AI Predictions for 2024

While the past year was when artificial intelligence became mainstream (and sparked a lot of speculations about the future of specific jobs and industries), 2024 is likely to be the year when AI will significantly impact companies’ operational models and business approaches. In the end, only a few days ago Apple announced the new iOS will have generative AI features (though Tim Cook spilled no beans about additional details).

According to McKinsey research, generative AI can contribute between $2.6 trillion and $4.4 trillion annually to the global economy. While regulatory issues concerning AI still raise concerns among skeptics, there is little doubt that it will help create business value across industries.

Saving time, driving efficiency

Generative AI will help businesses work more efficiently, driving productivity gains, says CB Insights. For instance, in software development, AI copilot helps accomplish tasks almost twice as fast — 1 hour 11 minutes on average required to complete a task with a copilot compared to 2 hours 41 minutes to finish it without AI assistance.

But AI will benefit not only software development but also IT jobs. World Economic Forum adds that it will boost productivity in knowledge-heavy industries, including “digital communications, financial and professional services, medical and healthcare services, retail, manufacturing, engineering and construction, energy and logistics.”

In healthcare, Suki’s AI-powered health assistant aims to save doctors’ time by taking the paperwork burden and reducing “clinical documentation time by 72%”. Furthermore, by delegating administrative duties to an AI assistant, doctors are more likely to escape burnouts that often result from paperwork.

Abridge, Nuance (a part of Microsoft) and other companies also focus on developing medical assistants using AI. Abridge, for example, says it saves up to 3 hours of a clinician’s time a day.

Enhancing content…

Another industry that is expected to benefit mainly from generative AI is education, where the CAGR (compound annual growth rate) is expected to be 38% during the next six years. From helping with administrative tasks to improving student communication, AI tools help enhance the learning experience. According to a recent survey, 58% of college instructors say they or their students already use generative AI in their classrooms.

While there is a legitimate concern about cheating on exams or writing final papers, generative AI can be useful when creating educational content. AI assistants, like Google’s Bard, are already used to make learning materials. In addition, it helps to make more personalized content.

In legal professions, AI also helps to work with texts, assisting in drafting contracts, summarizing documents, and optimizing research, say experts at CB Insights. In retail, it can help accelerate consumer research, according to McKinsey, while in banking AI can “partially automate, accelerate and enhance resolution rate of customer emergencies” (for example, when a client loses a credit card).

…but not only texts

Generative AI may still be in its nascent stage, but it is no longer solely text-based. Many companies and industries are starting to embrace a combination of text, images, videos, etc. Meta’s AnyMAL, for example, is tackling the challenge of generating responses from diverse sensory inputs by bridging texts, audio, video, and other types of content.

According to Nvidia’s Vice President of AI software, Kari Briski, “companies such as Meta and OpenAI will look to push the boundaries of multimodal generative AI by adding greater support for the senses, which will lead to advancements in the physical sciences, biological sciences and society at large. Enterprises will be able to understand their data in text format and PDFs, graphs, charts, slides and more”.

As IBM experts assume, such multimodal AI may be applicable across various businesses. As an example, they say, “During a customer service call, AI can analyze a client’s spoken request, interpret their financial documents and assess their facial expressions in a video consultation. By synthesizing these data points (speech, text and visual cues), AI can provide more personalized financial advice and enhance creditworthiness assessments with precision”.

Adding new skills to a CV

With such a significant impact across many industries, “AI will start to change how almost everyone — especially those at the highest levels — does their jobs,” writes PwC in their 2024 predictions. In addition to being able to use AI, “middle managers will need skills to oversee and assess teams in which AI agents do much of the work. Functional leads will have to understand how AI can not just augment processes but replace them”.

At the same time, executives do not see generative AI as a threat to the job market, according to the report by Accenture. 76% of C-suite executives regarded it rather as more of an opportunity than a threat and more beneficial to revenue growth than cost reduction.

Proficiency with AI will be required not only when applying to a marketing job but will be essential for many business leaders in the near future. Alas, few of them can combine organizational and AI knowledge — less than a half of C-suite executives don’t feel prepared for the accelerating rate of technological change, say Accenture researchers. Some experts even predict a growing demand for Chief AI Officers (already labeled ‘the hottest job in corporate America’).

In conclusion, 2024 will see more companies integrating AI-based solutions into their business models. While speculations about specific jobs being replaced by generative AI will undoubtedly continue, there will be more understanding of how this latest technology can enhance productivity and efficiency in different industries. The fast-paced development of AI proves that we need to recalibrate our understanding of how it impacts lives and improve how we deploy generative AI.