Few new tech products have sparked the kind of excitement elicited by ChatGPT, OpenAI’s free artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot released to the public in November 2022, which has outperformed earlier publicly accessible artificial intelligence technologies.
ChatGPT’s ability to simulate human intelligence convincingly has made it immediately popular: It acquired a million users within five days, reached over 100 million active users in January 2023, and has continued to grow at a rapid pace. AI’s sudden rise has led to what some analysts call an “AI arms race,” as major software companies compete to launch increasingly sophisticated AI products for a wide range of uses.
Business owners are among those poised to make the most of these recent advances—by automating routine tasks, improving operational efficiency, and enabling data-driven decision-making. Here are seven future trends that will likely define AI in the coming year.
Top AI trends for 2024
As the pace at which AI improves accelerates, new technologies are making business processes more efficient.
- AI as a work assistant
- AI for personalized customer service
- Widespread adoption
- AI for content creation
- Using digital twins to predict real-world scenarios
- Ethical standards and AI regulation
- AI-based cybersecurity
1. AI as a work assistant
As AI technologies continue to advance, their capacity to handle simple, routine tasks will grow, making them well-suited for work-assistant roles. For example, you might use an AI assistant to schedule meetings, create contracts, or schedule hard drive backups automatically.
AI applications can also take on certain training and development tasks: An AI-powered human resources chatbot could walk new employees through onboarding processes and answer common questions. Increasingly sophisticated AI language models can also allow employees to create communications for internal audiences more efficiently.
A 2023 Nielsen Norman Group study looked at three different employee productivity use cases—customer support, business document creation, and coding projects—and found that employee productivity increased by an average of 66% when using an AI tool:
- Customer support agents increased efficiency by 13.8%
- Business writers increased efficiency by 59%
- Programmers increased efficiency by 126%
The study also measured the quality of work output for customer support agents and business writers, finding in both cases that work quality improved along with efficiency.
2. AI for personalized customer service
AI tools can enhance a business’s ability to offer personalized customer experiences. They can process large volumes of data and synthesize information to provide a clearer picture of an individual consumer’s preferences and needs. Applications include:
- Personalized product and content recommendations. Using AI-powered data analysis, AI tools can process demographic information and customer behaviors and recommend products likely to fit specific consumer needs.
- AI-powered shopping assistants. Conversational AI tools can also operate as personalized shopping assistants, answering customer questions and helping users navigate large or complex product catalogs.
- Enhanced behavioral and demographic targeting. Emerging technology can increase a business's ability to process and analyze large amounts of consumer data, allowing you to personalize advertising and marketing messaging and delivery channels based on consumer information.
- Personalized product descriptions. Some experts predict that businesses will be able to use AI to customize previously static content. For example, generative AI systems could analyze a customer’s data and rewrite product descriptions to highlight relevant information.
3. Widespread adoption
The AI industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 17% from 2023 to 2030. Experts anticipate that AI use will become more commonplace across various industries as technologies continue to advance. A Gartner report predicts that by 2026, over 80% of businesses will use generative AI—either by using these tools directly or incorporating them into practical applications—a significant increase from the fewer than 5% doing so in 2023.
Experts cite AI democratization as one driver of this trend—with more user-friendly tools and platforms that require no specialized technical knowledge to use, the use of AI is likely to grow more widespread for personal and business-related tasks. Gartner also highlights the availability of low-code/no-code options, which will enable users with limited coding knowledge to customize solutions for specific use cases.
4. AI for content creation
As tools advance, content writers and marketing teams are expected to rely on AI tools more and more to support the content creation process.
Generative AI tools can increasingly produce convincingly human language, and many contemporary AI writing tools include features that allow users to set parameters around brand voice and tone. Some AI tools can also support keyword research, conduct competitor analysis, and optimize content for search engines—and as of 2023, Google no longer penalizes AI-written content, as long as it meets its quality standards.
5. Using digital twins to predict real-world scenarios
A digital twin is a virtual replica of a real-world entity or process. Paired with AI, digital twin technology has the potential to transform business operations by predicting likely outcomes based on specific decisions.
A 2023 McKinsey & Company article observed the potential for digital twins to reduce time to market: Instead of designing a real-world prototype for every product design tweak and conducting extensive physical testing, you can quickly alter a digital representation of the product and run simulations to evaluate performance.
On top of predicting outcomes based on predetermined inputs, AI models can make this process prescriptive—AI-powered digital twinning systems can recommend product or process improvements. McKinsey reports that AI digital twins can “proactively search for new insights,” for example, by adjusting the settings on digital twins for hardware and using the results of these experiments to make recommendations to the manufacturer.
Medical experts predict that, in the near future, digital twinning could also aid in drug discovery and development and even be used to model disease progression and create personalized treatment plans.
6. Ethical standards and AI regulation
There’s no shortage of excitement—or concern—about AI’s impact on the global economy and quality of life, and human rights advocates, labor activists, and business leaders are paying attention.
There’s been a significant amount of media coverage on the potential for generative AI systems to disrupt creative industries. Both the 2023 Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA strikes, for example, were partially in response to worker concerns about how businesses will use natural language processing tools and AI image generators to create entertainment media, and both collective bargaining agreements contain parameters to regulate the use of AI in these industries.
The European Union is also considering regulations that would classify AI technologies according to the level of risk they present to “the health and safety or fundamental rights of a person” and impose stricter testing, development, and disclosure requirements on riskier systems.
In the absence of (or in addition to) AI regulations at the national level, smaller jurisdictions and entities are expected to adopt ethical standards and self-regulate. Some steps may mirror corporate self-regulation of environmental impact. For example, organizations may hire AI ethicists within broader corporate social responsibility departments and task them with developing AI development standards, auditing AI projects, and monitoring for AI bias.
7. AI-based cybersecurity
AI, like any technology, is susceptible to exploitation by malicious actors, and AI innovations are allowing hackers to carry out increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. On the flip side, AI is one of the best defenses against next-generation cyber threats, and experts anticipate that organizations will use AI, automation, and machine learning algorithms to identify and respond to attacks. Morgan Stanley identified the following potential AI cybersecurity applications:
- Identifying attacks. AI tools can detect cyber attacks, determine risk levels, and respond accordingly. Because AI can process large amounts of data, it may be able to identify attacks more accurately than human users can.
- Providing phishing defense. Organizations can leverage AI capabilities to identify messages likely to be part of a phishing campaign and warn human users of increased risk, providing an extra layer of security.
- Exposing vulnerabilities. Security teams can also use AI tools to simulate cyberattacks, helping them find and remedy weaknesses in defense systems.
AI trends FAQ
What are the key AI trends in 2024?
AI trends likely to gain momentum in the next year include:
- AI assistants
- AI for personalization
- Widespread adoption of AI technologies
- AI-enabled digital twinning
- Increasing AI regulation
- AI-based cybersecurity strategies
Why is AI booming now?
Increased computer power and advances in machine learning algorithms are powering groundbreaking advances in AI fields, and the 2022 release of ChatGPT significantly increased AI adoption rates among the general public and business users.
What are the top uses of AI in business today?
Businesses can use AI to automate processes and increase the capacity of internal teams. Popular applications include content creation, reporting, scheduling, and customer support.