"But is it good for the next 200 years of the world that the ability to do so has been unleashed?"
One of the world's foremost financiers is sounding the alarm on artificial intelligence — even comparing it to the invention of the atomic bomb.
During Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting over the weekend, CEO Warren Buffett paraphrased Albert Einstein's famous quote about the atomic bomb when saying that "with AI, it can change everything in the world, except how men think and behave, and that's a big step to take."
"We did invent for very, very good reason, the atom bomb," said Buffett, who has long been fearful of nuclear war. "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?"
The titan of industry was full of quips during the meeting that's nicknamed the "Woodstock for Capitalists," including his reassurance, in response to a shareholder question, that "there won't be anything in AI that replaces" Ajit Jain, Berkshire Hathaway's insurance czar.
"It can do remarkable things," the 92-year-old oracle of Omaha said, "but it couldn't tell jokes."
All the same, Buffett said that he's nonetheless concerned about the seemingly endless things AI can or could soon be able to do.
"It can do all kinds of things," he said. "And when something can do all kinds of things, I get a little bit worried."
Buffett's righthand man Charlie Munger also had some of his own comments about AI during the meeting.
"I am personally skeptical of some of the hype that has gone into artificial intelligence," Berkshire Hathaway's 99-year-old vice chairman said. "I think old-fashioned intelligence works pretty well."
With AI being perhaps the hottest tech topic since the dot-com boom, more and more influential people are going to make their feelings about it known — though until they put their money where their mouths are, it will just be more waxing prolific.
More on billionaire AI opinions: Bill Gates Says AI Will Be Teaching Kids to Read in 18 Months