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Warren Buffett On Bitcoin, Autonomous Driving, Clean Energy, And Life

On Friday afternoon, college students from across the country, and even Peru, gathered in Omaha, Nebraska to listen to the Oracle himself. The two-and-a-half hour Q&A session opened the door for young individuals to ask Warren Buffett anything they pleased. His lengthy and genuine responses touched on a variety of topics.

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Warren Buffett

Unsurprisingly, Buffett thinks coin offerings will end badly.

"People get excited from big price movements and Wall Street accommodates," he commented.

Bitcoin, the mother of all digital currencies, topped $6,000 on Friday, up more than 500% this year.

With a market cap now over $100 billion, Buffett remains skeptical, saying, "You can't value Bitcoin because it's not a value-producing asset."

He said that there's no telling how far it will go and described it as a "real bubble in that sort of thing."

Autonomous driving

Earlier this month, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway purchased a major stake in Pilot Flying J, the largest truck stop operator in the country. Buffett sees Pilot Flying J as a very strong business, but the question is for how long.

When asked about the threat of autonomous driving and electric vehicles on the future of the industry, Buffett didn't seem too worried. He acknowledges that the shift from diesel to electric trucks and autonomous trucks would have a big effect, but he doesn't see this as a major imminent risk. He doubts driver-less vehicles will see 10% penetration by 2030.

"I don't think I like an 18-wheeler coming down the road with no driver," he said.

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If autonomous driving does come along, it will be because they are safer than traditional vehicles.

When asked about Berkshire's strategy towards potential shrinkage in the insurance industry, Buffett responded with, "When you lose money at the horse races, you don't have to make it back at the horse races, and this applies to business."

He stated that there are no master plans at Berkshire, as they just plan to "just keep playing the game."

Clean energy

Buffett is all aboard on clean energy. Berkshire has about $16 billion to $17 billion invested in wind and solar, along with another $3 billion to $4 billion in projects. He sees the world moving in the direction of clean energy subsidies, and quicker change here in the U.S. Buffett expects Iowa to be completely self-sufficient in energy through wind within three years, and he thinks the days of coal plants in America are coming to an end.

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Career advice

Of course, with a young and ambitious crowd of students, the topic of work and life was thoroughly covered. At 87, Buffett routinely mentions how he looks forward to going to work everyday. A strong enthusiast of doing what you love, he told the students to "look for the job you would take if you didn't need a job."

Buffett also emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people. By interacting with people that you admire and hanging out with people that are "better than you," you will be able to continuously learn and become better yourself.

"A wonderful group of friends is the biggest asset," he commented.

In regard to careers on Wall Street, Buffett underlined that quality of temperament is far more important than IQ.

"If you can handle yourself, you can handle markets," he said.

On Wall Street, it's not experience or IQ that wins, but the person with the proper temperament.

"Don't forget what makes life enjoyable: being creative, and being with people you admire," he added, a very Buffett-like comment. He stressed how exciting the world is today and advised students to make the most of it.