Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'Lead Advisor To The World Economic Forum' Revealing Plan To Hook 'Useless People' On Drugs And Video Games In 2023

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'Lead Advisor To The World Economic Forum' Revealing Plan To Hook 'Useless People' On Drugs And Video Games In 2023 Out Of Context

Did a video on social media capture "the lead advisor to the World Economic Forum" advocating for making "useless people" addicted to drugs and video games? No, that's not true: The recording showed a pre-pandemic discussion about the societal dangers stemming from rapid technological development and growing health care inequalities. One of the two participants, Yuval Harari, is not "the lead advisor to the World Economic Forum," and the context makes it clear that he was concerned about the potential challenges of the future.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on Instagram on November 3, 2023. It opened with a gray-haired bearded man stating:

This is the lead adviser to the World Economic Forum. And this is what he's saying out loud, out loud. They're telling you what they're planning and this is insane.

That was followed by a video quote from a different man's speech:

The problem is more boredom and how to, what to do with them and how will they find some sense of meaning in life when they are basically a meaningless, worthless? My best guess at present is a combination of drugs and computer games.

This is what it looked like at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-11-07 at 9.32.49 AM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tue Nov 7 13:32:49 2023 UTC)

The video quote appeared with the text overlay:

[Yu]val Noah Harari is a lead advisor to Klaus Schwab.
[Kla]us Schwab is the author of COVID-19 / The Great Reset ...

The man whose words were reused in the post on Instagram was indeed Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli-born historian, philosopher and lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (archived here.)

The quote derived from his videotaped conversation (archived here) on March 4, 2015, with Daniel Kahneman (archived here), an Israeli-American scholar whose work exploring the intersection of psychology and economics led to a Nobel Prize in 2002 and a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.

Contrary to the claim, the scholars do not make any evil plans in public -- they express concern about the dangers the world may witness as the societal response to technological advancements simultaneously spreads to different areas of human lives.

That becomes self-evident from the context of the conversation:

KAHNEMAN: What I find difficult to imagine is that as people are becoming unnecessary, the translation of that into sort of 20th-century terms is mass unemployment. Mass unemployment means social unrest. And it means there are things going to happen, processes going to happen in society, as a result of people becoming superfluous, and that is a gradual process, people becoming superfluous.

We may be seeing that in the growing inequality now, we may be seeing the beginning of what you're talking about. But have you thought, in the same way as you're thinking in interesting and novel ways about technology, have you thought about the social side?

HARARI: Yes, the social side is the more important and more difficult one. I don't have a solution, and the biggest question maybe in economics and politics of the coming decades will be what to do with all these useless people. I don't think we have an economic model for that. My best guess, which is just a guess, is that food will not be a problem. With that kind of technology, you will be able to produce food to feed everybody. The problem is more boredom, and what to do with people, and how will they find some sense of meaning in life when they are basically meaningless, worthless.

My best guess at present is a combination of drugs and computer games as a solution for most ... it's already happening. Under different titles, different headings, you see more and more people spending more and more time, or solving their inner problems with drugs and computer games, both legal drugs and illegal drugs. But this is just a wild guess.

What I can say is that maybe we are again in analogous position to the world in 1800. When the Industrial Revolution begins, you see the emergence of new classes of people. You see the emergence of a new class of the urban proletariat, which is a new social and political phenomenon. Nobody knows what to do with it. There are immense problems. And it took a century and more of revolutions and wars for people to even start coming up with ideas what to do with the new classes of people.

The longer quote above shows that Harari never said it was his plan or proposal to any international organization or government. Instead of praising such an outcome as a desired one, he warns about it.

The idea about the loss of meaning in ordinary people's lives as a response to an imbalanced society comes from the theory of alienation.

The conversation was published by Edge.com, which describes itself as a "nonprofit private operating foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code," not by the World Economic Forum.

While both organizations largely function as platforms for the exchange of ideas, they are not the same entity.

Like many other intellectuals and political figures, Harari did address the World Economic Forum and published articles on its website, but his name is nowhere to be found on the page describing the Forum's governing structure (archived here):

Screen Shot 2023-11-07 at 12.56.32 PM.png(Source: WeForum.org screenshot taken on Tue Nov 7 18:56:32 2023 UTC)

Over the years, Lead Stories has debunked multiple false claims targeting Harari and the World Economic Forum.

While false statements about both generally vary, this particular post on Instagram tied the claim that is the focus of this fact check to the Great Reset conspiracy that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. In that worldview, the spread of the virus was somehow orchestrated by the global elite plotting to depopulate the Earth, among many other evil objectives.

As reported by the BBC (archived here), the name of the conspiracy is a reference to King Charles III, still the Prince of Wales in the summer of 2020: At the time, he called to look at the pandemic as a Great Reset of the global economy; that take was supported by the founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab. The project (archived here) aimed "to bring the world's best minds together to seek a better, fairer, greener, healthier planet as we rebuild from the pandemic."

Other Lead Stories fact checks on claims related to Great Reset are here.

Other Lead Stories fact checks about COVID-19 can be found here.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion