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Canada. Experts on 35 threats to the world, the greatest is disinformation

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The collapse of democratic systems, an ecological catastrophe on a global scale, the loss of the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood and the takeover of power by billionaires are just four of the 35 identified threats the world will face in the coming years. This is according to an expert report prepared for the Government of Canada.

The report “Disruptions on the Horizon” by the government think tank The Policy Horizons Canada (PHC) in Ottawa, published on Tuesday, assessed both the probability, timing of occurrence of critical phenomena, and their impact on Canada and the world.

In first place was the risk defined as “people are unable to distinguish truth from falsehood”, with a critical impact on the social, political and economic situation, which, according to experts, will appear in about three years.


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The first 10 threats, the most probable and at the same time with the greatest consequences, include, apart from the loss of the ability to distinguish truth from lies (up to 3 years): loss of biodiversity and collapse of ecosystems (7 years), overload of threat response systems (6 years), collapse critical infrastructure as a result of cyber attacks (4 years).

The next places included billionaires taking over the world (5 years), artificial intelligence getting out of control (6 years), limiting the availability of necessary raw materials (8 years), reducing social mobility to such an extent that it becomes the norm (5 years), the breakdown of healthcare systems (6 years) and the breakdown of democratic systems (6 years).

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Experts on threats to the world

The inability to distinguish truth from falsehood also topped a slightly different list of the most likely threats, along with loss of biodiversity, material hardship leaving citizens unable to live independently, the sale of biodata, a billionaire takeover, reduced social mobility, an overload of response systems, and a health crisis. mental health, the collapse of critical infrastructure due to cyber attacks and the loss of control over AI.

In addition to the threats often written about in the media, such as the biodiversity crisis, cyberattacks or the collapse of health care systems, the report also mentions rarely discussed problems, such as the takeover of power by billionaires.

PHC experts defined the problem as ultra-rich people using their “platforms, companies, foundations and investments to shape policy by imposing private values ​​and beliefs and bypassing the principle of democratic governance.”

The limitation of social mobility in Canada is linked by experts to the housing crisis, and also in this context there are threats from billionaires who “continue to accumulate most of the wealth”, which may result in deepening grievances in society and pressure for a wider redistribution of goods. may “reach a tipping point”.

Concerns about artificial intelligence and authoritarian regimes

With AI, experts have pointed out that societies no longer keep up with the development of this technology and do not understand how it is used.

Meanwhile, “increasingly effective AI tools reduce trust in traditional sources of knowledge, and algorithms designed for emotional engagement instead of information about facts may increase distrust and fragmentation of society.” This, experts emphasized, makes using scientific evidence more difficult, just like making decisions in politics, education or health care.

Experts also warned that “authoritarian regimes outnumber democracies” and in many democratic countries “elected representatives pass laws that dismantle key democratic institutions.” Political threats also included the outbreak of civil war in USA and the outbreak of world war.

In addition to the risk common to all countries in the world, experts also point to problems specific to Canada, such as immigrants choosing other countries instead of Canada, the breakdown of social community or the takeover of power by indigenous people in areas that were never formally transferred to Canada, including urban.

Main photo source: EPA/TOLGA AKMEN

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