Once again, we’ve reached the time of year when we’re looking at what technology has in store for us in 2024. Digital transformation doesn’t end – it’s an ongoing process, and advancing trends make 2023 one of the most. The exciting years of innovation will continue to shape our world in many exciting ways.
Machine intelligence, blurring the boundaries between real and virtual, and shaping the ongoing evolution of the Internet will all have a radical impact on our lives. But perhaps most important is finding ways to continue to grow and prosper while minimizing environmental damage — and perhaps even reversing some of the damage done in the past.
So here’s my overview of these game-changing trends, along with my predictions for how each one will impact lives, society and the planet.
Generative AI – Everyday Automation
2023 was the year when generative AI went mainstream. 2024 will be the year that the world realizes how powerful and useful it really can be. Today, if you are not a technician, just a phrase artificial intelligence (AI) can cause a shiver of fear – if you’re not worried about it taking over the world or destroying the human race, you’ll be nervously waiting for it to steal your job and make you redundant.
But people will understand its potential as generative AI enters more applications we use every day, from search engines to office software, design packages and communication tools. Used correctly, it’s like having a super-smart personal assistant on hand 24/7, making us more efficient, faster and more productive.
Most importantly, by giving it to your everyday hands Brain function – Getting information, scheduling, managing compliance, organizing ideas, designing projects – for AIs, we’ll have more time to leverage our truly human skills. We will spend more time being creative, finding new ideas and original thoughts, or interacting with humans than programming machines. With the genie out of the bottle, and with undeniable challenges around ethics and regulation still to be resolved, I believe 2024 will be the year when everyone realizes how transformative generative AI will be in our lives.
The real and the digital are increasingly intertwined. Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and the Immersive Internet Breaking down the barriers between the physical world and the digital domain where we spend more and more of our time. More than ever, we exist as digital avatars in a virtual environment. This is true for work, where we collaborate and play remotely through platforms like Zoom, Teams and Slack, where online gaming and e-sports are more popular than ever. We use social apps like TikTok and Instagram to create virtual spaces where we share moments from our “real” lives – curated and filtered to create a digital persona. Virtual self
Across industries, we see this concept emerging in this form Digital twin – A virtual representation of a real-world object, system or process. It can be as simple as an individual entity or as complex as an entire city or ecosystem. Importantly, the digital twin is created from data captured from its real-world counterpart. Advances in the science of genomics mean we can break down the fundamental essence of life into digital code, which can then be manipulated and reconstructed in the real world to create new drugs and eradicate diseases.
In 2024, we will continue to see less and less difference between the real world and the virtual world. This means that digital is becoming more and more realistic and as flexible and malleable as real digital.
Sustainable technology will take center stage in 2024 as countries and corporations continue to work towards meeting net-zero commitments. At the same time, individuals will increasingly take advantage of technology to reduce their personal impact on the environment.
Sustainable technologies include environmentally friendly ways of doing things we already do – such as electric cars, bikes and public transport which will continue to increase their market share in 2024. It also includes new solutions to environmental problems such as carbon capture. storage, as well as green and renewable energy technologies. The circular economy is set to become an increasingly important concept as sustainability, reusability and recyclability are built directly into products at the design stage. And the tech world will further embrace ideas like green cloud computing, where infrastructure and services prioritize reducing energy use and carbon emissions, and sustainable apps – software tools designed to help us live in a more environmentally friendly way.
Challenges that developers and users of sustainable technologies will face in 2024 will include the need to develop ethical and sustainable methods for sourcing and extracting materials needed for production equipment, infrastructure demands arising from changing consumer habits such as the adoption of electric vehicles. Potential disparities in the ability to access green alternatives among different geographic or socio-economic groups. We will also be increasingly alert to the presence of Greenwashing – Superficial efforts aimed at generating positive PR around certain technologies.
Research indicates that one in two businesses have been the victim of a successful cyber attack in the past three years, and the cost of these attacks on the industry is expected to exceed $10 trillion by the end of 2024. In this rapidly-evolving threat, technology solutions designed to strengthen defenses and give us a fighting chance are high on every organization’s must-have list.
Cyber resilience goes beyond cyber security, as it also includes measures taken to recover and ensure continuity in the event of a security breach or circumstances beyond our control. This could mean remote working processes to ensure businesses can function when employees cannot reach a central location – a technology solution not traditionally considered a component of cyber security.
Automation of cyber defenses through AI and machine learning, unified frameworks that integrate security measures with consistency protocols, and awareness of societal factors from social engineering attacks to PR firefighting are all essential components of a cyber resilience strategy.
Cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and competition is intensifying to bring new solutions to market leveraging modern technologies such as AI. This ensures that cyber resilience 2024 will become an increasingly prominent trend across business and consumer technology.
Quantum computing has been talked about for some time now and I believe 2024 will mark the year when it is set to transition into tangible benefits. Quantum computers are capable of performing a large number of calculations simultaneously using weird and wonderful elements of quantum physics, such as quantum entanglement and superposition. This enables them to operate using quantum bits (qubits) that can exist in multiple states at the same time, instead of a state of 1 or 0 like traditional computer bits.
Early investors in quantum technology include banks and financial services institutions that hope to harness the power of AI systems developed in recent years for fraud detection, risk management and high-frequency trading.
Quantum computing won’t accelerate every task we use computers for, but in 2024, I think we’ll start seeing benefits as it’s applied to a variety of computationally-heavy fields, including drug discovery, genome sequencing, cryptography, meteorology, physical science, etc. Optimization of complex systems such as traffic flow through large cities and even the discovery of extraterrestrial life.
These are all areas that have enormous potential to solve the challenges we and our planet face, and I’m excited to see what quantum computing will achieve in the near future.
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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