In a world that is increasingly characterized by artificial intelligence, the multitude of possible futures is reminiscent of scenarios from “Men in Black 3”. Although some scenarios seem more likely than others, the year 2024 offers a wealth of visionary possibilities. From the rapid development of social media, the rebirth of cryptocurrency and possible applications of AI in everyday business life to ethical challenges and opportunities offered by AI — this blog post presents personal, albeit visionary, predictions for the coming year.
From zero to one hundred: Threads wins the social media war
Meta has made an impressive start with its new platform Threads, which is similar to Twitter. Within the first 24 hours, it recorded 30 million registrations and reached almost 100 million monthly users in four months. Despite an initial euphoria that seems to be waning, Threads is expected to be the leader in social media by 2024. This is due to Meta’s extensive experience in social media and Threads’ focus on sports and entertainment, rather than news content. Threads relies on real content moderation rules, which reduces harassment from bots and is welcomed by celebrities. This prominence could attract advertisers who already have strong ties to Meta. Overall, Threads seems poised to overtake Twitter by forging its own unique path.
TikTok eclipses Hollywood and Netflix
In 2023, the entertainment industry underwent a major transformation. After a major strike by actors and writers, a highly acclaimed agreement was reached, but the jubilation may have been premature. Social media platforms such as TikTok are well on their way to eclipsing the established film industry. The shares of major film studios such as Disney, Warner and Paramount are at an all-time low, and Netflix has only briefly benefited from the weakness of its competitors. However, TikTok records 95 minutes of user interaction every day, while Facebook and Instagram Reels are viewed over 200 billion times a day. YouTube has now even overtaken Netflix in terms of revenue. This trend shows that independent social media creators who can’t strike are becoming increasingly important. People are not looking for more choice, they are looking for the right choice, and machine learning in social media makes this possible. TikTok has even hosted its first concert and plans to increase the maximum video length up to 10 minutes. It seems that traditional entertainment companies will continue to suffer from the pressure of social media in 2024, especially under the leadership of TikTok.
Cryptocurrencies on the rise: New opportunities in identity verification despite ongoing skepticism
The cryptocurrency industry experienced a rebirth of sorts in 2023 after its collapse in 2022. Despite this positive development, a large part of the industry remains suspicious and potentially fraudulent. However, one interesting aspect of crypto technology is its potential role in identity verification. This technology could provide an alternative to biometrics, creating unique hashes based on a user’s identity. Despite new applications, NFT art remains controversial and is seen by many as pointless.
Apple’s Vision Pro: A milestone for VR and AR technology in the mass market
In 2023, Apple introduced its first VR headset, the Vision Pro. This impressive, albeit expensive, product from a leading technology manufacturer could establish VR and AR on the mass market. Apple brings brand recognition, customer loyalty, a strong ecosystem, data protection, security, an efficient supply chain and retail experience. Apple headsets are expected to become a popular Christmas gift in 2024 and establish VR and AR technology in the mainstream.
Voice-first apps will be an integral part of our lives
Until now, voice has only been used to a limited extent as a technological interface, and early voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri were often disappointing and limited to basic functions such as playing music and providing weather forecasts. Big voice models now promise improved voice assistants that enable more natural and efficient interactions. The digital world and hardware have not been geared towards voice experiences so far, but this is expected to change in 2024 with new talking devices and more advanced technology.
AI presenters become part of the news channels
In the US, 219 million TVs are connected to paid services and there is a niche market for streaming services with culturally insignificant content. A startup called “Channel 1” is planning a news channel run entirely by AI-generated presenters. This poses a challenge for both Hollywood and traditional content producers, as high-quality content remains the exception. In 2024, news is expected to be increasingly generated by AI and presented by artificial people, which could affect the spread of fake news.
People fall in love with AI
The increasing use of data and algorithms to alleviate loneliness has led to a new phenomenon: People are developing romantic feelings for artificial intelligences. Platforms such as Replika are marketing chatbots as constant conversation companions and supporters. User reactions to the removal of explicit role-playing features on Replika show how this technology is being used to combat loneliness. Other AI-based offerings such as botify.ai and digi.ai also lean towards virtual partners. Critics such as Magdalene J. Taylor point out the problematic effects of this development, such as bypassing real human relationships.
Apple’s focus on AI while maintaining data protection
Over the past decade, Apple has positioned itself as a defender of its customers’ privacy, which has contributed to its status as the most valuable and admired company in the world. Apple plans to capitalize on the current AI fever and make a similar impact on the market as it did two years ago in the advertising market. An improved version of Siri and AI-centric hardware are planned for 2024, which should have a direct impact on the competition. Apple wants to promote its privacy features such as end-to-end encryption, on-device processing, minimal data collection, user consent and control, and seamless integration into the existing ecosystem. Despite the current technical limitations, Apple is known for overcoming such obstacles.
Spotify on the pulse of AI-generated music
In April 2023, an artificially generated song mistakenly attributed to Drake and The Weeknd caused a major stir in the music industry. This event made it clear that AI has the potential to imitate popular artists. Although lawyers reacted to this development, it already seems to be too late. Algorithms could soon be used to analyze indie bands and produce more commercially successful songs. Spotify, which has collected huge amounts of data on listening behavior worldwide, plans to profit from this AI-generated music without considering a ban. By 2024, this data could be used to produce artificially generated music.
AI threats to global democracy: electoral integrity at risk
The year 2024, a record year with elections in 50 countries including the US, India, Mexico and South Africa, will be characterized by AI-influenced challenges. Over 2 billion voters could be affected by manipulation attempts by “bad actors” using AI systems to influence election results. The rise of AI-generated deepfakes and misinformation poses a serious threat to global democracy. International incidents and efforts to tighten controls on these technologies highlight a challenging year for political journalists.
New gaming era through AI: From lifelike NPCs to dynamic worlds
2024 could be the year that studios use AI to redefine the nature of gaming. Through procedural content and dynamic storytelling, games could offer unlimited environments and challenges that adapt to players’ choices. AI-driven characters that appear lifelike thanks to extensive language models, adaptive difficulty levels and learning capabilities could revolutionize the gaming experience. The integration of real-world data, community-driven content and cross-platform experiences could create an ever-expanding gaming universe. Autonomous AI development could lead to games evolving on their own, offering endless exploration and entertainment possibilities.
Deepfake proliferation and its consequences
With the expectation of new multimodal models, especially in the area of video generation, there is likely to be a significant increase in serious deepfakes in 2024. This development requires greater awareness among consumers and voters. While the EU is on the verge of adopting comprehensive AI regulations, the United States is unlikely to regulate. Companies and startups may unveil new models and capabilities, and the debate over Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) will continue. The focus should be on the current damage caused by disinformation and deepfakes, not on a possible world domination by AI.
“AI Hangover” hits companies
Struggling with the aftermath of euphoria
The year 2023 marked the peak of AI euphoria, especially in the corporate sector, with millions of AI projects worldwide. However, the rapid implementation of these projects to capitalize on the hype has led to problems in 2024. Many projects are stuck in the “POC purgatory” and cannot be scaled. The difficulties of integrating AI into existing processes have left some companies behind. The emergence of AI slowpokes in influential positions for security reasons could jeopardize more ethical companies, which could be overtaken by less ethical competitors in 2024.
AI integration as a key task for HR departments
The integration of AI assistants into the workplace and the use of internal company information and processes is increasing. This is increasingly becoming an area of responsibility for HR departments. Training employees on these technologies and deciding who needs which type of assistant and how to allocate the budget are already hot topics.
Using AI with company data is becoming the standard in day-to-day business
Simply providing general information and “hallucinations”, as is sometimes seen with AI applications, does not lead to the desired productivity benefits. Rather, the secure use of company data is crucial. The development of company-specific AI for different areas such as HR, marketing, service, etc. will become the standard for all companies that want to achieve measurable productivity gains.
The future is uncertain, but one thing is certain: artificial intelligence will play a crucial role. Whether it’s social media, entertainment, cryptocurrencies, virtual reality, voice assistants, gaming or business strategies, AI will fundamentally change the way we live and work. It’s time to prepare for these changes and take advantage of the opportunities they offer.