- Warren Buffett compared AI to the creation of the atom bomb at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting.
- Buffett has long spoken about his fears around nuclear war keeping him up at night.
- The legendary investor said AI can “change everything in the world except how men think and behave.”
Warren Buffett compared artificial intelligence to the creation of the atom bomb, becoming the latest high-profile business figure to express alarm about the rapid advancement of the technology.
Speaking at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting, Buffett was both skeptical of AI’s capacity to replace humans and cognizant of how much the technology can already do.
Though stating that the tech currently had limits, like not being able to tell convincing jokes, he said: “It can do all kinds of things. And when something can do all kinds of things, I get a little bit worried.”
“We did invent for very, very good reason, the atom bomb. 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 paraphrased a quote from Albert Einstein after the splitting of the atom, which led to the creation of the atomic bomb. Einstein indicated the bomb had “changed everything save our modes of thinking.”
“With AI, it can change everything in the world, except how men think and behave, and that’s a big step to take,” Buffett concluded.
Buffett has long been a vocal opponent of nuclear weapons, reinforcing the weight of its comparison with AI. He has made several comments about its dangers spanning decades, saying he would give all his money to reducing the probability of attacks if he knew how.
In an April interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, the “Sage of Omaha” said the prospect of another pandemic or nuclear war kept him up at night, rather than the success of Berkshire Hathaway.
Buffett’s comments follow the resignation of the so-called “Godfather of AI” from Google last week. Geoffrey Hinton told the New York Times about his worried that it was too late to reign in the technology’s excesses.
In an interview with Reuters, Hinton said AI’s threat to the world could be more urgent than climate change.
Read Insider’s coverage of Berkshire Hathaway’s annual conference here.