On the 10th of January, the World Economic Forum published its 19th edition of the Global Risks Report. It begins with a daunting introduction highlighting how the current risk landscape has not only evolved but has been compounded by geopolitical tensions, economic uncertainty, an unstable global order, and the continual, but rapid evolution of technology.
Whilst the report discusses the risk outlook for the next decade, which is equally important to acknowledge and address, we focus on the current risk landscape for 2024. White Label Consultancy has put together a few of the key takeaways relating to cybersecurity:
- Relating to the current risk landscape, when asked to select five risks that are most likely to present a material crisis on a global scale in 2024, 53% of respondents stated, that AI-generated misinformation and disinformation, and 39% of respondents mentioned cyberattacks. The rise of AI and the increase of cyberattacks is a known risk within the international community, however, it does come as a surprise that both these topics fall within the top five risks for 2024.
- In relation to global risks ranked by severity over the short and long-term, cyber insecurity ranked 4th in the short term and 8th in the long term. This has moved up through the rankings in the last twelve months with regards to the short-term, with “widespread cybercrime and cyber insecurity” ranked 8th last year. However, when looking at the long-term risk projections, cyber insecurity has remained unchanged since 2023. Thus, prioritizing risk management and internal security measures for companies of all sizes, governments, and militaries remains crucial throughout 2024.
- Intra-state and interstate armed conflict not only impacts state fragility but is likely to lead to and encourage further proliferation, including technological advancements. As we have seen throughout recent years, the use of cyber technologies has been a significant force within conflict, and with the growing evolution of AI, it is only a matter of time before we see new AI capabilities in warfare.
Notably, one of the new entrants to the top 10 risk ranking is the topic of AI. Highlighting not only the short-term but also the risk landscape over the next 10 years, AI sits at the top of the rankings. Key concerns within the report discuss the potential for AI to be used by criminal organisations, its integration within conflict situations through either warfare or weaponry and to disseminate of misinformation and disinformation. Further, it is likely to have a significant impact on and use in, critical decision-making by both organizations and states.
Whilst we should welcome technological advancements, we should also remain wary of the risk where technology is not properly understood. Cyber technologies and AI will remain a method to improve economic productivity, global communication, and social inclusion. However, as the Global Risks Report 2024 highlights, such technologies and AI need to be understood, and the risks not overlooked.