Davos 2024: Artificial intelligence is coming – get ready

I received a short video from a friend asking me for more details since I am in Davos. It shows a man giving a colorful speech in English at the 2024 World Economic Forum annual meeting.

“I appreciate the World Economic Forum, which gave me the opportunity to be on this stage and say Shame on you, Klaus Schwab, and shame on the New World Order,” he said.

Then, we see Klaus Schwab, CEO of the Forum, and Swiss Federal President Viola Amherd sitting next to him on the stage.

The man continues, saying: “We (the Palestinian people) were born free, and we will remain free. And you and all your pro-globalization friends and everyone present in this hall, shame on you.”

Eventually, Schwab and Amherd can be seen leaving the stage.

I could tell right away that this video was fake. If something like that had happened in the main hall, in front of all those people, it would have been the biggest deal ever.

However, it was interesting that my friend had only asked about the details of this story – not about whether it was true or fake.

The same goes for the social media platforms that shared the video, as if it were real. 

This is one of the concerns that dominated participants in the World Economic Forum. The enormous capacity of artificial intelligence (AI) software creates what appears to be indisputable reality out of fabrications – through documents, images and videos with technology so cutting-edge it even made an official recount how he tried to remember when he made a statement he saw in a video of him, before learning that it was was faked.

In a big change from previous years, AI was a major topic at this year’s forum.

There were around 30 sessions where people talked about AI under the title “Artificial Intelligence: A Driving Force for Economy and Society.”

Nevertheless, I can say for sure that AI was also a topic of conversation in almost all of the other sessions and side meetings.

There are a lot of mixed feelings about AI. Some are concerned, some are apprehensive, and others are hopeful. In previous years, the World Economic Forum was all about cryptocurrencies.

But this year, AI has taken center stage.

In a session moderated by Schwab he asked Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, what he would tell his 10-year-old grandson if he asked him what he should study to be a big deal in the field of artificial intelligence.

Nadella’s answer was that his grandson should study whatever he wants, and then look for ways to use AI to aid him in his chosen field.

This is a big, dangerous, and important issue. We can’t afford to take it lightly. We need to keep talking about it, and we need to be serious about it.

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