In anticipation of its annual meeting in Davos this week, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has issued its Global Risk Report 2019.
The report maps the major geopolitical and economic risks facing the world as identified by nearly 1000 decision makers from the public sector, private sector, academia and civil society. According to the report, the top five risks are extreme weather, climate change, natural disasters, data fraud and cyber-attacks.
As Borge Brende, President of the WEF, stated, “it is hard to overstate how reliant we are on technology and how quickly technology is evolving”. However, society has not been able to fully understand the risks associated with technology developments. The study author, Aengus Collins, gave the examples of affective artificial intelligence which could be used to manipulate human emotions.
In its recent White paper on artificial intelligence, the IEC recognizes many of the challenges resulting from the deployment of AI technologies. While the current standardization activities are still at the very early stages, the White Paper clearly demonstrates that Standards need to play an essential role in shaping the future of AI and mitigating the many technical and non-technical issues emerging with the deployment of AI across industries.
Cyber security is also identified as a key risk. As Brende noted, “our network societies are very vulnerable”. In a world where cyber threats are becoming increasingly common, being able to apply a specific set of International Standards combined with a dedicated and worldwide certification programme, is a proven and highly effective approach to ensuring long-term cyber resilience. IEC International Standards together with conformity assessment can be incorporated into an overarching cyber security strategy that includes people, processes and technology.
Over 3000 participants from all over the world will gather for the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland from 22-25 January. A number of experts discuss such issues as artificial intelligence, cyber security, energy access, virtual and augmented reality and the digital economy.