Technological risks not seen as long-term risks: WEF Global Risk Report

The Global Risk Report (GRR) 2022 released last week by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has not listed any of the technological risks as top long-term risks, though the report calls it ?a possible blind spot in risk perceptions.?

The report is based on WEF?s annual Global Risk Perception Survey (GRPS), which gathered insights from nearly 1000 global experts and leaders.

When asked to identify the most severe risks on a global scale over the next 10 years, the respondents chose five environmental risks, three societal risks and one risk each in the category of geopolitical risks and economic risks. Three environmental risks ? climate action failure, extreme weather and biodiversity loss rank as the top three global risks over the next 10 years. The annual GRR classifies risks into five types of risks: economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological.

Technological risks had been featuring among the most likely global risks for the last seven years ? from 2014 to 2021.

While in earlier years, the reports projected an annual risk horizon, ranking all risks on two broad parameters – likelihood of occurrence (most likely) as well as potential impact (most impactful) ? this year, it has projected the biggest risks according to their time horizons. It lists top 10 risks in 0-2 year horizon, 2-5 year horizon and 5-10 year horizon.

In the immediate (0-2) year horizon, two technological risks ? cybersecurity failure and digital inequality ? feature among top 10 risks, at 7th and 9th rank respectively. In the 2-5 year horizon, cybersecurity failure features as the 8th position, while adverse advances features at 8th position in the 5-10 year horizon.

When asked which risks worsened since the start of COVID-19, as many as 12.4% answered cybersecurity failure, making it 7th most worsening risk. About 10.5% said digital inequality has become a worse risk in that period.

However, when it comes to risk mitigation efforts, Artificial Intelligence topped as the risk where international risk mitigation efforts have not been established at all or not been effective. Only 1% thought the international community has effectively made efforts to mitigate risks arising out of AI. Another 9% said the efforts are established. Climate change, though identified as a bigger risk, has seen far more international efforts for risk mitigation. While only 2% feel that the efforts are effective, as many as 21% feel the efforts are well established.

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