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Predictions 2024: Artificial intelligence

The hottest topic of 2023, artificial intelligence (AI), has not only generated lots of interest this year, it has pundits of all descriptions coming out of the woodwork with predictions of what will happen in 2024. Their opinions may differ, but they’re in agreement about one thing: the excitement isn’t going to abate any time soon.

Here’s a look at some of their predictions.

Observability and IT management software vendor SolarWinds believes that the complexity of today’s enterprise IT environments, along with resource constraints and mounting workloads, is pushing IT teams towards AI-powered automation.

“As AI becomes more sophisticated and its application more widespread – from consumer uses like ChatGPT to impactful enterprise implementations like automated service delivery and anomaly detection – it’s no longer the presence of AI that’s notable, but the application of it,” said Jeff Stewart, vice president of global solutions engineering at SolarWinds.

The company predicts that organizations will embrace Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) to support busy teams, noting that AIOps are paving the way toward autonomous operations, which will require little to no human intervention, and IT Service Management (ITSM) will support faster, more successful IT outcomes using AI-powered tools.

Analytics and AI experts at SAS came up with a dozen predictions, noting that AI is everywhere, and “stories are rampant about its promise and its threat.” Here’s a selection of their thoughts.

First, Bryan Harris, chief technology officer at SAS, who took aim at generative AI (GenAI), noting, “GenAI does a lot of things, but it can’t do everything. In 2024, organizations will pivot from viewing generative AI as a stand-alone technology to integrating it as a complement to industry-specific AI strategies.”

Udo Sglavo, vice president of advanced analytics, touched on jobs, saying, “In 2023, there was a lot of worry about the jobs that AI might eliminate. The conversation in 2024 will focus instead on the jobs AI will create. AI helps workers at all skill levels and roles to be more effective and efficient. And while new AI technologies in 2024 and beyond may cause some short-term disruptions in the job market, they will spark many new jobs and new roles that will help drive economic growth.”

But not all is rosy, said Stu Bradley, senior vice president of risk, fraud and compliance solutions. “Even as consumers signal increased fraud vigilance, GenAI and deepfake technology are helping fraudsters hone their multi-trillion-dollar craft. Phishing messages are more polished. Imitation websites look stunningly legitimate. A crook can clone a voice with a few seconds of audio using simple online tools. We are entering the Dark Age of Fraud, where banks and credit unions will scramble to make up for lost time in AI adoption – incentivized, no doubt, by regulatory shifts forcing financial firms to assume greater liability for soaring APP [authorized push payment] scams and other frauds.”

And the CIO will face additional challenges too, added Jay Upchurch, the company’s chief information officer. “CIOs have struggled with ‘shadow IT’ in the past and will now confront ‘shadow AI’ – solutions used by or developed within an organization without official sanction or monitoring by IT,” he said. “Well-intentioned employees will continue to use generative AI tools to increase productivity. And CIOs will wrestle daily with how much to embrace these generative AI tools and what guardrails should be put in place to safeguard their organizations from associated risks.”

In the HR realm, “AI will bridge the gap between managers and their direct reports,” said Somen Mondal, general manager, talent intelligence at global human capital management company Ceridian. “In 2024, AI will fill the missing gaps that managers have inadvertently caused. Whether it’s crafting more thoughtful performance reviews or identifying internal growth opportunities for their direct reports, AI will provide much needed support on tasks where managers are either inexperienced or too burnt out to handle. These AI capabilities will help them become stronger managers, in turn allowing them to better empower their direct reports.”

Human resources also prompted James Beer, senior vice president operations for digital infrastructure provider Hut 8, and colleague Josh Rayner, vice president of high performance computing, to collaborate on this prediction: “Outside of business, governments – among the largest employers in many Western countries – will also start integrating AI into their systems in 2024 to help manage their extensive human resource functions, service operations, employee training, and launching national-level AI programs. Expect to see governments continue to deliberate and educate the private sector on AI privacy concerns and policies, as they continue to integrate AI into their service operations over the year ahead.”

“The future of AI is verticalized,” observed Pete Reilly, COO of enterprise analytics firm AnswerRocket. “From ChatGPT to Bard, we saw our fair share of general-purpose AI tools come to light this year. In 2024, we can expect to see a new wave of AI technology that will be tailored to each industry and individual profession. As opposed to the mainstream conversational AI tools many businesses are using today, tailored AI technologies will be more well-versed in each domain. Both organizations and their employees will be able to obtain reliable and deeper insights to become more productive and strategic than ever before.”

Like SAS’s Bradley, Joey Stanford, vice president of data privacy and compliance at Platform as a Service (PaaS) provider for developers, also targeted security. “AI security will not keep up with the potential for threats next year, in part because the broad use of AI is outpacing our collective ability to understand it and establish guardrails. There are many inherent problems with AI models, one being the ability for political agendas and other motives to influence output skewed AI models will continue to create issues in 2024.”

Sabrina Gross, regional director of strategic partners at digital identity verification and biometrics authentication vendor Veridas has regulations on her mind. “With the increased use of AI, we will see more discussions and regulation efforts around the world to set up AI safeguards in 2024. We’ve already seen discussions in 2023 with the EU’s AI Act, the U.K. AI Summit and Biden’s Executive Order on AI. However, in 2024, safeguards will begin to focus on how accurately AI performs – especially when these systems do not have enough information or lack clear instruction.”

CEO of Canadian AI chip maker Untether AI, Arun Iyengar contemplated government too, but in a different context, noting, “policymakers and technology leaders will finally pay attention to AI’s energy consumption problem.”

His second prediction was a bit more disturbing: “There will be a decrease in humans training AI; AI will start training AI. In 2024, AI will begin getting smart enough to take over these jobs, and AI will be sophisticated enough to start training itself.”

Dr. John Pritchard, chief product officer at identity data management firm Radiant Logic said, “much like what we saw with networking, cloud computing and mobile apps, the early market begins with euphoria, followed by a period of diffusion, before becoming mainstream. AI will go through a similar adoption curve through 2024. When it comes to enterprise software specifically, I expect to see major advancements in the augmented workforce as AI accelerates and improves human capabilities. Although there is early concern about AI replacing the human worker, I see augmentation as a bigger near-term change as AI starts to drive hyper-automation. We see this in software development, marketing content generation, document editing and even movie production.”

For developers, Elizabeth Lawler, CEO of  developer tool vendor AppMap, predicts, “GenAI and AI coding assistants will move from what some people call “junior developer” level, with a 25-30 per cent code acceptance rate status, to CTO status through embedded context. The ability to add more context, including runtime context, will exponentially increase the value and massively improve the acceptance rate (70 per cent and better) of AI generated code”

Finally, Devavrat Shah, Co-CEO and founder of generative AI platform vendor Ikigai Labs predicts yet another twist on GenAI: LGMs. He said, “today, nearly every organization is experimenting with LLMs (large language models) in some way. Next year, another major AI technology will emerge alongside LLMs: Large Graphical Models (LGMs). An LGM is a probabilistic model that uses a graph to represent the conditional dependence structure between a set of random variables. LGMs are probabilistic in nature, aiming to capture the entire joint distribution between all variables of interest. They are particularly suitable for modeling tabular data, such as data found in spreadsheets or tables.

“Enterprises already have tons of time-series data, so it’ll be easy for them to begin getting value from LGMs. As a result, in 2024, LGM adoption will take off, particularly in retail and healthcare.”

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