The Davos Report states that AI-driven misinformation is the most significant immediate danger to the world.
The World Economic Forum stated in a report on Wednesday that the main immediate threat to the global economy is false and deceptive information that utilizes advanced artificial intelligence and has the potential to undermine democracy and divide society.
According to its most recent Global Risks Report, the organization also stated that a variety of environmental hazards present the greatest dangers in the future. The report was published prior to the yearly meeting of influential CEOs and world leaders in Davos, Switzerland, and was informed by a survey of approximately 1,500 professionals, business leaders, and policy makers.
The report identified misinformation and disinformation as the greatest threat in the next two years, emphasizing how the rapid progress of technology is causing new issues or exacerbating current ones.
The writers are concerned that the rise of generative AI chatbots such as ChatGPT may lead to the unrestricted availability of advanced synthetic content, allowing non-experts to manipulate groups of individuals.
At the upcoming Davos meetings, AI is expected to be a highly discussed subject and will include prominent figures in the tech industry such as OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, and key players in the AI field like Yann LeCun, Meta’s chief AI scientist.
According to the report, the use of AI to spread false or misleading information is becoming a concern, especially with the upcoming elections in various countries such as the US, UK, Indonesia, India, Mexico, and Pakistan.
Carolina Klint, a risk management leader at Marsh, stated that utilizing AI can create deepfakes and have a significant influence on large communities, ultimately contributing to the spread of false information. This report was co-authored by Marsh McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group.
According to Klint, as individuals struggle to confirm information, societies may become increasingly divided. The spread of false information could also contribute to the questioning of elected governments’ legitimacy, potentially leading to the erosion of democratic processes and exacerbating societal polarization.
According to her, the emergence of AI also presents a variety of potential dangers. It has the ability to enhance the capabilities of nefarious individuals, making it simpler for them to execute cyberattacks, whether through automated phishing schemes or the development of sophisticated malware.
According to Klint, with the use of AI, even those who are not particularly clever can still pose a threat as malicious actors.
The speaker mentioned that AI systems can be negatively impacted by scraped data from the internet, making it challenging to undo and potentially leading to the perpetuation of biases within AI models.
Climate change was another major global concern among those surveyed for the risk assessment.
After being exposed to false or misleading information, severe weather is considered the second most urgent immediate danger.
Over a decade, severe weather was identified as the primary danger, along with four other risks related to the environment: significant alterations to Earth’s systems, loss of biodiversity and collapse of ecosystems, and shortages of natural resources.
According to Klint, the Earth’s systems are experiencing long-term changes and there is a risk of reaching a point of irreversible climate change within the next ten years.