Is AI a Bigger Threat to Humanity than Climate Change?

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Despite 2023 set to become the hottest year on record, it’s AI that people fear as the biggest threat to the world. 

With COP28 starting this week, online discussions around the climate crisis have been falling steadily since 2022 (a drop of -12%). At the same time, mentions around AI and its impact on our lives have rocketed +342% in the same period. 

That’s according to new research from BayWa-re, which details how 2021’s COP26, dubbed “the world’s best last chance” permeated public consciousness on a far bigger scale than this year’s COP28. 

Meanwhile, AI has dominated the last 12 months. With the dawn of ChatGPT and other generative AI models, the world has witnessed the abilities of these technologies to change how we live and work. 

Not just in how AI can be used to deploy time-saving efficiencies in our everyday lives, but in how it can mimic us and even eliminate the need for human influence. This has inevitably led to much discussion around the destructive potential of the technology. 

In fact, research shows us that, when compared to climate change, people are more focused on the potential impacts AI can have on human life.

Mentions of AI in the context of ‘the end of the world’ are 8% higher than climate change, while mentions around the climate crisis in this respect have fallen by almost a quarter (-23.5%) since 2022. 

This is all in spite of countries around the globe seeing a significant acceleration of natural disasters, scientists agreeing that this is only the beginning of these kinds of climate events, and the IPCC’s AR6 Synthesis Report Climate Change 2023 underlining how humanity has reached a ‘critical moment in history’.

Do you think AI presents a serious threat to the world as we know it? Let us know in the comments below!


This research is from a study conducted using Brandwatch, looking at online conversations related to climate change, COP conferences and artificial intelligence. It reviewed more than 41 million online data points, analysing trends across social media, news and blogging platforms - from January 2022 – November 2023.



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