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**University of Virginia Investing Conference: Navigating Global Turmoil in the Age of Artificial Intelligence**

Escalating geopolitical tensions and the implications of the rapid rise of artificial intelligence …

The University of Virginia Investing Conference took place on November 3 at The Forum Hotel on the Darden School Grounds and was organized by the Richard A. Mayo Center for Asset Management. The conference delved into the growing political tensions and the consequences of the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence.

During the event, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Senator Chuck Hagel shared his candid insights on America’s engagement in global affairs, particularly focusing on key regions like Ukraine, China, and the Middle East. Hagel, along with Bill Antholis, the Director and CEO of the Miller Center for Public Affairs, highlighted how the U.S. became engrossed in violence following the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, diverting attention from crucial political interests. This diversion allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin to perceive a weakened U.S. and make bold moves like the invasion of Ukraine.

Hagel pointed out three critical miscalculations by Putin in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine: overestimating Russia’s military capabilities, underestimating the support from the U.S. and its allies, and disregarding Polish sentiments. He predicted that the conflict might conclude with a political settlement granting Russia control over a portion of Ukraine. Hagel also emphasized the importance of continued U.S. support for Ukraine to safeguard its long-term international interests.

Furthermore, Hagel discussed China’s keen observation of U.S. actions in Ukraine, noting that despite being viewed as a primary political rival, he didn’t foresee any direct military confrontation between the two superpowers. He emphasized the intertwined nature of U.S.-China relations, suggesting that China does not seek the destruction of the U.S. but rather aims to see it weakened and polarized.

Shifting focus to the realm of artificial intelligence, a panel led by economist and Darden Professor Anton Korinek explored the multifaceted impacts of AI on global labor and finance. Professor Daniel Rock from the Wharton School presented research indicating that higher-paid roles are more susceptible to automation, potentially leading to significant productivity gains. While acknowledging the potential benefits, Rock cautioned against overestimating the long-term implications of AI on the workforce.

Economist Ghiath Shabsigh from the International Monetary Fund highlighted the emergence of generative AI, which has expanded the adoption of AI tools in various sectors. The panelists stressed the importance of preparing for diverse AI scenarios, ranging from incremental workforce changes to a future where AI outperforms human capabilities.

Additionally, the conference covered discussions on navigating architectural transformations and the future of private equity, with experts underscoring the enduring appeal and efficacy of private equity investments. Greg Turk, Director of Investments at Teachers Retirement System of Illinois, emphasized the consistent success of private equity models and their ability to generate alpha, indicating sustained interest from investors and fund managers.

Kristina Koutrakos, Chair of Investment Strategy at Virginia Retirement System, expressed cautious optimism regarding the peak of the AI Hype Cycle, questioning whether AI could overcome the subsequent disillusionment phase. The event featured various speakers sharing insights on traditional finance and investment practices, with a particular focus on the evolving landscape influenced by AI technologies.

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Last modified: February 25, 2024
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