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Drawing from a comprehensive survey of IT leaders and experts, Info-Tech Research Group’s 2024 Tech Trends report highlights six pivotal AI-centric trends, as well as the promises and intricacies of an AI-integrated future.

“Our 2023 report highlighted generative AI as a trend that would impact every industry. Not only was that true, but the impact was tremendous and is still reverberating through society,” said Brian Jackson, principal research director and research lead for the 2024 Tech Trends report.

“In our Tech Trends 2024 report, we’re doing a deep dive into the generative enterprise and examining the full breadth of implications ahead of organizations as a result of generative AI’s disruptive effects,” Jackson continued. “There are significant opportunities for technology leaders to consider and seize, including creating new revenue-generating business models or optimizing existing operations. There are also severe risks to mitigate, ranging from new regulatory activity to protecting intellectual property.”

Tech Trends 2024
Info-Tech’s Tech Trends 2024 report highlights the top six trends that will define the generative enterprise in the coming year. (CNW Group/Info-Tech Research Group)

 

The Tech Trends 2024 report is based on the global IT research and advisory firm’s recent Future of IT survey, which includes data from 848 industry professionals in IT or those directing IT functions. The underlying metrics for the 2024 report are diverse, with insights from 15 countries and regions spanning North and South America, Europe, and the APAC region. Additionally, the perspectives captured encompass 16 industries, including government, professional services, manufacturing, education, healthcare, financial services, telecom, and the retail sector.

6 AI-Centric Trends For 2024

Based on its survey findings, Info-Tech Research Group has identified the following six AI-centric tech trends set to define the coming year:

1. AI-Driven Business Models

The commercialization of AI models is based on the value of an accurate prediction. Algorithm builders train their neural networks to make good predictions using a significant amount of historical data, sometimes adding human feedback to help solve special circumstances. Once trained, the algorithms can make predictions based on new data. More recently, the technology sector has moved from augmenting its business models with AI predictions to making AI predictions themselves the product.

AI adopters have said they will use AI in several strategic areas by the end of 2024: 77% for business analytics and intelligence and 71% to identify risks and improve security.

According to the research, most IT organizations are making plans for AI to drive strategic aspects of their business in 2024. Of companies choosing to invest in AI before the end of 2024, 66% expect AI to positively impact their company, compared to 38% of companies not investing in AI. Only 3% feel they face an existential threat from AI.

AI adopters have said they will use AI in several strategic areas by the end of 2024: 77% for business analytics and intelligence and 71% to identify risks and improve security, while most skeptics won’t apply AI in any of these areas. AI will define business strategy by the end of 2024, according to 68% of respondents.

2. Autonomized Back Office 

IT’s role has traditionally been to autonomize business systems by providing capabilities that allow systems to self-execute and self-regulate toward company goals in the name of efficiency. With generative AI, a wide range of new tasks become possible to automate toward this goal. AI models are adaptable and flexible, able to process large volumes of unstructured data and provide classification, editing, summarization, new content creation, and more.

The report reveals that 47% of respondents are keen to adopt new generative AI features from major vendors either in beta access (17%) or when generally available (30%). The other half are still more cautious, with 37% needing more information before deciding and 16% holding off on the features until other organizations test them.

When asked what type of operational tasks organizations are most interested in using AI for, 33% say they already use AI to automate repetitive, low-level tasks, and 45% say they plan to do so in 2024. The research also found a significant commonality between adopters and skeptics – they are both more interested in automating tasks through AI than augmenting operational staff in their decision making.

3. Spatial Computing 

Spatial computing promises to bridge the digital and physical worlds, allowing users to interact with digital content in the space around them. Moving beyond traditional interfaces like keyboards and mice, spatial computing employs natural interactions such as gestures, voice, and gaze facilitated by devices like augmented reality glasses or virtual reality headsets, as recently introduced by some of the big tech giants.

According to the firm’s research, AI adopters are 42% more interested in using a generative AI-based interface than skeptics. About one in five adopters have already invested in mixed reality, whereas only one in 15 skeptics has done so. The report also shows that organizations invested in or planning investment in AI are more likely to be adopters of mixed reality, but most of that investment is still over the horizon after 2024.

While newly released headsets may make waves among early adopters, most will wait and see if mixed reality lives up to the hype. In the meantime, the data indicates they’ll explore generative AI interfaces that lead to more spatial computing applications even without headsets.

4. Responsible AI

Lawmakers worldwide have typically been slow to respond to emerging technologies. In recent years, there have been various examples of Silicon Valley’s “move fast and break things” approach, where a company quickly enters the market and worries about sorting out the situation with lawmakers years after the fact. Fears of AI’s misuse or neglect surround its potential to manipulate people’s behavior using misinformation, to cause mass unemployment, or even to pose an existential threat to humanity.

Even after laws regulating AI are passed, it will be some time before responsible AI is regulated in an enforceable manner. However, organizations looking to build or deploy AI should mitigate the risk of not meeting compliance requirements later by adopting responsible AI frameworks now.

According to Info-Tech’s Future of IT survey, one in three AI adopters say that the CIO will be responsible for the governance of AI. Another 17% say that a committee or work group will be accountable, and another 10% say it’s shared between two or more executives – either of these groups could also include the CIO. For one in five adopters, no one is responsible for AI governance yet.

5. Security By Design

This trend underscores the integration of security measures right from inception, as opposed to being tacked on as an afterthought. By anticipating vulnerabilities and integrating robust defenses – vital in the AI era with its inherent software complexities – developers can craft software that is intrinsically secure. Historically, the onus of risk mitigation falls on users due to legacy code vulnerabilities, necessitating frequent patches. This reactive approach isn’t always sufficient, underscoring the need for organizations to prioritize proactive cybersecurity.

In today’s environment, AI brings new threat vectors with familiar themes. Without addressing the problem at its root, enterprises will continue to sink more investment and resources into cybersecurity.

In today’s environment, AI brings new threat vectors with familiar themes. Without addressing the problem at its root, enterprises will continue to sink more investment and resources into cybersecurity.

The Tech Trends 2024 report shows that the majority of organizations aim to spend more on cybersecurity in 2024, with more than one in six organizations planning to increase their cybersecurity budget by more than 10%. The top priorities for cybersecurity investment are different for adopters and skeptics. Adopters rate security awareness and training of their own staff as the most critical area to invest in, rating it an importance of 4.3/5 on average. Skeptics see third-party services (such as 24/7 intrusion detection) as the top priority, with a rating of 4.1/5 on average.

6. Digital Sovereignty

Digital sovereignty, particularly in the context of data, is becoming increasingly paramount in the age of advanced technologies. As generative AI technologies are trained by scraping the web to compile massive data sets for their models, questions arise about who truly owns, controls, and has rights to that data.

As courts and lawmakers catch up with the new capabilities of generative AI, organizations are questioning how to protect their data and key aspects of their digital identity, incentivizing them to set up infrastructure and deploy protections that preserve their digital sovereignty and prevent third-party AIs from training on their data.

Download the full Tech Trends 2024 report for more insights for the year ahead.

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