Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told an audience at London’s Chatham House on Monday (15 Jan) that he is sanguine about the risk AI poses to political elections.

“Election interference existed before AI,” said Nadella going on to say that the world can learn from these past election cycles.

While Nadella said that there is no question that election interference could be exacerbated by AI, he also noted that there were some “decent technical solutions” to combat disinformation.

Nadella described what he views as a global consensus emerging which considers safety a core feature of AI development. He describes this as a “mature reaction” and is satisfied that “the right things are happening.”

Nadella’s comments come as world leaders meet in Davos to discuss, among other things, the global risk AI poses to elections in a year during which over two billion people will head to the polls across the world. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2024, AI driven election disinformation is the most serious threat to global security in the coming year.

But some, like Nadella, are more optimistic about the potential for AI to increase economic productivity, scientific and medical breakthroughs and improve quality of life for global citizens. Led by Nadella, Microsoft established its AI global leadership role in 2023. The company reportedly owns 49% of leading AI startup ChatGPT maker, OpenAI, and is said to have invested up to $13bn dollars in the startup.

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Following the ousting, and reinstatement reinstatement, of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman by its board in December 2023, Microsoft emerged with a board seat (albeit non-voting) and an unofficial mandate to oversee AI development at OpenAI. Nadella succeeded in protecting Microsoft’s interests during the OpenAI coup and securing the company’s leadership position within AI development.

According to GlobalData thematic intelligence’s TMT 2024 Predictions, the total AI market will be worth $908.7bn by 2030. GlobalData forecasts that the GenAI market will grow from $1.8bn in 2022 to $33bn by 2027, implying a spectacular compound annual growth rate of 80% during this period. Of the five advanced AI technologies, GlobalData cites GenAI as the fastest growing, accounting for 10.2% of the overall AI market by 2027.