In 2017, George Soros attended Davos, where he spoke about the potential disintegration of the European Union. He also expressed concerns about the rising influence of superpowers China and Russia. However, he did acknowledge that China did still need Europe as a market, and that Russia still relied on Europe for manufacturing and production, since much of Russia’s economy relies on natural resources.
Unsurprisingly, he still had criticisms about the two countries, as he believes that Putin is truly seeking to undermine democratic values. He also pointed out that Putin had “exercised a nefarious influence” on Trump during this appearance, and spoke vocally about the fact that Putin had seemed to completely side with Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Soros spoke specifically about the fact that Brexit was only adding to the chaos surrounding the European Union, as well, and that “the EU has become dysfunctional, because it is governed by laws that are not appropriate to the current circumstances.”
Soros At Davos 2019
Many were surprised to find that George Soros did not take the opportunity to speak about politics, societal issues, or “open borders”, but focused on artificial intelligence at Davos 2019. In fact he took the time to warn about artificial intelligence. He certainly didn’t downplay the threat that the technology imposes, characterizing it as a “mortal threat” to humanity.
This time, he specifically said that artificial intelligence was a threat because of China’s interest in it. He claimed that China was the most technologically advanced country in the world, and also an authoritarian country, suggesting that this particular combination was lethal. This is somewhat interesting, considering the fact that most consider Trump and Soros diametrically opposed on many issues – yet both have expressed grave concern about China’s role in shaping the future.
Soros specifically pointed out that China’s president was a global threat, stating:
“This makes Xi Jinping the most dangerous opponent to open societies.”
While the United States is also working hard with regards to developing artificial intelligence technology, there are many who believe that China is now taking the lead with regards to technology. Google China’s former president and now CEO of an AI venture fund, Kai-Fu Lee, gave examples of how China is rising with regards to status, pointing out the fact that the United States is losing its status with regards to technological innovation:
“Companies are no longer the X, Y, Z of China, where previously X, Y, Z were American. Now a lot of companies are copying them. China is building better products. Look at WeChat, it’s better than Facebook Messenger, and Weibo is better than Twitter.”
Victoria Liset is strategic business & technology consultant to SMEs. She helps businesses improve their performance by using data more efficiently, and helping them to understand the implications of new technologies such as AI, Machine Learning, Big data, blockchain and IoT.