Granddaddy Bear
Cash Buyers
Change Agent
Nashville, Cancun, NYC, Memphis, and Palm Beach(?)

Business media is famous for propagating buzzwords and phrases, especially if they produce more clicks. The latest is Artificial Intelligence. It’s everywhere and is now a fixture in earnings calls, too. Every CEO is getting asked how AI will fit into or affect their company. It’s not quite as bad as every CEO trying to figure out how to make their company a “dot com” in 1998–1999, but almost.

AI is indeed important, just like the web was back then. This week, we had a reminder that the “Artificial” part may need more attention. AI-generated images of a large explosion at the Pentagon spread online and caused a brief stock market dip.

In fact, there was no explosion. But the images looked completely real. Did someone manipulate the market for profit? I don’t know, but new technologies always have unintended side effects. They succeed when the benefits outweigh the costs.

I talked about this with AI pioneer Stephen Wolfram at SIC, some of which I shared last week. Today, I’ll continue mining the SIC transcripts for more conference highlights. There was just so much meat this year, far more than I can share in these letters. Next week, we’ll wrap it up with what was, for me at least, a “light bulb” moment about the global economy’s future as we cover the final panel and sessions. (Note: emphasis is mine in all the quotes below.)

Granddaddy Bear

Swiss money manager Felix Zulauf is a crowd favorite at SIC. His 2022 presentation was right on target, so I asked him back to tell us what he expects for the rest of 2023 and beyond. Unfortunately, he thinks a slowdown is coming that will hit markets hard.