The realm of artificial intelligence (AI) has witnessed remarkable progress in recent years. The year 2022 was a testament to this, with ground-breaking AI models emerging for image generation, text creation, coding, and more. As we venture into 2024, we anticipate even more revolutionary developments on the horizon.
AI’s potential applications are vast and varied, spanning from mental health to the generation of synthetic data, integration into video games, and even speculations around the advent of artificial general intelligence. We are on the cusp of an era where AI could become an integral part of medicine, media, and materials science, potentially instigating significant shifts in the human lifestyle.
Predicting the trajectory of future technology is inherently fraught with uncertainty. However, the trends highlighted in this article are grounded in ongoing research and real-world applications. The coming years promise to introduce new economic opportunities and essentially reshape entire industries. Yet, these advancements also spark policy debates over potential downsides, such as job losses or misuse of synthetic media.
By examining both the utopian promises and dystopian threats emerging in the AI landscape, business leaders, policymakers, and everyday citizens can engage in more informed discussions about how to steer these technologies towards beneficial outcomes. The following ten topics provide a glimpse into where the current arc of innovation may lead us – if society plays an active role in shaping that trajectory further.
AI for Mental Health and Relationships
Chatbots and conversational AI agents are already being used by some individuals to practice communication techniques, learn about relationships, and get basic counselling or coaching. For example, tools like Claude and Replika claim abilities to help with self-reflection, dream interpretation, and improving social skills.
Many clinical psychologists, researchers and practitioners see strong potential for AI-powered chatbots and avatar therapists to expand access to mental healthcare. Studies show that automated conversational agents can recognize symptoms of conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. As these systems improve, they may supplement or reduce the need for human therapists for some patients.
If adopted widely, AI mental health assistants could have substantial long-term impacts both on an individual and societal level. Better public mental health could increase productivity, reduce suicide rates, and lower healthcare system loads. However, concerns persist around data privacy, misdiagnoses by AI and over-reliance on chatbots.
AI for Content Moderation
Major social networks and forums struggle to address misinformation, harassment, and inappropriate content. AI solutions like natural language processing algorithms promise to automate and enhance moderation. Systems can scan texts for instances of hate speech, fact-check suspicious claims and flag disinformation campaigns.
Consequently, AI moderation may shape online discussions by filtering out toxic language and highlighting factual information. This could reduce the spread of radicalizing propaganda and decrease polarization driven by foreign influence operations or conspiracy rhetoric. However, heavily automated moderation also risks over-censorship, suppressed minority viewpoints and challenges around bias in AI systems.
Advances in Materials Science with AI
Recent developments in the field of materials science have been significantly propelled by the application of artificial intelligence (AI). Research teams, including DeepMind, have introduced AI systems capable of generating molecular structures and discovering new proteins and crystals. These neural network models have the potential to suggest compounds and crystals that were previously unknown, exhibiting promising characteristics.
These breakthroughs could potentially expedite the discovery of advanced materials that are ideal for applications such as renewable energy storage, quantum computing, pharmaceuticals, and more. Each advancement builds upon the previous, as superior materials enable the development of improved computing hardware necessary to operate state-of-the-art AI. This symbiotic relationship between materials science and AI is expected to unlock innovations that are currently beyond our imagination.
However, it’s important to note that these advancements also come with certain risks. The dual-use nature of these novel compounds, where they can be used for both civilian and military applications, raises ethical concerns.
Synthetic Data and Copyright: A New Legal Frontier
The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has led to a significant increase in the use of synthetic data for model training. As we move into an era where up to 90% of the data used for training AI models is synthetic, encompassing various forms such as text, images, videos, and more23, we are witnessing a virtuous cycle. Improved generative AI models are becoming increasingly adept at synthesizing realistic data, thereby enabling the production of unlimited datasets for training other AI systems. This, in turn, leads to the development of more advanced artificial intelligence.
However, this progress is not without its challenges. A new legal frontier is emerging around copyright issues. High-profile lawsuits, such as the one filed by comedian Sarah Silverman against AI companies over generated videos featuring her without her consent, highlight the complexities involved. Synthetic media, with its ability to closely mimic real people and content, raises critical questions about ownership. Some experts predict that the advancement of AI generation could potentially erode copyright and intellectual property protections as the marginal cost of producing high-quality media drops near zero.
As we navigate this new landscape, policymakers, legal experts, and AI practitioners must engage in informed discussions to ensure a balance between technological innovation and the protection of intellectual property rights.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to play a significant role in the healthcare sector, particularly in clinics and hospitals, by 2024. This shift is largely driven by economic factors and the potential benefits that AI can bring to patient care and operational efficiency.
AI diagnostic tools are already showing promise in improving detection rates for various conditions, including cancer. For instance, an AI tool has been developed that outperforms experts in spotting breast cancer, and AI-assisted technology is being used to detect hard-to-find precancerous polyps during colonoscopies. These advancements could lead to earlier diagnoses and better patient outcomes.
The integration of AI in healthcare systems is also expected to reduce costs and medical errors. Medical errors, which are the third leading cause of death and account for nearly 250,000 fatalities annually, can occur in any healthcare setting and at any point in the care process. AI provides solutions to this dilemma by equipping healthcare professionals with tools that both improve accuracy and function as a safety net.
The adoption of AI in healthcare is likely to accelerate due to the compounding effects of better tools, more funding, and increased integration. The UK government, for example, has announced a £21 million fund to accelerate the deployment of AI across the NHS. This funding will help transform the quality of care and speed up diagnoses for conditions such as cancers, strokes, and heart conditions.
In conclusion, the integration of AI in medicine is a rapidly evolving field with the potential to revolutionize patient care, improve healthcare outcomes, and reduce costs. As AI continues to advance, its adoption in clinics and hospitals is expected to increase, leading to significant improvements in healthcare delivery
Improvements in AI-Generated Video
The advancements in AI-generated video technology have been remarkable over the past few years. From barely producing intelligible video in 2022, AI models have now evolved to generate high-quality 1080p results. As video essentially consists of a sequence of generated images, further progress is expected to closely follow gains in image generation quality.
One of the significant milestones in this domain was achieved by the South Korean news channel MBN, which used a ‘deepfake’ version of their regular news anchor, Kim Joo-Ha. This computer-generated copy aimed to perfectly reflect her voice, gestures, and facial expressions1. Despite mixed responses from the viewers, MBN decided to continue using the deepfake for some breaking news reports.
The technology behind these AI-generated videos, also known as synthetic media, is being increasingly used commercially. Its usage is growing rapidly in sectors including news, entertainment, and education. London-based firm Synthesia, for instance, creates AI-powered corporate training videos for global firms like WPP and Accenture.
By 2024, it is predicted that stock video and entertainment media will massively adopt AI production rather than human filmmakers. This is a testament to the potential of AI in revolutionizing content creation. However, it’s important to note that while AI can generate content, the creative control still lies with the users.
AI in Video Games and Interactive Media
The field of artificial intelligence (AI) has been making significant strides in the realm of video games and interactive media. One of the key areas where AI is expected to bring about a revolution is in the creation of more immersive gaming experiences.
AI is being used to automatically generate adaptive narratives and non-player character (NPC) dialogues. This means that instead of having scripted conversations, players can engage in natural, open-ended dialogues with characters in the game. This not only makes the gaming experience more dynamic but also allows for personalized storytelling.
However, certain risks are associated with using AI in video games. One of the major concerns is the potential for bias, toxicity, and misinformation with uncontrolled AI content. For instance, if the AI algorithms used in gaming systems inadvertently perpetuate biases and inequalities, it could result in the reinforcement of stereotypes and discrimination.
Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of AI in video games and interactive media are immense. As AI continues to evolve and improve, it is expected to bring about significant changes in the way we experience and interact with video games.
Investment Growth in Longevity Research
Significant funding has been directed towards the study of ageing and longevity in recent times, both from government bodies and the private sector. This includes the $101 million XPRIZE for bio-gerontology and the Biden administration’s substantial allocation towards treating ageing as a curable condition.
The application of AI in drug discovery, such as DeepMind’s AlphaFold which predicts protein structures rapidly, is driving this momentum. As investments increase and breakthroughs lower costs, it is predicted that by 2024, the public perception may shift towards the feasibility of extending the healthy human lifespan. The average life expectancy is already showing an upward trend annually.
However, there are real challenges to be addressed around the clinical deployment of any developed anti-ageing treatments and ensuring equal access to these treatments. Ethical concerns also arise in terms of population dynamics if life extension reaches extreme levels. Nevertheless, research is aligning with the vision of treating ageing as an addressable disease mechanism rather than an inevitable decline.
Math and Logic + Language Models
Incorporating mathematical reasoning and logic into language AI models is seen as instrumental for advancing beyond narrow AI towards artificial general intelligence (AGI). Recent models demonstrate capabilities not just for language tasks but also for achieving high human performance in symbolic logic, arithmetic, and more complex mathematics.
While language mastery shows the communication abilities associated with intelligence, mathematical logic represents the raw reasoning power and semantic understanding needed to drive scientific progress. Combined progress of both thus seems necessary to achieve AI systems capable not just of discussion but task performance, creativity, and advanced cognition.
The Path to AGI in 2024
Given the right funding environment and compounding rates of returns in AI research, there could be some form of artificial general intelligence emerging rapidly – as soon as 2024. No system may perfectly replicate all facets of human reasoning, but key milestones around multi-modal understanding, autonomous agency and mathematical mastery can demonstrate crossing a requisite threshold.
Driving this potential are synergistic trends in increased investment, surging computational power, exponential data growth and mutually enhancing progress where AI applied to research begets better AI – culminating in a virtuous cycle. While healthy scepticism remains warranted, capping capabilities or timelines risks underestimating the pace of iterative breakthroughs. 2024 may show if abstract AGI crosses over towards practical reality.
In total, the areas discussed represent some of the most essential AI trends to track entering 2024 and beyond when considering either opportunities or risks. As this technology infiltrates our medical systems, media landscape, creative IP protections and potentially outstrips human-level cognition itself, proactive policy alongside ethical technology development grows in importance. The futures outlined range from radical health spans to runaway superintelligence – making our collective choices today pivotal in directing the path ahead.