What will happen in the world in 2024?
I've rubbed the crystal ball, but I'm no further ahead.
I'll just tell you the five questions that would worry me the most.
1) United States
You don't have to be a genius to understand that the US elections in November will be decisive for the entire planet.
It will be decided by a few hundred thousand votes in a few states.
Let's imagine for a moment that Trump is re-elected.
This could potentially be the end of aid to Ukraine, US withdrawal from NATO, environmental disengagement, etc.
His victory will inspire new imitators of his methods. They will tell themselves that you can lie and cheat repeatedly without consequences.
To take on Trump, Democrats will pit him against the least inspiring candidate, to put it mildly, in a long time.
In 2024, if the situation in Ukraine remains faltering, more and more people will question massive economic and military aid that fails to regain lost territory and weaken Putin.
If Western aid to Ukraine is in doubt, the small Baltic states attached to Russia (Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia), which they forcibly annexed to the former Soviet Union and which Putin dreams of restoring, will feel very lonely.
Israel is determined to eliminate Hamas. This is a necessary and legitimate goal.
But we have to start thinking about the post-Hamas era.
Who will rule Gaza? Israel cannot occupy or annex it in the long term.
Fatah, the branch of the Palestinian movement that controls the West Bank, has no credibility in the eyes of Gazans.
Who are the Palestinians who would risk controlling the Gaza Strip under tight Israeli surveillance and being considered collaborators with the enemy?
If the United States withdraws into itself, and if the West focuses its attention on Ukraine and the Middle East, who might seize the opportunity to push its pawns?
China, obviously. At the forefront of his desire is Taiwan.
Crucial elections are scheduled to be held in Taiwan next week. There is a showdown between a candidate who strongly supports Taiwan's autonomy, and another candidate who appears more inclined to reconcile with China.
Basically, 2024 will undoubtedly see the West's loss of influence in the world accelerate.
5) Artificial intelligence
I left university teaching just as artificial intelligence was arriving with force.
As it currently stands, if a student is using the latest versions of ChatGPT with even the slightest skill, it will not be possible to detect cheating at all.
Everything has to be rethought regarding exams, research work to be done, etc.
Artificial intelligence certainly has its virtues, but when the most prominent researchers in the field warn us that they have created something that will escape them, the least we can do is listen to their warnings.
Progress is so rapid that I am both curious and fearful to know where we will be at the end of 2024.
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