The billionaire quips on the new race for artificial intelligence (AI), which very quickly replaced the crypto craze.
Two years ago, cryptomania was taking off.
Investors threw themselves into cryptocurrencies without thinking.
Crypto was the new shiny thing. It was the sector where you had to be. It was trendy. The prices of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) soared to record levels. On November 10, 2021, BTC, the most popular cryptocurrency, reached $69,044.77, an all-time high. The bitcoin evangelists launched into the craziest predictions. Some saw the king of cryptocurrencies exceed $100,000 per unit in the following months.
The cryptocurrency market value rose to $3 trillion. The whole cryptocurrency industry was in a frenzy. Investors everywhere were celebrating blockchain, the technology that powers cryptocurrencies and their derivatives. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), metaverse and web3, the new iteration of the internet, were the new thing.
The Crypto Craze
Each company built its metaverse and offered NFTs. Prices were skyrocketing. It was madness. Corporate earnings calls were a contest as to which executives would utter the words crypto, NFT, metaverse and web3 the most. Conversations in tech circles revolved around crypto, which also manifested in the brain drain of talent from traditional tech to this industry.
Investors who dared to criticize crypto were mocked by its evangelists. Last April, billionaire Peter Thiel, a bitcoin fan, accused legendary investor Warren Buffett; Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase; and Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, who are bitcoin’s skeptics, that they were using investing practices focused on ESG (environment, social and governance) as a “hate factory” against bitcoin.
He labelled them a “finance gerontocracy” opposed to a “revolutionary youth movement.”
But the craze has died down. The prices of cryptocurrencies and NFTs have fallen. The BTC price is down 67.6% from its all-time high, according to data firm CoinGecko. Many retail investors have lost a large part of their investments.
Less than two years later, the crypto craze has been replaced by another technology: artificial intelligence (AI). It’s the new hit thing since the Nov. 30 launch of the ChatGPT chatbot, which gives human-like responses to queries and can converse with users. ChatGPT is just one of the uses of the AI breakthrough, say the big tech groups, which believe that this technology is a paradigm shift that will disrupt every industry.
The AI Frenzy
The immediate popular success of ChatGPT, which is developed by the startup OpenAI, caused a real race for AI between Big tech and startups. Artificial intelligence has become the new gold.
Microsoft (MSFT) – Get Free Report CEO Satya Nadella said last month that he has not seen an innovation and an excitement like AI “since I would say 2007-2008 when the cloud was just first coming up.”
The software giant has thus injected more than $10 billion into OpenAI and integrated ChatGPT features into a new version of its Bing search engine, in order to better compete with Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL) – Get Free Report. The success of ChatGPT has pushed Google to make mistakes: the internet giant launched Bard, its own chatbot competing with ChatGPT. Only problem, Bard was not ready, which subjected Google to strong criticism both externally and internally, where employees deplored the haste and panic of their leaders.
But Google isn’t the only company trying to throw itself on the AI bandwagon. From social media giant Meta Platforms (META) – Get Free Report to chip and graphics card maker Nvidia (NVDA) – Get Free Report, the fourth-quarter 2022 earnings calls, which kicked off in January, have turned into a competition of which company will say the words “Artificial Intelligence” the most. This is reminiscent of the crypto madness.
This has not escaped Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, owner of Twitter and founder of SpaceX. The billionaire supports AI, which has been in Tesla vehicles since the beginning, via standard driver assistance system Autopilot and its advanced feature Full self-Driving (FSD).
Musk has also promised for years that in Tesla factories, robots will perform the repetitive and tedious tasks, performed by humans today.
Tesla was also one of the few large companies to have invested in Bitcoin before the craze.
In essence, the techno king is associated with both technologies. He bet on both, even if AI is more the technology on which he has been putting resources for several years. The billionaire is amused to see that the same people or investors who swore by crypto a few months ago, quickly climbed into the AI wagon, rejecting crypto in passing.
“‘I used to be in crypto, but now I got interested in AI’,” the billionaire quipped on March 3 on Twitter.
The billionaire’s statement is in quotation marks, which suggests that he is repeating a phrase he has heard a lot in recent weeks. He therefore seems to be mocking these new converts and fans of the 11th hour.
The same sentence seems to somewhat dominate conversations in business circles, where everyone swears now by AI, sometimes forgetting the dangers of this innovation, on which Musk has been trying to draw attention to.
The tech mogul believes that AI must be regulated to avoid sci-fi scenarios in which machines escape human control.