Charlie Munger is skeptical of AI: 'Old-fashioned intelligence works pretty well'
Billionaire investors Warren Buffett, 92, and Charlie Munger, 99, aren't hopping onto the artificial intelligence (AI) hype train.
During this year's annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting, the two top executives expressed doubt when asked about how robotics and AI development will impact the stock market and society as a whole.
"I'm personally skeptical of some of the hype that has gone into artificial intelligence," Munger said. "I think old-fashioned intelligence works pretty well."
Buffett said Bill Gates, Microsoft cofounder and his close friend, helped him try out AI chatbot ChatGPT. Although the technology does "remarkable things," he still has concerns.
"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," Buffett said.
One of Buffett's worries: We may not yet be aware of the unforeseen consequences of unleashing this new technology into the society. He used the creation of the atom bomb as an example: The weapon was invented with a specific purpose in mind during World War II, but there are questions about whether it has been necessarily "good for the next 200 years of the world."
Buffett has previously questioned whether AI technology like ChatGPT is beneficial to society, but also said the technology is outside of his area of expertise.
Munger has previously regarded artificial intelligence as a "mixed blessing." Although AI is important, there's also "a lot of crazy hype" around it, and the tech won't be able "to do everything that we want," he told CNBC in February.
"Artificial intelligence is not going to cure cancer," he added.
Buffett and Munger aren't the only ones with concerns about AI's rapid development.
In March, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and thousands of others signed an open letter from the Future of Life Institute urging AI labs to immediately pause training on AI systems more powerful than ChatGPT-4, OpenAI's latest chatbot, for at least six months.
"Contemporary AI systems are now becoming human-competitive at general tasks, and we must ask ourselves: Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth?" the letter read.
Additionally, the letter said AI labs and independent experts should use the pause to develop and implement safety protocols for "advanced AI design."
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, said he doesn't believe the letter was "the optimal way" to address safety concerns about AI during an event held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
However, Altman agreed that "moving with caution and an increasing rigor for safety issues is really important."
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