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An electronic display showing recent cyberattacks in China at the China Internet Security Conference in Beijing Attendees walk past an electronic display showing recent cyberattacks in China at the China Internet Security Conference in Beijing, Sept. 12, 2017 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

On Earth, in Space and in the Virtual World, the Future Is Bleak

Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022

Davos Man has seen the future, and it is bleak. Last week, the sponsors of the World Economic Forum released their 17th annual “Global Risks” report on the most worrisome threats confronting humanity in 2022 and beyond. Sadly, this latest crystal ball-reading exercise suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic may soon be the least of our worries. Over the next decade, the most pressing task confronting humanity will be ensuring the survival of life on planet Earth—and at the same time, the world’s governments will need to navigate surging economic inequality, rising barriers to migration and growing vulnerabilities in both cyberspace and outer space. 

Of the thousands of experts and executives surveyed by Global Risks, only 16 percent feel “positive” or “optimistic” about the future. The majority—84 percent—are “worried” or “concerned.” Most of the respondents anticipate that the next three years will feature economic volatility and a growing divergence between the rich and poor, further eroding social cohesion in most countries, increasing geopolitical tensions and undermining international cooperation on global challenges. ...

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