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Warren Buffett Warns A.I. Breakthroughs Are Like Atomic Bombs in WWII

At Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting on May 6, the 92-year-old investor said Bill Gates recently showed him some of the latest artificial intelligence efforts in the tech industry. He was as much impressed as concerned.

“It can do remarkable things, like checking all the legal opinions since the beginning of time,” Buffett said. “And 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 and Gates are cofounders of the Giving Pledge, an initiative encouraging the world’s wealthiest individuals to donate the majority of their fortune to charitable causes. Gates’s Microsoft has been building A.I. applications using large language models developed by OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT in which Microsoft is a key investor.

“We did invent, for very, very good reason, the atom bomb in World War II,” Buffett said. “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 is a vocal opponent of nuclear weapons. He has called the possibility of a nuclear war “the ultimate problem of mankind” and repeatedly urged governments to minimize the risk of devastating nuclear attacks. In an interview with CNBC in April, Buffett said the prospect of a nuclear war or another pandemic kept him up at night more than the future of Berkshire Hathaway.

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