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AI-driven misinformation ‘biggest short-term threat to global economy’

A wave of artificial intelligence-driven misinformation and disinformation that could influence key looming elections poses the biggest short-term threat to the global economy, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has said.

In a deeply gloomy assessment, the body that convenes its annual meeting in Davos next week expressed concern that politics could be disrupted by the spread of false information, potentially leading to riots, strikes and crackdowns on dissent from governments.

The WEF’s annual risks report – which canvasses the opinion of 1,400 experts – found 30% of respondents thought there was a high risk of a global catastrophe over the next two years, with two-thirds fearful of a disastrous event within the next decade.

The WEF said concerns over the persistent cost of living crisis and the intertwined risks of disinformation and polarised societies dominated the outlook for 2024.

Elections are taking place this year in countries that represent 60% of global GDP, including Britain, the US, the EU and India, and the WEF said the nexus between falsified information and societal unrest would take centre stage during campaigns.

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