Polarised societies, "weaponised" gadgets and a backlash against globalisation are three of the biggest risks facing the global economy over the next decade, according to the World Economic Forum.

Ahead of its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, next week, the WEF's annual assessment of global threats highlighted the issues that are expected to shape global risks over the next decade. Here are the top five:

Raising global growth

More than eight years after the global financial crisis, growth remains weak and discontent high.

The WEF said "many countries" were gripped by a "mood of economic malaise", which had contributed to "anti-establishment, populist politics and a backlash against globalisation", despite "unprecedented levels of peace and global prosperity".

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It highlighted that raising growth was only part of the solution.

Healing "deeper fractures in our political economy" was also vital to resolve a perception of a "lack of solidarity between those at the top of national income and wealth distributions and those further down".

Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, warned in a recent speech that there was a growing sense of "isolation and detachment" among people who felt left behind by globalisation.

Resolving this would require action to equip workers with the skills needed to adapt to technological change, he said.

Cecilia Reyes, chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance, said the risks that emerged in 2016 were likely to spill over into 2017, raising "questions over the health of democracy itself".

"Even though we've seen a period of global prosperity, there's been a number of social and economic pressures building up that have resulted in dramatic political change that we've seen," she said.

She said some of the respondents to the WEF's survey even believed that the world was close to a "tipping point" towards deglobalisation.

"There is a risk that the world will turn away from globalisation."

But Ms Reyes said blaming globalisation was wrong, as she highlighted the impact of the rise of the machines and automation - dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Technological disruption

The rapid pace of technological change has raised questions about the future of the labour market as well as rising cyber threats.

John Drzik, president of global risk at Marsh, the professional services firm, said technological development had also led to more sophisticated cyber attacks.

Last year, cyber risks were cited as the biggest risk to North America. This year, it was top in several countries, including Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, said Mr Drzik.

"Cyber is the top risk of many of our clients at board level. Artificial intelligence and the 'internet of things' (IoTs) are creating a broader attack surface for cyber attacks."

He said everyday consumer devices were now being used to "bring down internet services".

Citing last October's "Mirai botnet" distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which used everyday devices to bring down some of the world's biggest news and social media sites through their connection to the internet, Mr Drzik said these household gadgets had been "weaponised to bring down many major US internet services for a period of time".

He said: "This was a test of the defensive infrastructure ... What if this attack had more malicious intent? Can you activate these IoTs as weapons?"

Social cohesion

Populism is likely to be a common theme at this year's Forum.

"Increasing polarisation" was ranked by the WEF as the third most important trend for the next 10 years and was cited by almost a third of respondents.

The Forum said "decades of rapid social and economic change" had "widened generation gaps in values, disrupted traditional patterns of affiliation and community, and eroded the support of mainstream political parties".

Donald Trump's victory in the US Presidential election reflected the demographic and cultural divide between generations more than issues over income inequality, according to research cited by the WEF.

Geopolitical threats

The WEF described global developments such as the withdrawal by Russia, South Africa, Burundi and Gambia from the International Criminal Court and China's rejection of a 497-page international ruling tribunal on its territorial claims in the South China Sea as a "worrying sign of deteriorating commitment to global cooperation".

Scrapping the mutual accountability and respect for common norms created by these mechanisms was a dangerous path to follow, the WEF warned.

It said Mr Trump's threat to tear up Iran's nuclear deal and the Paris Climate Change agreement also had significant implications.

Climate change

Environment-related risks stand out in this year's report, with every risk cited now more likely to occur with more devastating consequences than ever.

And it's not just the Paris agreement that policymakers are worried about.

Richard Samans, a member of the managing board of the WEF, highlighted research by the World Bank that warned that water scarcity could cost some regions up to 6pc of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050, spur migration, and spark conflict if not addressed.