The pace at which artificial intelligence (AI) is developing and integrating into our lives is set to accelerate in 2024.
As companies learn to unlock its potential, individuals use it to boost productivity, and legislators scratch their heads and regulate it, AI will become increasingly ubiquitous in everything we do.
Hopefully, 2024 will see us move towards solving some of the thornier issues surrounding this technology. Although barriers to entry have fallen in recent years due to cost and ease of use, there are still issues around trust, bias, accessibility and regulation.
Focusing on solving these problems can put us on the path to unlocking the full potential of AI as we move into the second half of the decade.
Beyond words and pictures
In 2023 the next generation of generative AI tools will go far beyond the chatbots and image generators that dazzled and sometimes scared us. Generative video and music makers are already appearing and will become more powerful and user-friendly. We’ll start to see them embedded in creative platforms and productivity tools, as we’ve seen this year with ChatGPT technology. New and exciting applications such as generative design tools and voice synthesizers will appear. Being able to tell the difference between real and computer-generated will become an even more valuable tool in the critical skills toolbox!
AI has such disruptive potential that it needs to be developed and used in a responsible manner that minimizes its potential for harm. We already know some of the dangerous factors – bias, lack of transparency, potential to displace human jobs, and our inability to say with 100 percent certainty it will never get out of control. In 2024, we will continue to focus on mitigating these issues and being on the lookout for new ones. AI ethicists will be in increasing demand as businesses demonstrate that they are adhering to ethical standards and deploying appropriate security measures.
AI in customer service
Customer service can be an area of business operations where many routine, repetitive processes are occasionally combined with highly complex and critical tasks. This makes it an ideal test for integrating AI into processes, automating the mundane to free up human time for problems that require a human touch. AI can be used to triage initial contact calls, create personalized solutions for common problems, and generate reports and summaries of customer interactions. A Boston Consulting Group survey found that 95 percent of customer service leaders expect their customers to be served by AI bots within the next three years.
Understanding how we can enhance our human intelligence and capabilities to do our jobs faster, more efficiently and more safely will be a key workplace skill in 2024. If you’re a legal eagle, it can help you quickly summarize relevant case law or speed up contract drafting. Doctors will use it to help write patient notes or medical pictures. Coders will use this software to speed up writing and to test and debug their output. If you’re a student, it can help you organize notes and research, and if you’re unemployed, it can help you write your CV and draft cover letters.
This year, everyone was rushing to build generative AI functions into their software and applications. From search engines like Bing and Google to productivity tools like Office, social apps like Snapchat, and industry-specific platforms like Expedia (travel) and Coursera (education), adding chatbot functionality is emerging as an effective strategy to engage the next generation of customers. Service providers may have been held back by uncertainty over experience data protection and consumer privacy concerns, but should begin to address these as AI providers adapt their services to meet market needs. One example is the integration of generative AI into Adobe’s Firefly design tools, trained entirely on proprietary data, to address concerns that copyright and ownership issues may arise in the future.
Low-code and no-code software engineering
In 2019, Gartner predicted that 65 percent of application development will be done with low-code/no-code tools by 2024. This could be perfect, as generative AI tools like ChatGPT allow anyone to build and test applications. in a few minutes. Although I don’t see coding and software engineering jobs disappearing in 2024 (someone needs to build AI tools in the first place), there will be a lot of exciting opportunities for people who have good ideas and love to solve. problem, but hard technical skills are not required.
If you want to work in AI but don’t want to be a computer scientist, good news – 2024 is going to be filled with job opportunities that will suit you. As well as the engineers and technicians needed to build systems, we’ll see opportunities for roles such as prompt engineers, who create instructions to tell AI applications what to do, and AI managers, who oversee teams of virtual workers. There will also be a growing need for AI project managers, trainers and ethicists. On the other hand, if you are a technologist, there are plenty of new jobs available for you in areas like AI engineering and DevOps as well.
There may not be a trend that will immediately affect everyone. But quantum computing – capable of massively scaling certain computation-heavy computing workloads – is finding applications in AI. Quantum algorithms process data using qubits that exist in more than one state at a time, as opposed to traditional computer bits that can only be 1 or 0. This is one of the features that makes them more efficient than classical algorithms for problems. Such as optimization – determining the best combination of many different variables – which is usually handled with machine learning. During 2024, I expect to see more advances in applying quantum computing to power even larger and more complex neural networks and algorithms.
Upskilling for the AI revolution
It is often said these days that AI will not take jobs, but the people who use AI will take jobs from them. If you want to get ahead, it’s a super-smart idea to understand how AI impacts your own job or business and develop the ability to match tasks with the right tool. Forward-thinking employers will look to help their workforce make this transition by integrating AI skills into education and training programs. If you don’t, there are a large number of online resources, many of which are free. So jump in and you’ll be able to find a great employer in no time!
Legislators have never been great at keeping up with technology, but clearly the game-changing nature of AI is making them sit up and take notice. China already has some laws in place – including laws banning the production of non-consensual deepfakes. And jurisdictions including the EU, US and India are developing their own regulations. The UK has proposed a bill that will potentially come into force in 2024 and the EU law is expected to enter into force in early 2025. Each piece of legislation will attempt to strike a balance between protecting citizens from the negative impact of AI. on jobs and privacy, for example, and enabling innovation and commerce. The debate around where the lines are drawn is likely to be a major component of political discourse in 2024.
Read more about these topics in my book, The Internet of the Future: How the Metaverse, Web 3.0 and Blockchain Will Transform Business and Society and ‘Business Trends in Practice’, which won the 2022 Business Book of the Year award. And don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter and follow me X (Twitter), LinkedIn and YouTube for more information on future trends in business and technology.
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