The world’s richest 62 people now control as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion. Let that sink in—it’s a key finding from a report (PDF) out Monday by Oxfam showing the shocking extent of inequality in the world today. The pattern is even worse when you consider the wealthiest 1 percent of people: they are richer than the other 99 percent combined.
As the world’s business and government leaders gather at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week, the meeting will focus on what advanced technology means for the global economy. This is a big open question. While many who work in high-tech jobs like to think their field is improving the world, the truth looks to be more complicated. There are signs that spreading access to the Internet enhances inequality, for example. Workers like those in Silicon Valley, who are blessed with ample technological resources, may be on the right side of a winner-take-all economy. And what of the increasing automation of jobs? Are robots robbing the working class of a steady paycheck?
Despite their pledge to mull these important, far-reaching issues, the world’s elite aren’t known for coming up with radical solutions at their annual Davos gathering. Indeed, the meeting has a reputation for being a bit of a bubble in which the moneyed pat one another on the back for doing a good job with the world’s economy while fretting about its future. If they are truly concerned about how technology affects inequality, perhaps this year they will spare a bit more time for the latter.
This new data poisoning tool lets artists fight back against generative AI
The tool, called Nightshade, messes up training data in ways that could cause serious damage to image-generating AI models.
Rogue superintelligence and merging with machines: Inside the mind of OpenAI’s chief scientist
An exclusive conversation with Ilya Sutskever on his fears for the future of AI and why they’ve made him change the focus of his life’s work.
The Biggest Questions: What is death?
New neuroscience is challenging our understanding of the dying process—bringing opportunities for the living.
How to fix the internet
If we want online discourse to improve, we need to move beyond the big platforms.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.