Artificial intelligence has been the defining technology theme of 2023. Recent advancements, particularly in the field of generative AI, have launched the space to one of the most watched and best-funded sectors in all of tech.
The AI boom has sparked questions around safety, productivity and – in the case of ChatGPT maker OpenAI – how to run a company.
As an ever-evolving and fast-paced technology, predicting the future of AI in 2024 and beyond is no easy feat. UKTN has spoken to five industry experts to find out their predictions for the year ahead in AI.
Businesses will get practical
“In the year ahead the big burst of excitement around AI will start to solidify where we will see businesses take on more of a practical approach on where it can drive value, whether it’s generative AI or classical AI. This did not happen with the metaverse and blockchain wave five years ago.
“Now that organisations are having a greater handle on their data, this allows for them to create a hyper-personalised experience for end users or the workforce. One use case arising out of this is being able to tailor our working or learning or living experiences to our own working patterns and historical data and preferences. We could do this before but now we can do so more precisely and efficiently.”
– Linda Yao, COO and head of strategy, Lenovo Solutions & Services Group
Upskilling will be a priority
“When entering the new year, we should be talking about reskilling and upskilling rather than how AI might bring about the demise of work.
“Workers will not necessarily be displaced by automation and AI. Instead, as the nature of the work shifts, it demands different skills and this is going to impact the managerial level in particular. If all you’re doing is supervising processes and production, this work is likely to be perfect for AI to do better and cheaper.
“However, the need for high-value work is only going to increase, especially when building the right team dynamic, shaping culture, motivating people and helping them grow. This is the human touch that will coexist with AI and, in this sense, I like the idea of seeing AI as a co-pilot for complex human work, such as leadership.
– Farley Thomas, CEO, Manageable
Regulation will be a serious geopolitical issue
“In 2024, we will see AI regulation become a serious geopolitical issue as governments seek to protect their most successful AI companies, which are now seen as strategic assets.
“We should also expect to see significant lobbying efforts from both the AI safety lobby (advocating for regulation or a pause in AI capabilities progress) and from the AI accelerationist world (advocating for open-source AI models and pushing back against any attempts at regulation).
“The debate between the two will break into the political mainstream following the Sam Altman and OpenAI drama.”
– James Clough, co-founder and CTO, Robin AI
Traditional software startups will integrate AI
“With a greater shift towards profitability, we will see more integration of AI into ‘traditional’ software start-ups to reduce operational costs & boost profitability.”
“Whilst many will continue to prioritise customer-facing AI solutions over internal AI projects, those that prioritise more complex integrations that will transform business processes will be the real winners.”
– John Frizelle, CTO, Sure Valley Ventures
Three different AI rulebooks
“Many were disappointed with the output, and some with the run-up to the UK’s AI Safety Summit held earlier this year. While critics will say that it lacked substance and focussed too much on doom-mongering, keen observers will have noticed that this revealed a lot about the UK’s attitude to regulation. In short, the UK’s attitude to AI development is play, but play safely.
“This differs from the approach of the US, which targets specific areas of risk, such as misinformation generated by AI and AI-powered cyber attacks. The EU then is taking a more bureaucratic approach, categorising AI into supposedly future-proof definitions, which then inform how much risk that AI poses and what the approach will be to regulate it.
“What this means is that we’re going to see three distinct rule books develop across these three markets. 2024 will see these rulebooks get tighter, which is going to catch out those companies who didn’t start building their data infrastructure that underpins AI use.”
– Dr. Richard Bownes, principal, AI and ML, Kin + Carta