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  • Writer's pictureElin Hauge

2024 - the year of friction and alignment

2023 gave us a paradigm shift in the public understanding of and interest in artificial

intelligence. What's up for 2024?

 

When chatGPT was launched in November 2022, artificial intelligence became THE topic on everybody's lips within a few weeks. Even though artificial intelligence had been an academic discipline for about 60 years and a commercial topic for at least a decade, it was not until the power of statistics applied to linguistics, aka LLMs (Large Language Models), unfolded on our digital screens that the general public realised both the exciting and problematic potential of artificial intelligence.

 

Will 2024 bring another major technological disruption of similar scale as Large Language Models? I personally believe that we are going to see several very significant technology breakthroughs, but not a disruption of the scale of chatGPT.

 

HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE AS CRITICAL ENABLERS

Without hardware, no data processing. Without data processing, no AI. To continue the advancements of AI, we will need significant developments in both hardware and software. Examples of areas where we can expect significant developments are:

  • Microchips and semiconductors: Moore's law is not sufficient in terms of increased processing capacity, so we will need new and hyper scalable solutions to hardware for data processing. In addition, the world's supply of precious metals is limited both by resource availability and political and military conflicts, forcing innovation in chip design.

  • Architecture and tools for building custom enterprise AI applications on top of Large Language Models

  • Tools and frameworks for data transparency, human impact assessments, and accountability according to new regulations and standards for code of conduct

 

APPLICATIONS AND USE-CASES - RETHINKING THE ROLE OF MATHEMATICS IN UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD

As a professional speaker on the topic of artificial intelligence, I sometimes get the question "could you please list all the relevant use-cases for AI in our industry?" No, I cannot, simply because the potential use-cases are infinite. Instead, we need to re-think how we understand the world through the lenses of mathematics applied to large amounts of data. The term 'artificial intelligence' in itself is confusing; it alludes to something of almost magical powers beyond our human  understanding and control. It is not; it is mathematics applied to large amounts of data. We have been working with big data and digital transformation for more than a decade. Now we are at a stage where we have the data, we have the digital processes, and it's time to start using mathematics to interpret, predict, and create (generate). 2024 will bring vast numbers of new applications and use-cases for artificial intelligence, and leaders will be forced to start changing their mindset from data as a bi-product to data as the essence of the business.

 

THE AI HYPE WILL COOL DOWN

We are likely to see a beginning cool-down in the hype around artificial intelligence in general and generative AI in particular. Just like the metaverse predictions of market value of 1tn USD by 2030, the hockey stick projections for generative AI will also be debunked. Contrary to the metaverse madness, however, AI is not going to die like a firefly. AI is here to stay, simply because it is not the whimsical vision of a tech tycoon; it is mathematics applied to large amounts of data. We have the data, we have the digital processes, we have the methods and tools, and we have the processing power. The next stage will be about pragmatic applications and everyday alignment with our human processes in businesses and societies. Beyond imagination, no doubt. But it's not magic. It's maths.

 

SOME JOBS WILL DISAPPEAR, BUT NOT IN THE MILLIONS

This Christmas Holiday gave me an important reminder of the gap between the world as it appears from inside the tech bubble and the world as it appears on the outside. I spent Christmas with my nephews and nieces in the Norwegian countryside. My husband and I were the only ones present working in the tech industry, the rest of the family are primary school teachers, kindergarten teachers, machine operators, construction workers, sales reps, heavy transport drivers, etc. Through four days together we talked about AI for a maximum of five minutes in total. Not because they are illiterate or uninformed, on the contrary, but because the applications and implications of artificial intelligence are in reality of very limited importance to them. Although AI tools we be both useful, necessary, and omnipresent, they are still only tools, not life-changing events.

 

Yes, a significant number of jobs will disappear over the next handful of years as a consequence of the utilization of AI. Many jobs will change. A lot of new jobs will emerge. However, using AI to explain and defend the large lay-offs we have seen in 2023 will have to be called out as smoke screens for poor economic management and the obvious consequences of hockey stick growth projections of anything digital over the last handful of years, including the covid home office era.

 

REGULATION AND FRICTION

Governments all over the world are deliberating and implementing regulation of artificial intelligence. Given very different judicial traditions and systems, regulation is taking different shapes and forms in different regions. In Europe, the EU is closing in on the final conclusion on the new AI Act. One can argue that any of these regulations are both constructive and destructive. However, the bottom line is that we need regulation of artificial intelligence, it has not been done before, and we are going to make mistakes. There will be friction. However, friction is better than a big black hole of anarchy.

 

2024 WILL BE A YEAR OF ELECTIONS AND THREATS TO DEMOCRACY

Many countries around the world are holding elections in 2024; USA, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Venezuela, Portugal, just to mention a few. In addition, the European Parliament election takes place in June. The role of AI in fake news and misinformation will become a key concern.

 

A YEAR FOR LEARNING

From my perspective, I hope and believe that leaders will invest in developing and fine-tuning the skills and capabilities that will be key for intelligent, sustainable, and profitable adoption of mathematics applied to large amounts of data, aka artificial intelligence. In the era of AI, decision-making will transition into exception-making, and the understanding of the costs of making the wrong decision will become key to profitable utilization of the AI toolbox.

 

Are you interested in learning more about the role of artificial intelligence in the future of your business? Please reach out for keynotes, board room sparring, workshops, and panel discussions.




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