Artificial Intelligence Shoots Up AXA's Insurance List Of Future Global Risks
French multinational insurance company AXA has just published the new edition of its Futures Risk Report — and if climate change remains the top concern, many are keeping a close eye on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence's worrying rise in the list.
PARIS — One month ahead of the UN COP28 in Dubai, climate change risks are more worrying than ever. Not only does the topic top, for the second edition in a row, the Futures Risks Report published by French multinational insurance company AXA insurer on Monday: For the first time, it tops the list of emerging risks in every single region of the world.
Conducted among 3,300 experts in 50 countries and 19,000 members of the general public in 15 countries last June, the influential Futures Risks Report annually measures and ranks people's perceptions of risk evolution and emergence. By studying new risks, the insurance company explains, "we identify new solutions."
Other major sources of concern include cybersecurity risks, pandemics and infectious diseases, geopolitical instability as well as social tensions. In AXA's view, the study shows that crises no longer follow one another: instead, they tend to overlap.
But this tenth edition of the Futures Risks Report is marked above all by the dramatic rise of "artificial intelligence and Big Data" in the ranking of emerging risks — from #14 place in 2022 to #4 this year when it comes to threats perceived by experts. And while these technologies are less cited by the general public, they still come in sixth place in Asia and seventh in America.
"Technology-related risks in general are perceived as the fastest emerging," explained Etienne Mercier, Head of Opinion at Ipsos, with whom AXA is carrying out the study. The arrival of ChatGPT and generative AI, among other things, has caused a stir in many sectors, driven by significant fears of job loss.
In addition to Big Data, experts and the general public alike are concerned about disruptive technologies in general: the ethical and economic risks associated with their use, and their consequences for the future of work. In particular, the future of employment is a major concern in Asia, and particularly in China, a region that is used to the rapid adoption of cutting-edge technologies. In Europe, however, the general public does not yet seem to be fully aware of these risks.
Big Data, big risks?
A feeling of vulnerability
The majority of experts rank technology as a risk because of the "existential threat that the advance of AI could represent for humanity", the report explains. The majority of experts (64%) and the general population (70%) even go as far as saying that they think AI research should be halted.
Europe needs to strike the right balance.
Overall, the opinion that technological advances create more risks than they solve continues to grow. A sentiment now shared by half the population (52% in France, 49% in the U.S.). The feeling of vulnerability to the risk posed by AI is also on the rise, as public authorities and the private sector are generally considered less well prepared to deal with it, unlike other risks.
"This is a subject at the heart of European thinking, with the need to strike the right balance," explained Frédéric de Courtois, AXA's deputy CEO. We are very much in favor of responsible and balanced regulation." In particular, de Courtois warned against adopting overly harsh regulations on AI, "as we are competing with the U.S. and China and our companies need to have data to move forward on these subjects."
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