What's Next for Generative AI?
16 January 2024


What's Next for Generative AI?

2023 started with a bang—a generated bang! All of a sudden, people started using artificial intelligence to create all kinds of wacky and curious images. What awaits us in 2024?  

It's hard to believe that generative artificial intelligence, such as ChatGPT and Midjourney, only caught our attention this year. Soon, quirky art, AI-generated music, and convincing deepfakes appeared everywhere. Some of those fads have died down, while others (especially deepfakes) are becoming a problem. However, many valuable business applications use generative AI, from search engines to instant graphic design. And this is just the beginning. Generative AI has started to change our world. If so much has happened in 2023, what will next year be like? Let's look at some of the leading predictions:

AI at work and school

You don't need to go out and find generative AI since it will soon arrive at your office. Technology companies are investing in natural-language AI that you communicate with in plain language. Think of ChatGPT-style talking AI, but integrated into your work applications. Such tools are already in Google Docs, Office365, and many more, appearing on your device as the tech companies update their platforms. More business apps will follow suit next year. Generative AI is also coming to schools to create personalised learning content. And countries such as Australia are already adding AI to their school curriculums.

Your next medical consultation could be with an AI

Don't worry—your human doctor is not going anywhere. But they and the rest of the healthcare world will get assistance from generative AI. For example, companies are already training AI to scan medical records and answer related questions, speeding up diagnosis and (hopefully) making healthcare cheaper. AI is already playing a huge role in medical research. Next year, we'll start experiencing it as a self-help tool for patients, and advisor to medical professionals.

Natural language AI will get even smarter

Most generative AIs focus on one type of media: text, speech, video, images, and so on. But the next generation is starting to arrive, and they can handle multiple types of media (called multi-modal AI). What does this mean? You'll ask an AI a question, and it will investigate text, images, audio and videos to get answers. Multi-modal AI can understand much more, creating better and deeper answers. There are also rumours that GPT-5, the next evolution of the famous natural language AI, will be released in 2024. This will add even better capabilities.

Misinformation during elections

South Africans should pay special attention to this point. As we head towards 2024's elections, we can expect a flood of deep-faked news, images, and videos designed to confuse and mislead us. It's become very easy to create fake footage or images that can fool people into making the wrong choice at the ballot box. Several countries are already concerned about this trend. But, ultimately, it's up to citizens to be vigilant and not fall for fakes made by democracy's enemies.

New AI-related jobs

Are you wondering what to do with your future? What about becoming a prompt engineer? These people are paid to come up with nuanced AI prompts, which are the descriptions you give to a generative AI. For example, "Draw a dog wearing a green hat' is a prompt. These can become quite intricate, and as generative AI expands into areas such as product design and healthcare diagnosis, they need people who know how to get the most from AI systems. More AI-related jobs will appear in 2024, so keep an eye out for them.

Talk to the dead

This title sounds macabre, but it's more about talking to historical figures. For example, an exhibition in Paris features an AI version of the artist Vincent Van Gogh, who can answer visitors' questions (and even gets annoyed with them). The AI was created using thousands of letters and diaries the artist had written. Expect to see more such virtual historical figures appear next year. And who knows? In the future, it may even be our dead loved ones returning as an AI avatar. Yes, that's a bit creepy, but it's possible.

AI is developing at a breakneck pace and the potential for development is unimaginable. To give you a unique perspective about this tech listen to our podcast about the future of autonomous AI. Also, discover why you don't need to be tech-savvy to change the tech landscape with our podcast about exploring the creative possibilities of STEM.