An Outlook for Technology Trends in 2024
- Jan 8, 2024
- Kate Gill
Today’s global and fast-paced society is continuously propelled by technological innovation. Developers seek to deliver, monitor, and refine new technology, while businesses determine how they will optimize their technology environments and regulators assess their role in this dynamic field.
With 2023 concluded, we look forward to the advancements 2024 holds. Trends to follow include artificial intelligence (“AI”), quantum computing, sustainable technology and cybersecurity.
Artificial Intelligence Advancements
In 2024, initiatives to integrate AI into everyday use will refine AI’s natural language processing, computer vision, and reinforcement learning. Companies and regulators will need to assess how AI can be integrated into operations and regulated.
The deployment of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini, Bing Chat, and similar AI platforms present the power of natural language processing, according to TechTarget. In other words, they enhance human-computer communications. In the following years, the Gleematic notes that data collected from these platforms will be tested and monitored to improve customer service chatbots, translation of conversations, data analytics, health care applications (i.e., medical record analysis), and various other processes.
According to IBM, computer vision “is a field of artificial intelligence (AI) that enables computers and systems to derive meaningful information from digital images, videos and other visual inputs — and take actions or make recommendations based on that information.” An example is reCAPTCHA, a user validation system which differentiates humans and bots by presenting an image and key word, and the user must select any image in which the key word is present. The process builds the knowledge base for computer vision and image recognition algorithms.
The growth of computer vision assists in the development of medical imaging, facial recognition and automated vehicles. The introduction of these platforms to the public reduces the barriers for individuals and businesses to benefit from the technology and fosters AI’s reinforcement learning. The concept of reinforcement learning is similar to how humans learn through experience and repetition. Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) defines reinforcement learning as “a machine learning (ML) technique that trains software to make decisions to achieve the most optimal results…. Software actions that work towards your goal are reinforced, while actions that detract from the goal are ignored.” Human feedback and interaction with AI will assist in the reinforcement learning process.
Companies will need to evaluate their current hardware and software configurations and determine how AI can be integrated into their operations and current technological environment. Developers will seek to create beneficial applications from the knowledge collected and review how AI will converge with other advancing technologies (blockchain, quantum computing, cloud storage, etc.).
The potential powers of AI provide hope for future efficiencies and advancements, but also bring to light the need for regulation and legislation. There are several questions regarding how data is obtained, used, and protected and what information is training AI systems. Is the information valid or biased? Automation also threatens the human labor force and pre-existing jobs. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has constructed the blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights. The blueprint is built on five principles: 1) safe and effective systems, 2) algorithmic discrimination protections, 3) data privacy, 4) notice and explanation, and 5) human alternatives, consideration, and fallback. In 2024, regulators and law makers will need to follow and understand how this technology should be regulated.
Quantum Computing Advancements
Present day society utilizes classic supercomputers, which generate solutions using binary-code-based mechanics. According to McKinsey, “when classical computers solve a problem with multiple variables, they must conduct a new calculation every time a variable changes. Each calculation is a single path to a single result.” This is a time-consuming process, which requires significant storage.
In comparison to traditional computers, IBM stated that quantum is based on the principles of quantum physics, which “utilizes qubits (CUE-bits) to run multidimensional quantum algorithms.” This allows the quantum computer to simultaneously assess different possible outcomes to a problem.
Technology leaders such as IBM, Google and Microsoft to name a few will continue the race to build the quantum computer. Quantum computing will ideally improve financial modeling, traffic optimization, and drug and chemical research. As the technology is worked on, engineers will have to find ways to integrate quantum computing into everyday practical uses so that individuals and businesses can benefit from it. In turn, regulators must assess what legislation is needed.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise noted “sustainable technology is the combination of two complementary ideas. The first is technology that is meant to remedy, improve, or offset carbonization, environmental setbacks, or problems. The second is technology that is produced using green or ecologically responsible materials or processes.”
Society has seen the development of wind power and solar panels which strive to reduce overall reliance on fossil fuels; while processes such as solar desalination (a process which converts saline water into consumable water) address water shortages, and vertical farming enhance food production in areas with limited land. The technology has and will continue to be refined to optimally offset carbon emissions and address environmental issues. Secondly, companies have substituted traditional plastic packaging with plant-based materials, and recycling processes for e-waste and other general waste are continuously evaluated for improvement.
Regulators are assessing their role in establishing climate-oriented legislation for financial reporters. In 2022 the EU adopted the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) and the SEC proposed Release No. 33-11042 The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors. The SEC’s proposal requires registrants to disclose climate-related risks reasonably likely to have a material impact on its business, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate-related financial metrics. Despite historical setbacks, the SEC seeks to finalize the proposal in 2024.
Transparency regarding carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions holds companies accountable and allows them to evaluate their implementation of sustainable technology. In 2024, companies will pursue guidance on how to simultaneously comply and improve their environmental metrics. Ideally, climate-oriented legislation will foster investment in sustainable technology.
As technology advances, so do cyberattacks. According to Forbes, by year-end 2023 the cost of cyber-attacks on the U.S. economy was predicted to top $10.5 trillion dollars.
AI will present a unique challenge, as it can simultaneously be used for cyber-crime and cybersecurity. For example, an AI attack may include an “automated malware that intelligently adapts in order to evade detection;” however, AI will be programmed to “detect, evade or neutralize threats.” Companies and cyber attackers will be at odds to generate the better AI.
Additionally, AI can be utilized to create sophisticated and targeted phishing attacks and target the ever-growing internet of things (IoT). As more appliances (thermostats, cars, lights, refrigerators) and data are uploaded to the cloud, there is additional vulnerability for data breaches or appliance override. These issues take forms ranging from fraudulent emails requesting money or personal data to recent car thefts due to the manipulation of car key fobs and other electric car components and beyond.
To counter the threat of cybersecurity issues, companies will need to hire more cybersecurity specialists. There are predictions that eventually a board position will be created that focuses on cybersecurity.
There is currently a shortage of individuals with the skills necessary to address these demands. In 2024, there will be significant investment into the labor market and companies focused on cybersecurity. Corporations will host trainings to target these issues as well as assess how they are managing these threats.
Technology is an ever-changing and dynamic set of tools that enable significant progress in all sectors of the economy. As new advancements are made, it is important for individuals, corporations, and regulators to stay current and cautiously navigate through the developments.
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