Emerging Technologies

Confused about AI? Here are the podcasts you need on artificial intelligence

AI-created image produced by DALL·E with the prompt: 'The face of Rodin's Thinker as a robot'

AI-created image produced by DALL·E with the prompt: 'The face of Rodin's Thinker as a robot' Image: Robin Pomeroy/DALL·E

Robin Pomeroy
Podcast Editor, World Economic Forum
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Emerging Technologies

  • The Forum publishes three weekly podcasts: Radio Davos, Meet the Leader and Agenda Dialogues. Find them all at wef.ch/podcasts.
  • Radio Davos published a series of episodes dedicated to Artificial Intelligence (AI), with a focus on governance, related to the Forum's AI Governance Alliance.
  • Agenda Dialogues brings you the full audio from sessions at Davos and other events; Meet the Leader speaks to the world's decision-makers.

We are only at the start of the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution. So how can we get past the hype and start to understand the opportunities and risks of this transformative technology?

There are a range of podcast episodes to help you navigate this complex topic, which could change the way we work, learn, and play.

Here's a selection:

Davos 2024

Many of the world's leading figures in AI were at the Annual Meeting 2024. Here are the podcasts from that:

"Those systems will understand the physical world, which is not the case for current systems. They will be able to remember, which is not the case for current systems, and they will be able to reason and plan, which is also not the case for current systems. We'll have systems that are much smarter than they currently are and will have far-ranging implications whose consequences are really hard to predict." - Yann LeCun, Chief AI Scientist, Meta

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"Every world leader wants to understand how to harness this technology for the benefit of their country while putting in place guardrails, and people are on different ends of the spectrum about which one they prioritize." - Anna Makanju, Vice President of Global Affairs, OpenAI

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"Any tool that allows an artist to create is an amazing thing." - Nile Rodgers, musician, songwriter and producer

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"This is more about intelligence at your fingertips or expertise at your fingertips. And I think ‘24 will probably be the year where all of this will scale." - Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft

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"I think a very good sign about this new tool is that even with its very limited current capability and its very deep flaws, people are finding ways to use it for great productivity gains or other gains and understand the limitations." - Sam Altman, Chief Executive Officer, OpenAI

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"So we have to think very carefully about what values are in the emotional side of the model. Who gets to oversee them, how are they programmed to whom are they transparent and accountable? And those are the kinds of sceptical and critical questions that we should be asking of all new consumer technologies." - Mustafa Suleyman, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft AI

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"AI is pretty much on every panel on every shopfront on the promenade. There's nothing that anybody else wants to talk to you [about]. It is the transformative technology of our time. Is it the steam engine of the fourth industrial revolution as the WEF says? Is it the printing press? That's another analogy I've heard - fire?" - Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief, The Economist

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"We should recognize that our interest is in AI governance not necessarily only in regulations. And in AI governance there are also other very important things to do. For example, you must have the infrastructure to be able to support the deployment and the development. You need to be able to build capabilities within the enterprise sector as well as individuals. And then you need to talk about international cooperation too." - Josephine Teo, Communications and Information Minister, Singapore

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"This is going to be the most transformational moment, not just in technology but in culture and politics of all of our lifetimes." - Mustafa Suleyman, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Inflection AI

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"Well, the change is huge. In the field of workforce learning or adult learning in general, the topic of skills gaps has been the hot topic. It's a big problem around the world. Generative AI is opening up a whole new set of skills gaps when we haven't solved the first problem." - Jeffrey Tarr, Chief Executive Officer, Skillsoft

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"The question of equality: Of course open-source dissemination is a big factor for equality. Now, for economic equality, it's a fiscal policy question. It's not a technological question." - - Yann LeCun, Chief AI Scientist, Meta

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Radio Davos series on generative AI

In 2023, the year the World Economic Forum founded the AI Governance Alliance. Here's an exclusive 5-part series from Radio Davos on the subject:

Episode 1

"Today, these large language models, they are like these powerful wild beasts. We need to have algorithms and methods to tame such beasts and then to use them for the benefit of humanity." - Pascale Fung, AI professor, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology:

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Episode 2

"There's no question here that we will need new laws and norms and standards to build confidence in this new technology. Rather than pausing important research and development work that is under way right now, including as to the safety of these models, I really think we should focus on a plan of action." - Natasha Crampton, Chief Responsible AI Officer, Microsoft

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Episode 3

"In order to talk about how to optimise for fairness or how to have fair algorithms, we have to be able to define what we mean by fair. The definition of fairness, the understanding of in which context which theory of fairness is relevant, comes from the discipline of philosophy and moral and political philosophy." - Cansu Canca, AI Ethics Lead, Institute for Experiential AI, Northeastern University:

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Episode 4

"I guess that is a matter of time where machines and automation and AI will have some form of intelligence that will either compete with us or augment us. I think this is a question for us as a species. For the past thousands of years we didn’t have a cousin or a brother and now we may have one. So it is how we understand that and how we deal with it." - Amir Banifatemi, Director, AI Commons

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Episode 5

"AI development is moving so fast, so we must move as fast in order to make any meaningful contribution." - Cathy Li, Head, AI, Data and Metaverse, World Economic Forum

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Discover

How is the World Economic Forum creating guardrails for Artificial Intelligence?

Impact on jobs

What impact will the rise of AI have on your job?

"Nearly half of the skills that people like you and I are using every single day in the workplace - nearly half of that is going to have to change in the next 4 to 5 years alone.' - Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, World Economic Forum

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"It's the first time in the history of humanity that we have to rethink what it means to be human. It's no longer 'I think, therefore I am,' - most of our thinking can be outsourced to machines." - Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Chief Innovation Officer, ManpowerGroup

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"In the 50s or 60s was when the first AI program was written. And, you know, there was a period which was referred to as the AI winter, during roughly the 70s or the 80s. The next 10 or 20 years is really going to be the golden age of AI." - Aakrit Vaish, CEO of Haptik

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Related technologies

Top-10 emerging technologies

Designer phages, spatial optics, plant sensors and bendable batteries - just some of the items on this year's World Economic Forum Top 10 Emerging Technologies that will change our lives in the next 3-5 years.

We hear from the two people who led the work compiling the list: Mariette DiChristina, Dean and Professor of the Practice in Journalism, Boston University College of Communication; and Bernie Meyerson, Chief Innovation Officer Emeritus, IBM.

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Semiconductors

"Today, trade in chips is a fundamental pillar of the international trading system. It's actually so important that China spends as much money each year importing chips as it spends importing oil." - Chris Miller, author, 'Chip War'

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Metaverse

"What's amazing about being able to meet in a virtual environment is that we can transport you to places you don't normally go in real life, but you have the feeling of being together in that experience." - Rebecca Ivey, Head of Global Collaboration Village, World Economic Forum

This episode, featuring the real and virtual versions of 'The Office' actor Rainn Wilson, is a video, as well as audio, podcast:

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AI Governance Summit

The Forum hosted AI leaders at a summit in San Francisco. Three panel discussions are available to hear on Agenda Dialogues:

"We think that businesses need AI now more than ever. Governments, constituents, stakeholders need AI more than ever. And the broader society we think needs it." - Sabastian Niles, President and Chief Legal Officer, Salesforce

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"This is a fascinating topic. It is the most fast-moving topic in terms of governance and geopolitics that I have experienced in my professional career and our panel is going to try to help us navigate where it's going." - Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group

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"It's very rare as a researcher that you build something that is used overnight, that research and direct world impact collide. And it only happens a few times in history. So, I think what researchers are grappling with is this technology is being used right now, but also the pace of acceleration is felt by, I think, everyone in a nuanced way." - Sara Hooker, Head, Research, Cohere

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More food for thought

"My biggest fear for AI right now is stifling regulation putting a stop to this wonderful progress that otherwise would make so many people in the world have healthier, longer, more fulfilling lives." - Andrew Ng, Founder, Coursera and DeepLearning.AI

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"Systems that are as intelligent, and almost certainly they would be more capable than humans, those systems would be, in a real sense, more powerful than human beings.

But then we need to retain power over them. That's a good trick if you can do it, retain power over something more powerful than you, forever." - Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science, University of California, Berkeley

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"The human frailties and failures that we bring to these technologies. That's what we're guarding against. It's not that the technology is dangerous. It's that we can be dangerous with it." - Jeff Jarvis, author, The Gutenberg Principle

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"Disinformation is already top of mind, concern here in Davos. And unchecked artificial intelligence can make this problem much, much worse." - Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

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"It's super important that we make these technologies more and more accessible in a big way for the broader workforce of tomorrow, because AI and generative AI is the future." - Swami Sivasubramanian, VP of Data and AI, Amazon Web Services

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"You don't need a Ph.D. in neuroscience to know what it's like to hit your thumb with a hammer, and if you haven't done it well, you can just do it. And now you know what it's like, right? So there's this intrinsic advantage that we have for knowing what it's like, knowing what it's like to be jilted by the love of your life, knowing what it's like to lose a parent, knowing what it's like to come bottom in your class at school and so on. So we have this extra comparative advantage over machines." - Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science, University of California, Berkeley

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Shaping the future of artificial intelligence: Reflections from the AI Governance Alliance

Cathy Li

June 13, 2024

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