Commercial

Sibylline on 2024

by Mark Rowe

A trend of political polarisation and loss of trust in institutions poses a challenge for staff safety; and security analysis, says the risk forecasting consultancy Sibylline’s annual report. In 2024, mis- and disinformation will likely reach unprecedented levels, the 144-page document predicts. Fake news and AI-generated images will likely become increasingly intertwined with political debate and proliferate in online discourse. With the rapid advancement of AI, unparalleled risks will likely emerge in the long term, undermining public trust in democracy. The use of AI to spread mis- and disinformation will almost certainly impact tech firms, elevating the reputational risks facing such enterprises.

Climate-related issues will almost certainly drive several risks across a range of sectors in 2024, Sibylline forecasts. Extreme weather events will likely galvanise environmental activism; this will increase the likelihood of business assets perceived to be facilitating climate change being targeted by vandalism, among other types of protest.

Under ‘conflict and extremism’, the consultancy says it’s possible that the Israel-Hamas war will increase the Islamist extremist threat at least until the end of the first quarter of 2024 (though terror cells’ capabilities remain significantly diminished). The most vulnerable jurisdictions in Europe are Belgium, France, Germany and the UK, though there is also an elevated threat in Austria and Sweden, according to the forecast.

In an introduction to the document, Justin Crump, Sibylline CEO, pictured, noted that an ‘unprecedented period of peace and prosperity since the end of the Cold War’ in Europe in particular, has now come to an end. He wrote: “While 2022 proved to be the bloodiest year globally since the late 1980s, casualty figures across the globe in 2023 will almost certainly be higher. This is due not only to the ongoing war in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas crisis, but also an increasing number of often overlooked conflicts globally.

“Against this complex backdrop, we have chosen to highlight five key global themes: the impacts of climate change, the rising tides of conflict and extremism, political polarisation and the erosion of trust, competing geopolitical orders and global economic uncertainty. As ever, these themes do not stand in isolation; they are intertwined and are being accelerated by technical change, particularly (but not solely) in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). We discuss the key impacts of these themes in the first section of this report, breaking down our analysis by region.

“However, we are also tracking 101 major strategic risks across our eight regions of analysis (and cyber). For each region, we outline our top three strategic risks that we assess will impact the safety and security of global organisations’ operations in the coming three, six and 12 months.

“There is no doubt that we live in an increasingly challenging world. This is underscored by the vastly sharpened focus on the resilience needed to mitigate against threats and maximise opportunities. It is therefore not surprising that more decision-makers and senior leaders than ever are demanding ‘risk insight’. Indeed, half the boards surveyed by PwC recently stated that they want more security intelligence, while 61pc of chief security officers (CSOs) revealed that they intend to increase capability. However, while they are focusing on capabilities such as data and technological developments, few have the requisite budget or are adequately integrated with other areas of their businesses.”

See also the firm’s blog. You can request a copy of the forecast through the firm’s website.

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