Davos 2024: Dissecting Drama From Dull
Read the key snippets ranging from Jamie Dimon on Bitcoin to Sam Altman on AI.
From Bloomberg to CNBC, you probably noted interviews being conducted in Canada Goose jackets with snow in the background this week. Such is the occasion when the World Economic Forum (WEF) hits Davos every January.
Given the amount of comments and thoughts from business and political leaders, we thought it worthwhile to collate this and share some of the most interesting points we heard.
What is Davos?
The WEF in Davos stands as an annual gathering that brings together influential leaders from various sectors, including politics, business, academia, and civil society, to engage in discussions about pressing global issues.
Held in the picturesque town of Davos, Switzerland, the forum serves as a platform for these leaders to deliberate on challenges ranging from economic inequality and climate change to technological advancements and geopolitical tensions.
The WEF aims to foster dialogue and collaboration among diverse stakeholders, promoting the idea that addressing complex global issues requires a collective approach. Beyond its formal agenda, the Davos meetings provide an invaluable opportunity for networking and forging partnerships. While the forum has faced criticism for elitism, its influence on shaping global agendas and policies cannot be denied, making it a key event in the international calendar.
Jamie Dimon On Bitcoin
Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan, was questioned by Squawk Box about the role of crypto going forward.
“This is the last time I ever talk about this (Crypto) on CNBC okay…so help me God.”
“The blockchain is real; it's a technology, we use it and it's going to move money, it's going to move data… it's efficient.”
"There are cryptocurrencies that do something, that might have value. And then there's one that does nothing, I call it pet rock. The Bitcoin or something like that."
“I’m not trying to make a joke here, there are use cases (for Bitcoin). These are fraud, anti-money laundering, tax avoidance, sex trafficking. These are real use cases and you see it being used for maybe $50-100bn dollars a year.”
Sam Altman On AI
Altman, the CEO of OpenAI and arguably one of the most important players in the world right now when it comes to AI more generally, sat down to talk about where things go from here.
“The world had like a two-week freakout with GPT-4, right? ‘This changes everything, AI is coming tomorrow, there are no jobs by the end of the year’. Now people are like, ‘Why is it so slow?’ And I love that!”
“The fact that so many people are able to use it (OpenAI) for productivity in their workflow, that’s the power. I know it’s not as satisfying as saying here’s each thing AI will do, but it’s really that it becomes a companion for knowledge work.”
“Nation states are absolutely going to have a say on what is the regulation that controls any technology development and most importantly, what is ready for deployment or not.”
“There’s no one big magic red button we have that blows up the data centre. Which I think some people sort of assume exists! It’s not this binary go/stop decision when it comes to AI progression. It is the many little decisions along the way about ‘allowing this, don’t allow this’ and how to predict what the risks of the future are going to be.”
Javier Milei On Politics
Milei, the new (and controversial) President of Argentina, was also in Davos with other key political figures. His speech certainly caught the attention of everyone…
“Do not be intimidated either by the political cast or by parasites who live off the state. Do not surrender to a political class that only wants to stain power and retain its privileges.”
“The state is not the solution, the state is the problem itself. You are the true protagonists of this story.”
“The case of Argentina is an empirical demonstration that no matter how rich you may be, or how much you may have in terms of natural resource . . . if measures are adopted that hinder the free function of markets . . . the only possible fate is poverty.”
“I am here to tell you that the Western world is in danger because those who are supposed to defend the values of the West have been co-opted by a vision of the world that inexorably leads to socialism and, therefore, to poverty.”
Microsoft CEO Nadella On Tech
Big tech CEO’s were seen throughout the week at Davos, with the Microsoft top brass sitting down with Bloomberg to chat.
Remember that two weeks ago, the market capitalisation of Microsoft surpassed Apple, with Microsoft becoming the most valuable public company in the world.
“Microsoft is only as good as our ability to execute our mission because, in some sense, there's no God-given right for companies to even exist forever. Right? They have to serve a social purpose. And our mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.”
“The last thing you want to do is to fixate on the stock price, which we know means nothing in terms of what happens tomorrow, especially in our industry, which really has no franchise value, quite frankly.”
“In terms of it (OpenAI) being a capped profit, nonprofit, what have you, I'm comfortable. I have no issues with any structure. What we just want is good stability. And as I said, I'm not even interested in a board seat. We just want to have a good commercial partnership, and we want to be investors in the entity in even the way they're structured.”
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