A World at Risk

The World Economic Forum has released the results of their annual survey of experts as to what they see as the greatest risks facing the global community across a variety of categories. Polling specialists from business, government, academia and other fields, the survey asked these groups and individuals to rank the likelihood and impact of a list of potential risks. These criteria were selected to cover a variety of categories, consisting of economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological threads, with the detailed report offering a breakdown of the specific threats, trends within the perceived likelihood of risks, variations in the perceived threats by regions, and interconnectedness between various risks.

While the report observes that humanity has become skilled at managing conventional risks, it also notes "we are much less competent when it comes to dealing with complex risks in the interconnected systems that underpin our world, such as organizations, economies, societies and the environment," which is a point of concern in an increasingly interconnected world.

Based on the findings of the 2018 survey, the five most likely risks were seen as:

  • Extreme weather events;
  • Natural disasters;
  • Cyberattacks;
  • Data fraud or theft;
  • Failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation.