’As an insurer, our role is to propose solutions and we are fully mobilised to fulfil it,’ says chief executive

Artificial intelligence (AI) and big data have become a top tier concern for risk experts, new figures by Axa have revealed.

According to the insurer’s Future Risks Report, which was published today (30 October 2023), risks associated with AI and big data were ranked as the fourth highest concern, its highest position ever recorded.

It came as over half of experts (52%) said they felt vulnerable to such risk in their daily lives, compared to 44% last year.

And a total of 55% of experts said this risk was emerging rapidly – up from 46% last year.

Axa chief executive Thomas Buberl said the report “highlights a world in polycrisis”.

Deep dive

Market research and consulting firm Ipsos carried out the research on behalf of Axa for the report, with a total of 3,226 experts in 50 countries being surveyed between 10 May and 16 June 2023.

Some 19,016 members of the public in 15 countries were also surveyed between 10 May and 14 June 2023.

The data also showed that only 7% of experts said public authorities were ready for the emergence of risks associated with AI, reflecting a drop of seven percentage points compared to 2022.

Generative AI – like ChatGPT – was listed in the report as an option for experts to explain why they chose AI among their top risks.

Some 34% reported that they worried about advanced AI posing an existential threat to mankind – up six percentage points compared to last year.

And most experts (64%) said that research into AI and other disruptive technologies should be halted.

“The last three years have been impacted by the global pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the worsening consequences of global warming,” Buberl said.

“Now we have to add rising risks linked to AI and cybersecurity, as well as an increasingly unstable geopolitical framework.

“This accentuates the feeling of vulnerability of the general population, but also of the experts, in the face of these threats.”

Other risks

Meanwhile, the report also revealed that cybersecurity risks was on experts’ radar for the sixth year running and for the first time was placed among the top three concerns.

Global warming came out as the top risk, as was the case last year, but it ranked first in every region of the world for the first time.

As a result of such risks, the feeling of overall vulnerability remained at a high level.

A total of 84% of experts at national levels said they felt more vulnerable than they did five years ago – compared to 76% in 2020.

In turn, a total of 93% of experts and 74% of the general population felt the role of insurers in limiting the impact of future risks was important or very important – compared to 89% and 69% last year.

“Despite the scale of the challenges, we do not want to see the future as a risk,” said Buberl.

“On the contrary, we need to demonstrate our collective ability to find appropriate and sustainable solutions.

“As an insurer, our role is to propose solutions and we are fully mobilised to fulfil it.”