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With half of the world's adults heading to the polls in an election year, concerns about the role of artificial intelligence in disrupting results tops the list of biggest risks for 2024, according to a new report.
The World Economic Forum's “Global Risks Report 2024,” released Wednesday, ranked AI-derived misinformation and disinformation — and its implications for social polarization — in its top 10 risks for the next two years, ahead of climate change, war and economic weakness.
“AI can create models that influence more voters than we've ever seen,” Carolina Klint, chief business officer for Europe at Marsh McLennan, who co-authored the report, told CNBC's Silvia Amaro.
“It will be very important for us to see how that plays out,” he added.
And looking ahead, the balance of risks for the next decade is shifting toward extreme weather and important changes in the political world order, with two-thirds of those surveyed expecting a new multipolar or fragmented world to emerge.
The WEF report, produced in association with Zurich Insurance Group, surveyed 1,400 global risk experts, policymakers and industry leaders in September 2023 about their biggest global concerns.
The report's authors said combined risks are “stretching the world's adaptive capacity to its limits” and called for leaders to focus on global cooperation and develop security deterrents to the most disruptive emerging risks.
“A volatile global order characterized by polarized narratives and insecurity, the dire impacts of extreme weather and economic uncertainty – including misinformation and disinformation – pose risks that will accelerate the campaign,” said Sadia Zahidi, executive director of the WEF.
“World leaders must come together to address short-term crises and lay the foundations for a resilient, sustainable, inclusive future,” he added.
Misinformation and disinformation, extreme weather events, social polarization, cyber insecurity and inter-state armed conflict are the most cited risks over the next two years. Also in the top 10 are lack of economic opportunity, inflation, involuntary migration, economic decline and pollution.
Extreme weather events, critical change in Earth systems, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation, natural resource scarcity and misinformation and misinformation have been named as the most likely risks in the next 10 years. Adverse effects of AI technologies were also named as a long-term concern.
“Artificial intelligence advances will radically disrupt the risk perspective of organizations struggling to react to threats arising from misinformation, intermediation and strategic miscalculation,” Klint said in the statement.
“At the same time, companies must negotiate supply chains that are increasingly complicated by geopolitical and climate change and cyber threats from emerging malicious actors. Building resilience at the corporate, country and international levels will require unrelenting attention – and greater collaboration between the public and private sectors – in this rapidly evolving to navigate the risk landscape,” he added.
As world leaders meet next week at the WEF's annual summit in Davos, Switzerland, the event will reportedly discuss global issues including conflicts in Europe and the Middle East, the economy and technology. faith.”
It comes as the world kicks off a historic election year with Taiwan elections kickstarting this weekend, which are also set to take place in the US, India, Russia, South Africa and Mexico.
A separate 2024 in global risks Report Published on Monday, Eurasia Group named the upcoming US election as its top risk for the year, and “ungoverned AI” in the top five.
Ian Bremmer, chairman and founder of Eurasia Group, said at a press conference that given the wider implications of the election results, the consultation had “no choice” but to assess the risk ahead of wars between Russia and Ukraine and between Israel and Hamas. .