Buffett, besieged by cameras and microphones, in advance of the Annual Meeting of his investment firm REUTERS/Scott Morgan
In an interview as part of the Annual Meeting of Berkschire Hathaway, the investment firm he has led for decades, Warren Buffett, the world’s most admired investor and fifth richest person, said today that Artificial Intelligence (AI), through Despite all its capabilities, it is not very useful –at least for now- for making investment decisions.
The AI, Buffett said in an interview on the first day of what is already known as “Woodstock for Capitalists” and that this year brings together close to 40,000 people in Omaha, including shareholders, curious and interested, that AI can help monitor some companies and actions “within certain parameters”, but beyond that “it has limitations”.
“It’s strange,” he told NBC, “but the AI can’t tell you which stocks to buy. It can identify me every action that satisfies certain criteria, or tell me some criteria in three seconds. But it definitely has limitations. They have to do with the jokes (bad or nonsense) with which he came out – he said – when referring to his experience when Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and another of the richest men in the world, showed him how Chat GPT worked and played for a while with the platform.
“It is very interesting; He can translate the Constitution into Spanish in a second, but he can’t tell jokes. I asked him to tell a joke about Warren and Crypto (Buffett is a staunch critic of cryptocurrency). He’s read all the books and seen everything on TV, but he couldn’t do it. I said to Bill, bring her back to me when he can ask her ‘how are you going to get rid of the human race?’ I want to know what she responds to, and unplug her before she does.” she explained herself.
Buffett with Bill Gates, who approached the “Woodstock for Capitalists” REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File
The worldwide interest aroused by Woodstock for Capitalists, in which Buffett (92 years old), executive director of Berkshire, and his friend and vice president Charlie Munger (98) are the central stars, reaches the point that CNBC, a finance and economy, broadcasts the edition also in Mandarin Chinese.
Berkshire is going through one of its best moments, with first-quarter results showing a sharp jump in profits and its share price nearing an all-time high. That is why there are great expectations about what it can say about the future, in a context of high interest rates. In fact, in the first quarter of the year, CNBC reported, Berkshere was a net seller of shares; that is, he got rid of them more than he bought, and by a wide margin: USD 13.2 billion against USD 2.8 billion.
“We have our own King Charles,” Buffett said when introducing Munger, in a clear allusion to the Coronation ceremony of King Charles of England, which did not take away attendees or attraction to his Woodstock for Capitalists, which last year resumed face-to-face mode, after three years of interruption due to the pandemic.
The expectation surrounding Buffett’s comments is growing in the current climate of concern about bankruptcies and weaknesses in the US banking system, which began with the bankruptcy of Silicon Valley Bank, a crisis that shows no clear signs of ending. In this regard, John Rogers, Chairman and Co-CEO of Ariel Investments, an investment firm, said that a Buffett “deal” involving the banking sector would bring “confidence” to the entire sector and to the American financial system. “He is so revered around the world and I know the Biden administration has been talking to him and other leaders have been talking to him as well. You can bet he is the first call option for many Wall Street banking giants to make sure they get the best advice,” Rogers said.
Among the attractions this year, the Assembly included the remote participation of actress Jamie Lee Curtis. Buffett asked him to convince Munger to buy shares “of what they call the internet.” Curtis, who among dozens of films shone in “True Lies” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, where he showed an incredible figure, played the seductive woman game and referred to Munger as “Charlie Hunger” (Carlitos Hunger) and Buffett himself as ” Warren, all you can eat Buffett.”
Jamie Lee Curtis in “True Lies.” The actress participated remotely in the “Woodstock for Capitalists” and made jokes with Buffett (92) and his partner Charlie Munger (98)
This year’s Assembly is the 59th for Berkshire Hathawary, an old textile firm that a very young Buffett bought part of, turned profitable, won a majority, and made his investment firm. The first shareholders’ meeting was held in 1973 in the employee cafeteria of the National Indemnity Company, one of Berkshire’s subsidiaries, and was attended by just over twenty people, in Omaha, Nebraska, the same place where they are still held. Buffett’s best-known nickname is precisely “the Oracle of Omaha.”
According to estimates from the Visible Alpha firm, Berkshire’s total revenues in the first quarter are around USD 83.8 billion, 22% more than a year ago, with net profits of USD 8.32 billion, 52% above the results of the last quarter of 2022. .
Despite his age, Buffett is admired by young people who are taking their first steps in the world of business and finance. In one of those talks, at the University of Georgia, he told the anecdote about a young student who pretended to have a perfect CV before starting to work on something he really liked. The observation of the “Oracle of Omaha” was that this was like saving sex for when you are old. And he also advised young people that one of the keys to success is to cultivate good habits. Habits, he told them, “are too light to feel until they are too heavy to break” and in the long run they are what make the difference; for worse, if they are bad, and for better, if they are good.
Buffett has been very remiss to investment trends. Just as he resisted the dot-com rush at the time, he was also skeptical of the “tech” rush during the pandemic and decidedly critical of cryptocurrencies. One of his pieces of advice is that if you’re more or less sure that a company will still be around 20 years from now, then it’s a good idea to buy some shares in it. In addition, he has credited the fame of contrarian of him with phrases like “One has to be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”