It’s become something of a festive tradition for us to look at the year’s technology trends. Of course, specialised analysts such as Gartner are a great help when it comes to this task. Unsurprisingly, AI features prominently on Gartner’s Top 10 of technology trends that we’ll all be getting to know better in 2024.
In its annual technology trends report, Gartner highlights the trends that will drive significant disruption and opportunity for CIOs and other IT leaders over the next 36 months. According to Chris Howard, Distinguished VP Analyst and Chief of Research at Gartner, “They and other executives must evaluate the impacts and benefits of strategic technology trends.”
“This is no small task,” Howard continues, “given the increasing rate of technological innovation.” He offers the example of generative and other types of AI. While it’s true that these “offer new opportunities and drive several trends”, he also warns that “deriving business value from the durable use of AI requires a disciplined approach to widespread adoption along with attention to the risks”.
What strikes me most about this year’s report (though it shouldn’t come as a surprise), is that artificial intelligence (AI) is so dominant. No less than half of the trends on the list are driven by, related to, or at least mention the hottest of new technologies, making AI something of a common thread throughout the report.
The most obvious trend is Democratized Generative AI (GenAI): a trend that is itself driven by “the confluence of massively pretrained models, cloud computing and open source, making these models accessible to workers worldwide”. In fact, by 2026, Gartner predicts that more than four out of five businesses (80%) will have used GenAI APIs and models and/or deployed GenAI applications in production environments. This is pretty impressive if you consider that the figure was less than one in 20 (5%) at the start of 2023.
Generative AI (GenAI) employs algorithms that can generate new content based on patterns learned from existing data. Large language models (LLM), a subset of generative AI, focus in particular on textual content. Because GenAI applications can make vast sources of information – both internal and external – accessible and available to business users, the rapid adoption of GenAI will significantly democratise knowledge and skills. This will become more and more widespread as large language models enable enterprises to provide their staff with knowledge presented in a conversational style with rich semantic understanding.
The downside of the democratisation of access to AI is that the need for AI Trust, Risk and Security Management (TRiSM) has become even more urgent and obvious. “Without guardrails,” Gartner says, “AI models can rapidly generate compounding negative effects that spin out of control, overshadowing any positive performance and societal gains that AI enables.” But if Gartner’s predictions prove accurate, by 2026, businesses that apply AI TRiSM controls will have increased the accuracy of their decision-making by eliminating up to 80% of faulty and illegitimate information.
For more insights, download Gartner’s detailed guide to the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2024.
In my next blog post, I’ll focus on another technology trend listed by Gartner in its 2024 report: AI-Augmented Development