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AI-Generated Misinformation and Deepfakes the World’s Greatest Short-Term Threat: WEF

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • WEF warns of high risks from generative AI and cybercrime at Davos convention, with AI high on the agenda.
  • Misinformation and disinformation top the risks over two years, with deepfake videos and scams prevalent on social media platforms.
  • The gap between organizations that can defend against cyber threats and those that can't is widening, WEF reports.
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As the World Economic Forum (WEF) convention kicks off in Davos, the international non-governmental organization has warned about the growing risks of generative artificial intelligence (AI) and cybercrime. 

The World Economic Forum begins in Davos, Switzerland, this week as world leaders convene to discuss the pressing issues. Moreover, the organization has published its Global Risks Report 2024, and artificial intelligence is high on the agenda.

AI Takes the Spotlight at WEF Convention

Among the top risks highlighted by the WEF are cybercrime and the adverse outcomes of artificial intelligence. 

Misinformation and disinformation were listed as the top risks for the two-year timeframe. Advances in generative AI now make it much easier for scammers to produce deepfake videos. Moreover, social media platforms such as Meta and X are flooded with scams and fakes

Over the weekend, MicroStrategy executive chairman Michael Saylor warned about the slew of deepfake Bitcoin scams that have appeared on YouTube. He stated:

“There is no risk-free way to double your Bitcoin, and MicroStrategy doesn’t give away BTC to those who scan a barcode.”

Moreover, the WEF ranks “cyber insecurity” as the fourth top risk over the next 2 years. Emerging technologies like AI can help address cyber threats, but the gap between organizations able to defend themselves and those that can’t is growing wider.

Read more: The 6 Hottest Artificial Intelligence (AI) Jobs in 2024

Cybercriminals are using new technologies like generative AI to expand their targets, it noted. On a ten-year timeframe, they ranked adverse outcomes of AI technologies as the sixth highest risk.

Top ten risks over next 2 and 10 years. Source: WEF
Top ten risks over the next 2 and 10 years. Source: WEF

Over 60 heads of state and government will be heading to Davos this week among more than 2,800 attendees. The theme of artificial intelligence “as a driving force for the economy and society” will get about 30 separate sessions.

AI Crypto Scams Increase 

Aside from deepfake Saylors infiltrating YouTube, scammers have been using AI to mimic other crypto executives.

Earlier this month, Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko was featured in a fake video offering a crypto “giveaway.” 

The scammers provide a QR code to lure victims into sending crypto. The fake executive promises to increase or double the amount. Fake Elon Musk videos have also been a popular choice for scammers stealing crypto. 

Crypto executives and investors often complain that the big tech and social media platforms don’t act quickly enough to remove scams. Some of them, such as Meta, actually take payments to publish crypto scams on their platforms. 

VentureBeat reported that people can use deepfakes to create fraudulent accounts with fake identities and to bypass ID verification in order to break into existing accounts.

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Martin Young
Martin Young is a seasoned cryptocurrency journalist and editor with over 7 years of experience covering the latest news and trends in the digital asset space. He is passionate about making complex blockchain, fintech, and macroeconomics concepts understandable for mainstream audiences.   Martin has been featured in top finance, technology, and crypto publications including BeInCrypto, CoinTelegraph, NewsBTC, FX Empire, and Asia Times. His articles provide an in-depth analysis of...