Will AI Become a Boon or Bane? - Warren Buffett Weighs In

Warren Buffet warns of AI's potential to supercharge scams and societal change, echoing concerns from other experts.
Will AI Become a Boon or Bane? - Warren Buffett Weighs In

Key Insights

  • In last week's annual Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, Warren Buffet warned of AI's tendency to supercharge scams.

  • Buffet's personal experience with a convincing AI-generated video highlights his points.

  • Buffett also touched on the potential for AI to change society, even comparing it to Nukes

  • Buffett's warnings echo the concerns of other experts, including Steve Wozniak, Stephen Hawking and even Elon Musk about the dangers of AI.

  • Despite his concerns, Buffet also acknowledges his lack of expertise and the overall importance of AI.

Last week in Omaha, Nebraska, Berkshire Hathaway had its annual shareholder meeting.

During this meeting, the company’s chairman, Warren Buffet sat with several other business moguls and discussed everything from business to Charlie Munger’s legacy, to the company’s growth.

However, right in the middle of these discussions, the issue of AI came into view, with Buffet explaining what he thinks of this new and rapidly expanding tech field.

Buffet, to start with, thinks AI is a good thing for the world.

However, he also recognizes the dangers and states that AI is set to "supercharge" scams, and could just be as dangerous for the world as nuclear bombs.

Buffett’s Encounter With His Digital Twin

The issue of AI-generated deepfakes is no new issue.

Very recently, the 93-year-old Billionaire came face to face with an AI-generated video of him that was so convincing that it "dressed, moved and spoke" like him with uncanny precision.

As recounted by Buffet:

“I had one experience that does make me a little nervous, and I’ll just explain it.

Fairly recently, I saw an image in front of my eyes on the screen, and it was me and it was my voice. And wearing the kind of clothes I wear.

My wife or my daughter wouldn’t have been able to detect any difference. And it was delivering a message that no way came from me.”

This experience served as the catalyst for what Buffet had to say about AI next.

He described it as one of the biggest—yet one of the most destructive technologies ever created by mankind.

AI Could Be an Atomic Bomb

Going further in his address, Buffet didn't hold back when he described the destructive potential of AI to the creation of the nuclear bomb during the Second World War in 1945.

Just as the nuclear bomb held the power to start and end humanity, AI, according to the Berkshire Hathaway chairman, has the power to change human society for the better or for worse.

Buffet also says that AI can “supercharge” scams, where issues like transparency and trust were already pending issues to begin with.

Echoing his stance on AI from 2023, Buffet says

“Last year I said that we let a genie out of the bottle when we, when we developed nuclear weapons, and that Genie has been doing some terrible things lately.

And the power of that genie is what, you know, scares the hell out of me.

And then I don’t know any way to get the genie back in the bottle. And AI is somewhat similar.”

Buffet also acknowledged that he doesn’t know as much about AI as he would like to. He admits that he is not an expert, and doesn’t deny the importance of AI.

This is similar to the outlooks of several other industry leaders who are both awed and worried about the powers of AI and its rapid growth, including Stephen Hawking before his death, Demis Hassabis, Geoffery Hinton and even Sam Altman and Elon Musk.

Overall, Warren Buffet’s warnings come as a reminder about the responsibilities that come with developing and even using AI.

As this tech field continues to grow, this most recent warning emphasizes caution, responsibility, regulation and even humility.

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