy note over AI at his company’s annual confab
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Warren Buffett, the éminence grise of investment, took the occasion of his company shareholders’ meeting to air his views on AI - part upbeat and part desponding. Though concededly no AI maven, Buffet’s remarks made waves nonetheless as he voiced his hopes and fears for the tech.

HONG KONG/LONDON - Each year, Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders’ meeting draws all eyes as hordes of awed devotees wait with bated breath to hear from Warren Buffett, the ‘Oracle of Omaha,’ for his insights and new guidance for the coming year. Buffett does not usually recommend specific stocks, but his expectations for general development and some of his philosophies often become goals that many of his acolytes pursue.

This year, the spotlight was on artificial intelligence (AI) as Buffett weighed in on the subject with uncharacteristic incendiarism. He directly compared the technology to that other Earth-shattering World War 2 outgrowth, the atomic bomb, which naturally fueled his remarks’ explosive dissemination. Whether Buffett’s understanding of AI is accurate or one-sided is a matter of perspective and opinion, but everyone has the right to express his/her own views.

Yet considering Buffett’s past obsession with tech stocks and the opportunities he missed - Apple, Amazon, and Google parent Alphabet among them - as he lamented at Berkshire Hathaway’s 2017 shareholders’ meeting, per The Economic Times - one might be inclined to take his grasp of AI with a grain of salt. This stands in stark contrast to his friend, Bill Gates, whose authority in the field is unassailable. It is in any case reasonable for the 93-year-old doyen Buffett to form a biased conception of such new-fangled contrivances, given his venerable vintage, but this should not undercut the validity of his doubts.

His anxiety about AI thus likely stems from a lack of a true understanding. Technological development is swift and ever-changing, and if one clings to outdated modes of thinking, many novelties will indeed seem incomprehensible. Yet the transformative impact of technological advances on humanity is real. Buffett’s monetary savviness has indeed wrought wonders in the investment field, but innovation is the force that works miracles in the

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