When it comes to technological development, every breakthrough builds upon the groundwork established by former innovations and improvements. The year 2023, in this regard, was a seminal one, not only because of the various developments that it unveiled in the domains of AI, chip design, augmented reality, Wi-Fi, etc., but also for the platform that it has built for future innovations.
2024, therefore, promises to be a fascinating year in the realm of technology, with significantly more sophisticated systems getting built, greater ubiquity of these powerful systems, and novel end-use applications being created to leverage this newfound potential. So, as we usher in this new year, here’s some musings about what we can expect going forward, and what there is to be excited and concerned about in the coming year.
2023 saw AI dominate the headlines, with ChatGPT and OpenAI leading the hype train. And, in 2024, we can expect more of this same trend. Part of this is due to the vast untapped potential of this sector, which has only recently found expression. Another reason is the competition induced progress that this space will see in the coming years.
Currently, all major chip designers are trying to find ways of stealing an advantage over their competitors in the generative AI game, leading to an increasing spread of devices that contain dedicated AI processing hardware.
Whether it is Intel with their new Meteor Lake chips (they plan to ship out 100 million units by 2025) that has their first integrated NPU (Neural processing engine), or AMD’s recently launched Instinct MI300 series of chips, or Snapdragon with their 8 Gen 3 chips that bring on-device support for models with up to 10 billion parameters, or with Apple rapidly making gains in performance on their neural engines in their iPhones. Nearly every major player wants to get ahead in the AI game. And, we can expect dedicated AI hardware to become as commonplace as the Bluetooth modem, starting next year.
AI – Larger Systems
The development paradigm of AI follows the law of scaling, which basically asserts that with more computational power and larger datasets, the capability of the final model improves across the board. Now, as the AI wars heat up and the biggest, most cash-rich firms try to pull ahead, we will see immense resources being deployed to train the largest and most sophisticated models.
Recently, Google released its Gemini model where the Ultra variant is rumoured to have over 1.5 trillion parameters and cost around $1-2 billion to develop. Similarly, Anthropic is ready to transition to billion-dollar models by 2024. And OpenAI is also certainly already spending the same ballpark amount to train its next-generation GPT 5 model.
As a result of all of this, we can expect 2024 to be a year of huge multimodal AI systems, with impressive general intelligence levels. This process will also be further accelerated by the new chips that have been released by Nvidia and AMD, including their H200 and Instinct MI300 series of chips, respectively, which can process far larger datasets at vastly higher speeds.
A Year Of Regulation
EU, in the month of December, passed their provisional AI Act which groups AI applications into four risk levels, and regulates them according to their potential harms. President Biden passed an executive order in late October on a safe, secure, and trustworthy Artificial intelligence. And India, aiming to enact a light touch regulatory framework for AI, is also debating and drafting regulation for AI.
2024, the largest election year in recent memory for G20 nations, should see this process of regulation of AI get ramped up dramatically. With disinformation, deepfakes, and social engineering poised to occur yet again for election manipulation, using AI, we can expect 2024 to churn up various new interesting debates on regulation, and governments taking the task of its regulation far more urgently.
Augmented Reality And Virtual Reality
With the launch of Apple Vision Pro in 2024, that will take the capabilities of AR and VR to the next level, to the Meta & Ray-Ban’s smart glasses, which are the first real attempt at a discrete everyday-wear smart glasses since Google Glass, there is a lot to be excited about in this space. Lightweight, longer lasting headsets, with much higher resolution and processing power will be the theme of AR and VR in 2024.
Material Sciences Progress
In November 2023, Google revealed that its DeepMind researchers had utilised the AI tool called GNoME to discover over 2.2 million crystal structures, in a massive win for material science. The paper in Nature which details these findings states that this is more than 45 times larger than the number of such substances unearthed in the history of science (which total 48,000) and worth about 800 years of experimental research.
Now, in 2024, we can expect to see much R&D going into exploring these crystals, a task that will lead to major downstream impacts on renewable energy, superconductors, battery technology, advanced computation, and much more.
With the proliferation of smart devices and the consequent boom in the number of connected devices, our requirements from existing Wi-Fi protocols and routers have been constantly expanding. To address these rising demands, the next generation protocol (Wi-Fi 7) has been engineered to be a major leap forward.
Promising speeds that are 4.8 times faster, latency that is 100 times lower, and network capacity that is 5 times larger, the improvements will substantially improve the standard from Wi-Fi 6. In 2024 we should see mass adoption of this standard through new devices being sold, and applications such as 8k streaming and multiplayer gaming seeing major improvements.
Tech, as usual therefore, will be a cornucopia of changes and developments that promises to leave every follower bewildered and fascinated. Moneycontrol