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World Economic Forum (WEF) declares that the biggest short-term threat to the global economy is the current wave of AI-led misinformation and disinformation.
Misinformation is false or inaccurate information, while disinformation is deliberately false content, that can be used to spread propaganda and sow fear and suspicion.
According to the Guardian, WEF recently expressed its concern that politics could be dangerously disrupted by the spread of false information, potentially leading to riots, strikes, and other crackdowns on governments. The forum’s annual risks report shows that 30% of respondents thought there was a high risk of a global catastrophe over the next two years, with two-thirds fearing a disastrous event within the next decade.
Furthermore, many world-leading countries are facing elections in 2024 (including Britain, the US, the EU, and India), and the WEF estimates that falsified information and societal unrest will take center stage during the campaigns.
The report ranks risks over a two-year and 10-year horizon- the top five biggest short-term risks are misinformation and disinformation; extreme weather events; societal polarization; cyber insecurity and interstate armed conflict.
Chief commercial officer in Europe for Marsh McLennan Carolina Klint said: “Artificial intelligence breakthroughs will radically disrupt the risk outlook for organizations with many struggling to react to threats arising from misinformation, disintermediation, and strategic miscalculation. It will take a relentless focus to build resilience at organizational, country, and international levels – and greater cooperation between the public and private sectors – to navigate this rapidly evolving risk landscape.”
Klint also said that artificial intelligence increases the threat of widespread disinformation and misinformation, which could result in questioning the legitimacy of elected governments.
Saadia Zahidi, a managing director of the WEF, further supported these claims, explaining: “An unstable global order characterized by polarizing narratives and insecurity, the worsening impacts of extreme weather and economic uncertainty are causing accelerating risks – including misinformation and disinformation – to propagate. World leaders must come together to address short-term crises as well as lay the groundwork for a more resilient, sustainable, inclusive future.”