Guest essay by Eric Worrall
As I predicted in 2017, the growing AI scare is looking increasingly likely to be the globalist replacement for the faltering climate scare.
Climate change, AI and harassment – the hottest topics at this year’s Davos
Sun 21 Jan 2018 02.59 AEDT
The World Economic Forum focuses on the ‘fractured world’ this year: but the biggest star at the gala will be Donald Trump
Donald Trump will loom large at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos this week, as the self-styled anti-globalist joins the annual gathering of billionaires, business executives and politicians.
The meeting at the luxury ski resort in the Swiss Alps at the start of each year is set to be dominated by the US president, who is due to give a special address to the conference on Friday.
The official theme of this year’s forum is “creating a shared future in a fractured world”, which could have taken its cue from Trump alone. However, it does leave enough wiggle room to take in Brexit and the growing risks from technological advances, climate change and rising inequality.
The rise of the robots
The increasing use of artificial intelligence, robotics and the automation of jobs has been a repeating theme at Davos, and this year is no different. The impact of AI will be one of the forum’s major events, with a one-to-one interview to be held between Schwab and the chief executive of Google, Sundar Pichai.
The “fourth industrial revolution” will be a key theme once more, with a focus on how the loss of millions of jobs could undermine social cohesion. The way states respond to governing and taxing technologies and borderless business will be high on the agenda.
Climate-change risks to the fore
Trump moved quickly to pull the US out of the Paris climate accords in one of his first acts as president last year. At Davos, where the environment is always among the most important issues up for debate, this won’t have gone down well.
The former US vice-president Al Gore is attending and will speak on several panels, including one about how extreme weather events are proving more devastating and expensive.
The WEF’s global risks perception survey, released last week, cited climate change-related issues as the top problems facing the world, while it also issued a thinly veiled warning to the US president that “nation-state unilateralism” will make it harder to combat change and ecological damage.
Climate with its failed predictions and repeated gross exaggerations simply doesn’t have the grant pulling power it once had. Climate disasters like melting ice sheets, once predicted to just be a decade away, have mostly been pushed out to the end of the century, well after most of us will be dead.
Compared to the tired climate myth, the scary AI narrative has real potential. We have all seen movies where a malevolent AI does great harm.
When will AI controlled robots steal all our jobs? What will contact with AI do to our children? Will militarised robots run amok and kill us all? Will AI help social justice warriors enslave us all, in a web of lies created by an intelligence we are helpless to resist? Do we have to regulate Facebook, Elon Musk and Google? Will AI deliver the stars, freedom, power and liberty beyond our ability to imagine?
Will AI solve deep medical mysteries and deliver the secret of medical immortality?
The national security implications – what if your nation’s enemies get there first? How many senior politicians or bureaucrats would reject a credible offer of an extra 50 years of healthy life, with more to come if they remain loyal to their new masters? Or a cure for a lethal illness, which only the advanced AI medical technology of your nation’s enemies can cure?
The new arms race – advanced AI is the only defence against advanced AI in the hands of ruthless enemies.
The most terrifying aspect of the AI scare – unlike increasingly distant climate threats, the AI revolution which upends all of our lives might happen tomorrow, before we can prepare.
This might be one of the last Davos meetings which even pretends to take the climate scare seriously. The AI scare is in – coming soon to your community.