Photo/WEF website

The World Economic Forum (WEF) 2024 annual meeting took place in Davos, Switzerland, on January 15. Artificial intelligence (AI) was a hot topic at the meeting, as the ChatGPT-led AI wave continues to gain momentum. On the one hand, AI has the potential to boost global productivity, but on the other hand, the risks associated with AI, such as misinformation and data manipulation, are also not to be underestimated.

In addition to AI, participants also discussed other challenges facing businesses around the world, including climate change and global economic growth.

About AI and Climate Change


IMF Chief: Countries Must Recognize AI and Misinformation Risks

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that AI poses a significant risk to financial stability and could exacerbate inequality if regulations are not put in place. She also said that the risk of misinformation is "significant and could be very serious," as it is a "major driver of distrust."

She said: "For companies and countries, AI could be used to manipulate data in ways we've never seen before. This means that governments must wake up and take this issue seriously."

Microsoft CEO: Satisfied with OpenAI's Governance Structure

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on January 16 that he has no concerns about the governance structure of his partner OpenAI. The startup's board of directors temporarily removed its CEO, Sam Altman, two months ago for reasons related to AI development, but Altman was eventually reinstated after a few days. OpenAI's board of directors is responsible for upholding the company's mission as a non-profit organization to develop powerful AI that benefits humanity.

Nadella said: "I'm fine. I have no opinions on any structure."

As a result of the previous incident, OpenAI's board of directors is currently expanding its size. Altman said: "We expect to make significant progress in this area in the coming months. After that, the new board will review the governance structure. We will take a serious look at it from all angles."

Microsoft has secured a non-voting observer seat on the OpenAI board. European and British competition authorities have begun to closely monitor Microsoft's relationship with OpenAI, and US regulators are reportedly also looking into the matter. A source familiar with the matter said that their agreement guarantees Microsoft a majority of OpenAI's profits under certain conditions.

Bill Gates: Healthcare Spending Is Key to Addressing Climate Change

Bill Gates said at a WEF event that AI will become the most powerful force for driving productivity.

History shows that every new technology comes with fear, and then new opportunities. Gates said in an interview with CNN that the technology will transform everyone's lives in the next five years and that AI will make everyone's lives easier. He specifically pointed out that AI will help doctors with paperwork, which is "the part of their job that they don't like, and we can make it very efficient."

He also said that the improvements to OpenAI's ChatGPT-4 are "striking" because it "can basically read and write," so "it's almost like having a white-collar worker as a tutor, providing health advice, helping to write code, helping to answer tech support calls." He said that integrating the technology into education or healthcare would be "really great."

In addition, Gates said during the meeting that the key to addressing climate change is to improve healthcare services in developing countries.

He said: "Global health is a bit neglected right now. In the next 10 years, funding will be very limited, and if you care about climate impacts, you should increase healthcare spending, not decrease it."

Gates called on countries to donate 0.7% of their gross domestic product (GDP) to medical assistance. He said that healthcare spending "not only has humanitarian benefits," but it can also be converted into economic and environmental benefits. "When we make the world healthier, population growth will stabilize."

PwC Survey: Disruptive Technologies, Climate Change to Put More Pressure on Businesses in Next 3 Years

PwC released a survey at the WEF meeting on January 16 that found that the proportion of CEOs (CEOs) who believe that global economic growth will improve in the next 12 months has more than doubled year-on-year. The survey surveyed 4,702 CEOs from 105 countries and regions, finding that 38% of CEOs are optimistic about the global economic growth outlook for the next 12 months, up from 18% in 2023.

About Economy


IMF First Deputy Managing Director: Expects interest rates to decline in the second half

International Monetary Fund (IMF) First Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath said in a CNBC interview at the WEF meeting that it is "too early to say" whether central banks will "significantly" lower interest rates this year. She added that inflation has come down, but "work is not done" due to tight labor markets in the United States and Europe. The IMF expects interest rates to decline in the second half.

Gopinath also said that she expects interest rates to be higher in the next three to four years than they were in the period after the 2008 financial crisis.

Bank of America CEO: Expects the Fed to cut interest rates four times this year and four times next year

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said that he is looking forward to seeing market attention shift away from the Federal Reserve's interest rate decisions. He said that Bank of America expects the Fed to cut interest rates four times this year and four times next year, while the market expects six to seven cuts. "If we can get the US back to a more normal growth and inflation trajectory, that's good for the US and good for the world," he said. "That's what the Fed is trying to engineer, but they need to be careful not to overdo it."

Nasdaq CEO: There are signals that interest rates will be cut, but the question is the time

Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman said in a CNBC interview at the WEF meeting that the market has already priced in a rate cut, but she is "a little concerned" about cutting too soon. She added that the Fed may want to wait until it is in a more stable position before taking major action.

Friedman also said that the IPO market could "reactivate" as investor confidence in the second half of the year strengthens. She said that about 85 companies have filed to list on Nasdaq, with the majority focused on the second quarter.

Investor Ray Dalio: US presidential election and geopolitics will be the biggest market drivers

Investor Ray Dalio said that this year will be a "pivotal year" and that the biggest market drivers will be the US presidential election and geopolitical events.

In an interview with CNBC at the WEF meeting, he said, "If you're focused on politics and geopolitics, I don't think these risks are fully priced in, because it's hard to do."

Dalio said that the market is neither attractive nor unattractive at the moment, and that investors will be more likely to adopt a "neutral portfolio" in this environment. He added that "cash is a useless investment over the long term."

IIF: Policymakers need to urgently address record global debt levels

International Institute of Finance (IIF) CEO Tim Adams warned at the WEF meeting that 2024 will be a "challenging year" and that policymakers need to urgently address record global debt levels.

He told CNBC, "We have debt problems all over the world. Our debt levels are the highest they've ever been in non-war times, whether you look at corporates, households, sovereigns, or sub-sovereigns."

He added, "We have big fiscal problems everywhere, including the United States. Our deficit is 7% of GDP. We need to be sober, and we need to focus on how we can get our fiscal houses in order."

Editor: Alexander