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AI runs wild among future disruptions in government report

From collapsing ecosystems to artificial intelligence running wild, a new Canadian government report outlines 35 disruptions that could rattle the country in the coming years.

“These disruptions are potential events and circumstances that could affect our society and the way it functions, as well as the way people live, work, and connect,” the report explains. “More than ever, the world is filled with uncertainty and unpredictability.”

According to the report, these disruptions could be felt in as soon as three years. The top 10 disruptions with the highest combined likelihood and impact are:

  1. People cannot tell what is true and what is not – three years
  2. Biodiversity is lost and ecosystems collapse – seven years
  3. Emergency response is overwhelmed – six years
  4. Cyberattacks disable critical infrastructure – four years
  5. Billionaires run the world – five years
  6. Artificial intelligence runs wild – six years
  7. Vital natural resources are scarce – eight years
  8. Downward social mobility is the norm – five years
  9. Health-care systems collapse – six years
  10. Democratic systems break down – six years

“Extremely wealthy people use their platforms, firms, foundations, and investments to shape public policy—imposing their individual values and beliefs and bypassing democratic governance principles,” a section on billionaires explains.

“Authoritarian regimes vastly outnumber democracies and the struggle between the two ideologies is messy in many countries,” a section on democracy states. “Some authoritarian countries experience regular pro-democracy protests, while in many democratic countries, duly elected officials pass legislation that dismantles key democratic institutions.”

The “Disruptions on the Horizon” report was published by Policy Horizons Canada, a federal organization that provides strategic foresight to help strengthen future government decision-making.

While many of the 35 disruptions are interrelated, they are organized into five categories: society, economy, environment, health and politics/geopolitics. They range in severity from “world war breaks out” to “men are in crisis.”

“Boys and men face unprecedented levels of educational dropout, unemployment, and loneliness as traditional gender roles are challenged,” the report speculates.

Other potential disruptions include: antibiotics no longer work, food is scarce, civil war erupts in the United States and homemade bioweapons go viral.

“One disruption could have cascading implications in unexpected areas, and the occurrence of one disruption could set off others,” the report explains. “While the disruptions in this report are not guaranteed to take place, they are plausible—and overlooking them may carry risks in various policy areas.”

“Disruptions on the Horizon” follows a 2023 report from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that outlined troubling trends to prepare for in Canada, including climate change, misinformation, government distrust and a global recession.

The new “Disruptions on the Horizon” report covers similar ground, and points to AI’s ability to generate misleading and divisive content.

“Mis- and disinformation make it almost impossible to know what is fake or real,” a section on discerning truth states. “It is much harder to know what or who to trust.”

Originally Appeared Here

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