AI & Data Science Predictions For 2024

by Bill Franks

What’s coming up in the world of AI and data science in 2024? I’ll provide my thoughts here. I haven’t done a blog with predictions for a number of years, so I thought I’d give it a go and see if people find it valuable or not. These are just my opinions, and at least one is a bit risky, but hopefully these thoughts will either reinforce your own or spur some new ones.  

Prediction 1: Deepfakes Will Become A Huge Mess

I first talked about deepfakes in 2018. With deepfake technology being better and cheaper than ever, I am convinced this year we’ll see it fully weaponized to impact a major election, whether in the US or somewhere else. A deepfake will come out, torpedo a candidate, and then once it is too late, it will be proven a fake. There are simply too many cheap services available for making deepfakes, many of them ironically focused on legitimate uses. The intent of an offering, however, doesn’t mean that someone won’t abuse it. I personally think that we need to make creating unauthorized deepfakes of people count like identify theft from a legal perspective to make people think twice about doing it. If this prediction comes true, the silver lining is that it may make the largely unaware general public recognize the deepfake problem and the need to address it. 

Prediction 2: Intellectual Property And Copyright Lawsuits Will Continue Unresolved

The first waves of lawsuits related to internet scraping to create AI training data have already hit. There are nuances to the various cases, but none of them are simplistic slam dunks. To the extent that any cases are decided this year, we can expect them to be appealed almost for certain (regardless of who wins), which will extend the uncertainty further. Therefore, I don’t see any practical clarity on the issue in 2024. I still stand by the view that companies like Adobe will be the winners since their training data was demonstrably fully licensed and they can continue their offerings without risk related to the lawsuits. Many other technology companies’ offerings aren’t so clean.

Prediction 3: AI Legislation Will See Substantial Advances

The EU finished the year with some landmark progress with the passage of one of the first comprehensive AI legislation packages. Is it perfect? Not even close. Is it a good starting point? Likely so. There will be a lot more work and revision necessary as we learn the strengths, unintended consequences, and gaps of the current language of the law. However, with the EU putting this stake in the ground, it will force the issue like never before. Other countries, including the US, will now have more pressure to get on board and put in place their own protections.

Prediction 4: Many More Investments … But Still Too Few Successes

Most large companies I talk to are putting substantial time and money toward implementing AI, especially generative AI. As with any hype cycle, however, too many initiatives are predicated on hopping on the AI bandwagon more than solving specific business problems that AI is a good fit to address. I don’t expect the number companies with wild AI successes in 2024 to outnumber those with dismal failures or fizzling disappointments. The underestimated reality of the data, governance, and algorithmic complexity required is already causing pain for many companies. However, those who get it right will be well rewarded. Even if companies initially failure, they can’t afford to completely pull back and miss the AI trend. Success is an imperative, it just won’t come quickly or easily for most.

Prediction 5: There Will Be An Major Unanticipated AI Advance

By this I mean that I don’t even know what it is myself! However, with the speed that AI is evolving and the rapid improvement in the quality and variety of approaches, it is easy to imagine another big leap in some aspect of AI. Just as generative AI caught most people off guard in terms of the speed and size of its impact in late 2022, I think that there will almost certainly be another big surprise this year. I’m not being squirrelly by not giving a specific prediction. I literally don’t know what it will be myself, but I am sure there will be something. Maybe that’s still too squirrelly for some readers, but that’s what I’ve got!

Wrap Up Those are my 2024 predictions. Take them or leave them, but I hope at least one or two resonate with you. Please feel free to add your thoughts on my predictions and or to add your own prediction in the comments. Here’s to a great 2024!

Originally posted on Linked-in on January 9, 2024: