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Davos 2024: AI is having a moment at the World Economic Forum

Davos 2024: AI is having a moment at the World Economic Forum
Davos 2024: AI is having a moment at the World Economic Forum | GZERO AI

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Fellow, Stanford Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, and former European Parliamentarian, co-hosts GZERO AI, our new weekly video series intended to help you keep up and make sense of the latest news on the AI revolution. In this episode, Schaake is live from the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, where AI is one of the dominant themes. Interestingly, she says, the various conversations about AI have been nuanced: it's been acknowledged as a top risk for the year as much as for its immense potential.

Hi, my name is Maritje Schaake, we are in Davos at the World Economic Forum, where AI really is one of the key topics that people are talking about. And I think what stands out and what I've heard referenced in various meetings is that the WEF's risk report of this year has signaled that this information, especially as a result of the uptake of emerging technologies, is considered one of the key risks that people see this year.


Of course, this being a year in which many elections around the world will take place, but you know, disinformation about health, about geopolitics also factoring in there. So, there is more emphasis on risk as a result of that report than I would normally expect here, where companies are the dominant voices, companies that normally sell you know, all the great visions that they have for what AI can achieve. And what's interesting is that while there are a lot of panels and other sessions around artificial intelligence focusing on global governance, with the role of the United Nations, for example, on trust and elections, on healthcare and AI, geopolitics and AI, you know, AI in the frontlines, these discussions seem to be kind of happening in parallel universes where there are those who are focusing very much on their concerns for civil liberties and the risk of state surveillance.

There are others who are saying, well, scientific breakthroughs are going to save the world. So what I hope will happen either here or in the coming year is that the analysis of what we must expect from AI will start leading to much more concrete policies and enforceable action, because otherwise we're going to continue to see this rapidly changing technology that has deep and wide impact on people all around the world without consequences. And I think we need to make sure that there are guardrails and that these are firm and that, yes, opportunities can be reaped, but certainly risks can be prevented. And hopefully the report and the discussions here in Davos with people coming into these mountains from around the world can actually be meaningful and have impact the coming year.

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