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8 Emerging Cultural & Artificial Intelligence Trends on the horizon for 2024

It seems the world is moving faster each and every year. It could be because I'm getting old, but (hopefully) it's more to do with the exponential rate of change we're seeing.


Last year I managed to be ahead of the curve ’coffee badging’ trend, so lately, I’ve been reading and considering the phrases, trends and terms we’ll see used more often in 2024 and beyond.


Here is a short glossary of buzzwords I expect to become more common in the future, along with some companies to keep an eye on.


AUGMENTED INTELLIGENCE

The combination of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies with human intelligence enhances human capabilities and facilitates more productive partnerships between people and AI systems.


As ChatGPT (released November 2022) approaches its second birthday, we’ll start to see users become more mature in how they use it. Universities would have been offering ‘Prompt Engineering’ classes for over a year by now and as secure enterprise versions are rolled out across organisations, the way we interact and use AI will become more augmented - especially as we see greater take up of multi-modal or hybrid AI techniques and platforms.


When AI chatbots were first released, I would interact conversationally, gradually getting to the answer or response I wanted after several prompts. Now I spend much more time articulating the AI persona, context and format of the result I want in a single prompt.


Companies to watch


MIXED REALITY

The merging of real and virtual worlds produces new environments where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real-time. Spaital computing takes advantage of mixed reality technologies like augmented and virtual reality to overlay digital experiences on the physical world, like the Apple Vision Pro or Microsoft Hololens headsets that can overlay digital information in the real world.


VR is limited to the virtual world, AR is limited to the real world. Does the value proposition of headsets increase if they allow both functions? I’ve never been bullish on VR headsets, as they require a tether, can be uncomfortable after long use and impractical depending on the room.



I’m optimistic Apple Vision Pro will manage to break the wall that Mark Zuckerberg and Meta failed to breakthrough even after spending 10 billion. A device that is integrated into an existing ecosystem like Apple IOS is a game changer, you do not need to spend cash on a large flatscreen or multiple monitors, now you can just fit your headset and enlarge, enhance and enjoy.


Microsoft pivoted their Hololens focus towards military and industrial design applications with the Hololens 2, though if Apple is successful in garnering mainstream adoption outside of the typical ‘gamer’ then I daresay the Hololens 3 will pivot to become the ‘enterprise’ mixed reality headset.


Companies to watch


ARTIFICIAL ANXIETY

A fear of being replaced by AI or a longing for authenticity and a 'human' touch as AI becomes further ingrained in our lives. This could impact mental health or affect AI regulations. More research will be needed to understand and prevent potentially negative outcomes.


There are numerous ways I can see people becoming anxious because of AI. The fear of being replaced is real, and we’re already seeing artists, call centres and copywriters amongst the first cohort of those affected.


But with widescale adoption, we can enter a different form of anxiety, a craving for a humane touch as all our emails are written and read by a robotic voice, or perhaps we see a continued uptake of AI intimacy which generates anxiety where there is an element of ‘unknown’ when we interact with with someone in real life.


The current term is broad and the anxiety experienced relating to AI will be widespread and varied.


Companies to watch


DATA POISONING

Malicious cyberattacking activities aimed at polluting enterprise AI training data to manipulate model outcomes, like inserting intentionally false or corrupted records. This could undermine AI confidence safety and cybersecurity.


Recent examples have been with artists using a ‘nightshade’ algorithm to mask creative styles when scraped by AI image generators. The algorithm replaces pixels in a way that is NOT noticeable to the human eye but affects the way the computer ‘sees’ an image and impacts its ability to replicate the image.



Security remains the top concern of CTOs and company executives as they restrict their workforce using public-facing interfaces and limit them to more enterprise solutions offered by Microsoft. This trust will only erode further if there is a major data breach where internal AI are poisoned with false and unreliable information. The only saving grace currently is the level of scepticism of AI to provide 100% accurate results and not hallucinate, leading to most of the AI-generated facts being checked for validity.


The past few years we’ve seen an uptick in cyberattacks, will masses of private data leaked to the dark web or critical infrastructure held ransom. Preventing data poisoning of enterprise AIs will just become another challenge for tech teams globally.


Companies to watch


MULTIMODAL / HYBRID AI

Systems that combine multiple AI inputs (text, audio, video), techniques or abilities, like computer vision from neural networks with symbolic reasoning from logical rule-based systems. Could take much closer to Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).


Gemini tried to showcase multimodal AI techniques in their recent release - particularly with the AI participating in a cupp game equivalent to 'three-card monty' - though there were questions about the authenticity of the demo.




Marques Brownlee feels that as AI and LLM mature, Multimodel is a space to watch in 2024 and beyond. This undoubtedly has benefits to everyday users, but the utility that disabled users will receive from AI being able to translate scenery of communicate with others on their behalf should be significant.


Companies to watch


AFFINITY COMMUNITIES/CITIES

Urban areas are designed around shared interests/values where like-minded individuals intentionally co-locate. The geographical freedom created by hybrid and remote working could give organisations and employees greater choices in where they choose to live.




Neom’s $500 billion The Line project is an ambitious Saudi project that has some similarities to Daubi’s rapid transformation, though one has to question whether the benefits of being a car-free ‘smart eco-city’ are outweighed by the volume of embodied carbon to excavate and construct the 170Km long city. It’s scheduled for completion in 2030 and is estimated to accommodate 9 million.


Within the US, California Forever promises a walkable, mixed-use community with 15,000 homes on 60,000 acres outside Fairfield. Yet what sets it apart is democratic design: they're crowdsourcing residents' wishes since late 2023.


Through surveys, town halls and advisory committees, planners incorporate local input. Early feedback shows priorities like green space, jobs and affordable housing. Updates detail tweaks like extended town hall times in response. Such participatory planning aims to give residents stakeholder status from the outset. Beyond accommodation, the vision entails "community benefits" like scholarships, grants and revenue for non-profits.


Projects to watch


PREDICTION MARKETS

Exchange platforms where participants place ‘bets’ on predictions linked to real-world events - sometimes alongside AI systems. Allows users and investors or insurers to leverage the ‘wisdom of crowds’ to forecast probabilities.


The Good Judgement Project was a pioneer in this space, especially with the promotion of its super forecaster program. On the back of AI assistants, we’re bringing to see both humans and AI compete in predictions, such as Manifold markets that use ‘play money’ to bet on outcomes and predictions.


Companies to watch



BRAIN-COMPUTER INTERFACE (BCI)

Technology that facilitates communication between human brains and external devices. Non-invasive BCIs read brain signals via EEG to control prosthetics, and spell words. Invasive versions are under research for therapeutic use.


Musk’s Neuralink began to garner even more attention once it received the approval for clinical human trials. At the time I found it amusing that Musk was calling for a pause on AI development, yet wanting to proceed full steam ahead on brain implants for BCI testing and development. This was likely just to delay or slow down competitors while Muck refined his ‘Grok’ AI bot that used X - formally Twitter - content as a knowledge base.


Companies to watch


Final thoughts

How we choose to govern emerging technologies, uphold civil liberties and ensure widespread benefit from scientific progress will be determining factors in what kind of future emerges. With open and informed discussion, the future remains unwritten.


No single person can foresee exactly what discoveries may arise or how society will adapt. But each of us can study trends thoughtfully, discuss new ideas respectfully, and consider both risks and opportunities. By cultivating wider perspectives and focusing on our shared interest in progress, we can support changes that improve lives while raising issues of equity and oversight proactively.


However the specifics unfold, continual learning and bringing diverse voices to discussions on shaping our systems and institutions can help ensure the future rewards our highest hopes.


Now is the time to imagine boldly yet build judiciously, with wisdom and care for human well-being as our guiding lights.


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