As you probably noticed, AI had a bit of a breakthrough year 2023. ChatGPT – as well as a range of other AI tools – wormed their way into the lives of millions of people. As we slide into 2024, they show few signs of budging.
AI is developing so rapidly that many tech leaders think it should be slowed down or even paused. The pace of industry change, as well as the number of companies innovating in the space makes predicting what’s in store for 2024 so difficult.
That being said, there are some important themes and events from 2023 that can give us some indication of what to expect this year.
- AI Job Anxiety Will Get Worse in 2024
- Bard Advanced Features Will Cause a ChatGPT-Style Ripple
- AI Disinformation is Set to Play a Huge Role in Global Election Year
- Academic Chaos Surrounding AI & Plagiarism Detection Will Ensue
- AI Assistants Will Become More Advanced and “Personal”
- Get Used to Seeing More AI in the Healthcare Industry
- New Precedents Will be Set Relating to AI and Copyright Infringement
1. AI Job Anxiety Will Continue to Get Worse in 2024
Last year, amid ChatGPT’s meteoric rise to fame – many experts warned that certain jobs were more at risk than others from being subsumed by AI.
This created a lot of anxiety in specific roles and industries, including administration, content production, graphic design, and even the legal and financial fields, and led many to scramble to find free AI training courses and other ways to learn about AI.
Unfortunately, this trend is likely to continue into 2024 – data from an Ernst & Young study published in late December 2023 showed that the majority of US workers (71%) are concerned about AI and experiencing “AI anxiety”, a larger percentage than the one recorded from LinkedIn's earlier study.
The anxiety exists for a reason – business feedback suggests a diverse range of roles are going to be influenced by AI in 2024. Tech.co’s 2024 Impact of Technology on the Workplace report found that, among business leaders who said they were using AI in their workplaces, use cases were very varied.
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32% said they were using AI for data analysis, while 26% said they were using it for writing tasks. Other top uses included design tasks (19%), recruitment and HR support (15%), and supply chain optimization (10%). In other words, no industry is going to remain unaffected by the rise of AI.
Although many companies are now upskilling and training employees to prepare them for an AI-powered world, the media-induced “robots are taking my job” paranoia will be hard to shake off considering the amount of unchartered territory ahead.
2. Bard Advanced Features Will Cause a ChatGPT-Style Ripple
The news broke shortly after the new year that some Google One users are being given coupon codes for “Bard Advanced”, a yet-to-be-released version of Google’s chatbot, Bard.
Instead of running on PaLM 2 like the free, generally available version of Bard currently does, the exciting thing about Gemini Ultra is that it’s set to be the most advanced and intelligent large language model yet.
According to Google DeepMind, Gemini is more powerful than both GPT 3.5, which powers the free version of ChatGPT, and GPT-4, which powers ChatGPT plus.
There’s very little information available regarding what features the chatbot may have, but considering Bard is already competitive with ChatGPT and this version would be significantly more sophisticated, 2024 could be the year Google leapfrogs its fierce rival.
How ChatGPT responds to this, on the other hand, is equally exciting – as are the strides being made by the likes of Anthropic, which released Claude 2.1 at the end of 2023. The point is, the Bard update seems like it’s going to be a major step change.
3. AI Disinformation is Set to Play a Huge Role in Blockbuster Global Election Year
During 2023, AI chatbots – as well as a variety of other AI tools – helped produce an avalanche of misinformation. Throughout the year, fabricated images, deepfake videos, and manipulative social media posts were generated using artificial intelligence.
Concerningly, this year is a blockbuster election year across the globe – and during election cycles, when the big decision is to be made and the most political content is produced, it’s the perfect time for state as well as vigilante actors to wage disinformation wars.
The US, United Kingdom, India, The EU, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Austria, Venezuela, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Ghana, South Africa, Iran, and Taiwan all have presidential, general or legislative elections in the calendar for 2024, presenting a frightening amount of opportunity for political sabotage.
4. Academic Chaos Surrounding AI Plagiarism Detection
Just six months after ChatGPT’s release back in 2022, around half of students reported they had some experience using it. Unsurprisingly then, it wasn't uncommon to hear tales of students being accused of using AI to cheat on their assignments by academic staff throughout 2023.
However, while AI chatbots are set to become more sophisticated, many of the AI content detection tools available online remain unreliable. There’s lots of evidence to suggest that ChatGPT will continue to pose questions for students and those working in academia.
Another, more recent issue involved Bill Ackman, a billionaire hedge-fund manager who pushed for Claudine Gay, formerly president of Harvard, to resign due to instances of alleged plagiarism in her academic work amid a larger row about comments made during a congressional hearing about anti-semitism on university campuses, for which she has since apologized.
Since 2024 began, Ackman – whose spouse, a former professor, was accused of plagiarism just a few days ago – has suggested harnessing AI to crawl papers written by academics and announced he's doing just that with the papers published by MIT’s entire faculty. These events set a tense precedent going into 2024 – AI tools could find themselves at the center of academic and political rows more frequently.
5. AI Assistants Will Become More Advanced
When we asked Bard about what it thought was in store for AI in 2024, one of the things it predicted would happen was what it called “AI assistants with “get things done” capabilities”.
Bard predicts that AI assistants will be asked to do progressively more and more complex tasks, such as “making reservations, planning trips, and connecting to other services”, shifting from “information retrieval to practical execution”.
During 2023, companies in all industries were helped by the likes of OpenAI and Merantix to incorporate artificial intelligence into their technological infrastructure, while at the same time, increasingly personal and non-work related use cases for AI chatbots came up.
What’s more, with OpenAI’s launch of GPTs, any person can familiarize themselves with concepts such as functional knowledge bases and fine-tuning without any coding knowledge at all – and the launch of the GPT Store will only encourage more innovation.
Reports from this year suggest young people are turning to AI chatbots for therapy, while Snapchat and Meta have both created AI technology designed specifically for social uses.By the end of 2024, who knows how useful they’ll be.
6. Get Used to Seeing More AI in Healthcare
Artificial intelligence being used in the healthcare space is, of course, nothing new – but 2023 was a significant year for the technology. 2024, on the other hand, is likely to bring with it even more innovation and ingenuity in this space.
For example, ChatGPT is already being touted as a solution to clinician burnout thanks to its ability to reduce the documentation burden, while one study even found it to be more empathetic and better overall at responding to patient concerns.
It wasn’t just ChatGPT that presented a reason to keep your eye on healthcare technology this year. AI-powered tools focusing on extracting insights from data and writing summaries became more widely available to healthcare teams in 2023, and will likely be iterated on in 2024.
Whatever systems or products end up being invented, it’s hard to ignore the profound impact that artificial intelligence can make. Last year, it was shown that an AI-assisted radiologist is more likely to spot cancerous cells than a radiologist working solo, as well as two radiologists working together. Other areas that increasingly call on AI for assistance include drug discovery to dosage error reduction.
AI’s capacity to be used to identify dangerous diseases and assist doctors isn’t going unnoticed. With the world still scarred by the pandemic and experiencing a new-found appreciation for technology, processes, and systems that can ease the strain on healthcare services at times of great need, AI is going to be called upon more regularly.
7. New Precedents Will be Set Relating to AI and Copyright Infringement
2023 ended with the surprising news that the New York Times, the world’s largest and most well-known publication, is suing OpenAI and Microsoft for billions of dollars. It’s already looking like it’ll turn into one of the most consequential legal cases of 2024.
What’s more, the paper’s decision to take legal action has already been followed by two non-fiction authors, Nicholas Basbanes and Nicholas Gage, who've filed a class action lawsuit against OpenAI. They join a group of 17 US fiction writers, including Game of Thrones author George RR Martin, who have also filed a lawsuit against OpenAI for using their work without their permission last year.
With these cases not set to be resolved any time soon, expect an uptick in similar lawsuits as other writers, authors, and journalists seek to get in on the action and hold the big tech-backed AI startups accountable. The verdicts in any one of these cases could change the legal precedent used going forward.
It’s far from clear-cut, either. AI tools don’t necessarily “copy” works in the way a human plagiarizing work in the traditional manner might. Arguably, they simply learn from what they consume, just like humans do – and this means that OpenAI’s legal rebuttal is likely to be industry-defining.