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"AI is receiving more attention than it merits," claims the right-hand man of Warren Buffett

Artificial intelligence is Wall Street’s latest bandwagon with billions of dollars being poured into the sector this year. However, there’s one big-name investor who isn’t fully on board with the gold rush: Charlie Munger.

Ninety-nine-year-old Munger is vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway—the investment conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett. He has spent almost five decades as Buffett’s right-hand man, helping grow the firm into one of the world’s biggest companies.

During an appearance at Zoom’s Zoomtopia conference on Thursday, Munger was asked for his opinion on AI, which many investors see as the next big thing.

“I think it’s getting a huge amount of hype,” Munger said. “And I think it’s probably getting more than it deserves.”

He noted that artificial intelligence has actually existed for quite some time—its roots can be traced back to the 1950s.

“We’ve always had artificial intelligence, where software creates more software,” he said. “And, of course, that’s very useful, [but] we’ve had it for a long time.”

An AI skeptic

VIDEO: Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger are skeptical of A.I. hype #Shorts
CNBC Television

Munger admitted that breakthroughs in the AI space are “very important,” but has previously indicated that he’s something of a cynic when it comes to the technology.

“I’m personally skeptical of some of the hype that has gone into artificial intelligence,” he said at this year’s annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting. “I think old-fashioned intelligence works pretty well.”

He’s also gone against the grain when it comes to predictions that AI could bring major innovations that lead to some kind of utopia, where living to 100 becomes the norm and diseases like cancer are eradicated.

“There’s a lot of crazy hype on the subject,” he said when asked about the technology by CNBC in February. “Artificial intelligence is not going to cure cancer. It’s not going to do everything we want done, and there’s a lot of nonsense in it, too. So I regard it as a mixed blessing.”

Buffett, meanwhile, has labeled artificial intelligence—and generative AI chatbot phenomenon ChatGPT in particular—“something I don’t understand,” and questioned whether it will have a detrimental impact on society.

Buffett has, however, conceded that generative AI is “an incredible technological advance.”

Crypto is a ‘stupid investment’

VIDEO: Charlie Munger: A.I. is important, but there's a lot of 'crazy hype' on the subject #Shorts
CNBC Television

Munger was also asked at Zoom’s event on Thursday about his outlook for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

“Don’t get me started on Bitcoins—that was the stupidest investment I ever saw,” he told the audience on Thursday. “Most of those investments are going to zero.”

Munger has long been a vocal critic of crypto, once labeling Bitcoin “rat poison” and comparing other cryptocurrencies to a “venereal disease.”

“I wish they’d never been invented,” he said in 2021. “Believe me, the people who are getting into cryptocurrencies are not thinking about the customer, they’re thinking about themselves.”

It’s a view shared by Buffett, who has labeled Bitcoin a “gambling token,” and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who once said buying cryptocurrency is like “owning a pet rock.”

Crypto assets across the board are still reeling from 2022’s widespread selloff that became known as “Crypto Winter.”

Last year’s downturn saw more than $200 billion wiped off the market in a single day, with some experts predicting the phenomenon—which saw many crypto investors’ life savings wiped out overnight—could last through 2023 and possibly into 2024.

Meanwhile, 2022 also brought the spectacular implosion of crypto exchange FTX, leading to speculation late last year over whether the world was witnessing “the end of crypto,” with some heralding FTX’s collapse as the cryptocurrency market’s “Lehman moment.”

Bitcoin has recovered somewhat from last year’s lowest point, but at today’s price of just under $28,000, the digital token is still far from its all-time high of nearly $69,000.

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