AI-driven inaccuracies seen as a persistent concern amid a predominantly negative outlook for the world
The report presents a concerning picture of the world’s risk landscape, noting a gradual erosion of human development progress and increased vulnerability to new and re-emerging risks. The report, based on nearly two decades of risk perception data, was released against a backdrop of significant shifts in global power dynamics, climate change, technological advancements, and demographic changes.
According to the report, global risks are testing the world’s ability to adapt, with a majority of global experts anticipating a more multipolar or fragmented global order over the next decade. This shift is expected to lead to middle and great powers contesting and establishing new rules and norms, potentially hindering cooperation on critical global issues.
The report paints a predominantly negative outlook for the short term, which is expected to deteriorate further in the long term. Approximately 30% of experts foresee an increased likelihood of global catastrophes in the next two years, rising to nearly two-thirds over the next decade.
Key concerns for 2024 include the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and the interlinked risks of AI-driven misinformation and disinformation, coupled with societal polarization. The impact of falsified information on societal unrest is expected to become particularly significant during elections in several major economies scheduled for the next two years.
Interstate armed conflict ranks among the top five concerns for the next two years, with existing conflicts and geopolitical tensions posing a risk of broader conflict contagion.
The report also urged leaders to reconsider their approaches to addressing global risks, advocating for rapid global cooperation to establish safeguards against the most disruptive emerging risks, such as AI in conflict decision-making.
It also suggests alternative actions that do not rely solely on international cooperation, such as enhancing individual and state resilience against misinformation and disinformation through digital literacy campaigns and promoting research and development in climate modelling and technologies to accelerate the energy transition. Both public and private sectors are called upon to contribute to these efforts.
“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,” said Carolina Klint, Marsh McLennan Europe chief commercial officer. “At the same time, companies are having to negotiate supply chains made more complex by geopolitics and climate change and cyber threats from a growing number of malicious actors. 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.”
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