WEF Global Risk Report 2024: Mis/disinformation dominate the global risk landscape

WEF Global Risk Report 2024: Mis/disinformation dominate the global risk landscape

By: emmi kivi&
January 12 2024

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WEF Global Risk Report 2024: Mis/disinformation dominate the global risk landscape

Source: Reuters Connect

On January 10, the World Economic Forum released its 19th edition of the Global Risk Report for 2024. Drawing from the views of over 1,400 global risk experts, policy-makers, and industry leaders, the Global Risk Report 2024 delves into the most severe short and long-term risks the world is facing.

The 2024 report was conducted in cooperation with the Zurich Insurance Group and Marsh McLennan. The Global Risks report is a part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Initiative that strives to raise awareness and build consensus on global risks to facilitate resilience and risk preparedness.

In a world characterized by rapid technological change, conflict, economic uncertainty, and climate concerns, the report identified misinformation and disinformation as the greatest short-term risk. In the longer term, environmental risks are expected to be the leading concern. 

The report identifies adverse outcomes of AI technologies, misinformation, and disinformation as some of the top ten risks of the next decade.

(Source: World Economic Forum Global Risks Perception Survey 2023–2024, p.8)

Societal polarization and rapid technological advances – disinformation tops short-term risks

“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” Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum stated in the January 10 press release.

The report acknowledged that persistent economic uncertainty, unrest, and technological divides will plague the world in the upcoming years. These, combined with the dangers of AI-driven misinformation and disinformation and societal division, are identified as prominent risks, especially in view of the 2024 year of elections. 

Surpassing global risks in an increasingly multipolar world

According to the report, two-thirds of global experts expect the international system to become more multipolar and fragmented over the next decade. This would render cooperation more difficult in the upcoming years, requiring new approaches and solutions to tackle global threats. 

The report bids leaders to reassess steps to address global risks. International cooperation remains a key component in building guardrails for the most disruptive risks. Likewise, endorsing individual and state-level resilience digital literacy campaigns on misinformation and disinformation were listed as key actions to take in the future.

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We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before