↓↓See recent related news stories in updates below↓↓
The WEF has just published the results of its ‘risk survey’ for 2024; this survey asks ‘1,490 experts across academia, business, government, the international community and civil society’ where they see risk in the following 12 months 1.
The ‘respondents were asked to select up to five risks that they feel are most likely to present a material crisis on a global scale in 2024’; as you can see from the chart, second on the list is the potential risk posed by ‘Al-generated misinformation and disinformation’. No doubt this assessment is due to the fact that 2024 happens to be a major election year (see Elections in 2024) and the ability of democratic processes to return a genuine reflection of the popular will depends, to a significant degree, on the quality of information about politics that voters have available to them, and on the degree of trust that electors have that the democratic processes are reliable.
Anti-democratic actors have been able to fabricate and circulate misleading, confusing, contradictory political material through social media for the last decade. Recent developments in AI may allow them to do this but at much higher volumes. This year will test the ‘informational robustness’ of many democratic systems around the world. Fingers crossed!
Update 13 Jan 2024
Seems like it’s started already, and the UK general election probably won’t be held until November.
Update 26 Jan 2024
An FT weekend essay on varieties of fakes/shallow-fakes/deep-fakes…
Update: 13 Feb 2024
also longer term but let’s deal with 2024 first!↩︎