Warren Buffett compares AI to the creation of the atomic bomb


Posts: 8,809   +110
Staff member
A hot potato: For all that we hear about the wonders of modern AI, there are plenty of people wary of the technology's dangers. The latest skeptic is the fifth richest person in the world, Warren Buffett, who has just compared AI to the creation of the atomic bomb.

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Buffett and company vice chairman Charlie Munger were asked about AI during questions at the company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, over the weekend.

Munger was asked if he believed AI would have a positive impact on stocks, the market, and society as a whole.

"Well, if you went into BYD's factories in China, you would see robotics going at an unbelievable rate. So, we're going to see a lot more robotics in the world. I am personally skeptical of some of the hype that is going into artificial intelligence," Munger replied. "I think old-fashioned intelligence works pretty well."

Buffett admitted that AI can do remarkable things. He said his friend Bill Gates had shown him the latest version of ChatGPT, though its ability to make him laugh was less than impressive. "[...] it couldn't tell jokes. Well, Bill told me that ahead of time, prepared me, and it just isn't there," Buffett said.

The billionaire also sang AI's praises for being able to check all legal opinions and "all kinds of things," but warned that "when something can do all kinds of things, I get a little bit worried."

Buffett then started to sound a bit like Elon Musk, one of the co-founders of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, who once called AI humanity's biggest existential threat and more dangerous than North Korea.

"We did invent for very, very good reason, the atom bomb," Buffett said. "And, World War Two, 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, who has on multiple occasions said nuclear war is his biggest fear and that the thought of it keeps him up at night, pushed the comparison between AI and nuclear weapons by paraphrasing a quote Albert Einstein said after splitting the atom. Einstein said, "The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe."

Buffett's version went, "With AI, it can change everything in the world, except how men think and behave, and that's a big step to take."

While the use of AI to generate images and other content is proving controversial, as we saw with System Shock and Amnesty International, some say it could bring much bigger problems. Geoffrey Hinton, known as the Godfather of AI, left Google last week with a warning that as companies take advantage of more powerful AI, the systems are becoming increasingly dangerous.

While they certainly aren't alone in their concerns about artificial intelligence, Buffett and Munger aren't the biggest fans of technology in general. Both have talked about their dislike of crypto in the past; Munger compared it to a venereal disease, while Buffett said he wouldn't pay $25 for all the Bitcoin in the world.

Permalink to story.



Posts: 3,329   +4,542
TechSpot Elite
Lol, as I've said before, until we get a quantum leap in processing technology, AI won't be doing anything all that scary that it hasn't already been doing before.

Processing organic data (especially in a wide scope) is not very feasible at the moment. And stuff like LLMs take a ridiculous amount of resources to do half right.


Posts: 613   +1,109
Buffet uses a flip phone and has his admin print his emails. Not exactly the best person to weigh in on cutting edge technology.

I know it’s hard to remember but: wealth and/or fame does NOT equal wisdom or expertise in all areas.


Posts: 1,341   +1,382
He's rich enough to pay the "Resistance" to protect him, in case "Skynet" actually becomes a reality.


Posts: 65   +6
I worry far more about influential rich people than I do about the possibilities of an AI, and this article is a perfect example. Comparing AI to the atomic bomb is and incredibly flawed analogy. Yes, there was a reason we built the atomic bomb, to blow things up. That's what a bomb is for. That's the only thing that a bomb is for, to have the ability to blow things up.

AI has an incredibly wide scope, and it can do all sorts of things. But it is a tool, not a weapon. Now, it could be used in some ways as a weapon, but that doesn't mean it was developed as one, or even that it's main use would be as a weapon. Now, it is a very powerful tool. But it isn't the tool that scares me... what scares me is that men see power as a weapon, and wield it as such.

Skynet isn't the danger. Skynet learning how to behave from the men who are in power... that's where the real danger lies.


Posts: 8   +1
Can't wait for the real Skynet to emerge, then we go to war with the robots. Hell yeah!


Posts: 765   +509
He's still alive?? Why did I think he went visiting his "hunting grounds" last year? NVM...