Trends Jan, 2024

Navigating Generative AI — Key Business Trends for 2024



Generative AI—go big or go home.

Last year was the dawn of the generative AI revolution, which saw this text and image generating software catapult into the public domain. Boston Consulting Group was quoted as saying “to be an industry leader in 5 years, you need a clear and compelling generative AI strategy today.”

This year we’ll see the birth of multi-modal general AI systems, capable of processing and seamlessly integrating diverse data types such as text, visuals and audio, facilitating more natural and intuitive user interactions.

In simpler terms, multi-modal generative AI can not only process and generate text but also understand and generate content in the form of images, sounds, or any other data format it has been trained on.

This creates more versatile and human-like AI models, able to handle a broader range of tasks by leveraging information from different sources simultaneously. For example, given an image, this AI can generate a descriptive caption that accurately represents the content of the image.

As a result we’ll see more advanced Chatbots, immersive gaming and educational content creation, which is just a small selection of the capabilities of the next generation of AI technology.

Quantum AI is poised to transform industries in 2024. This includes expediting drug discovery through swift molecular simulations, refining climate change models for more precise predictions, and fueling advanced analyses within financial markets.

New skills and soft skills

When it comes to digital skills, demand continues to outstrip supply. Last year 93% of UK businesses said they had an IT skills gap.

As a result this has brought about changes in companies’ hiring processes. Previously candidates could be selected for qualities like being degree educated, or their age profile etc, however, we’re now seeing a shift towards candidates with specific skills and experiences that are needed for the role.

Therefore 2024 is likely to see business ringfencing investment in training and upskilling staff, particularly in areas like generative AI and the in-demand skills required for an AI-driven economy.

As the possibilities for automation around various technical aspects of work increases, tasks that require a human touch will spike demand for soft skills.  Therefore, shoring up investment in building and cultivating skills and attributes such as emotional intelligence, communication, interpersonal problem solving, high-level strategy, and thought leadership will be a priority for businesses this year.

Unconscious bias and machine learning

The benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workforce are well documented. Studies have demonstrated time and time again that diverse teams outperform their less diverse counterparties in every business area including generating revenue and happiness and wellbeing.

However, as early as 2018, business insights giant Gartner was predicting that by the year 2022, 85% of artificial intelligence projectswill provide false results caused by bias.

As we become more reliant on automating processes, safeguarding against any possibility of unconscious racist, sexist or ageist bias seeping into machine learning is crucial and this can be achieved in the first instance by prioritising equality, diversity and inclusion in your workforce.

In 2024, whose jobs could be replaced by AI?

Considering Mckinsey predicted in their report last July that, as a result of generative AI 30%  of hours worked today could be automated by 2030, which jobs are at risk? Reassuringly SIA’s (Staffing Industry Analysts) surveyfound that most executives don’t expect staffing levels at their firms to change that much, and the reason for this was down to the value of their consultants’ soft skills of of creativity, emotional intelligence, intuition and insight, ethics and morality, adaptability and flexibility, and negotiation skills.

Additionally, AI tools have already been shown to increase workers’ job satisfaction. Almost 90% of the developers who have been using GitHub Copilot, an AI tool that assists programmers, say they are more productive and are spending less mental effort on repetitive tasks. Therefore, AI could also boost staff retention levels.

While embracing new technology can come with feelings of anxiety there is good grounds for optimism. Knowledge is power, by understanding what role AI can play in your business and what skills you need your workforce to be tooled up with while recognising generative AI’s limitations and risks, is a great starting point.

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