Five ways AI is going to change the world in 2024

This year’s AI boom was a mind-shredding black swan moment; humanity’s first touch with the unfathomable potential of machine learning. Since then, wild optimism has been mixed with apocalyptic dread: Will AI create a heaven on Earth, or are we destined for a last-gasp escape to Mars to flee the robot revolt?

Whatever happens in the long term, 2024 promises to be brimmed full of innovation and adoption. From creating an AI-based Shakespeare to machine learning saving the planet, we look at what’s in store for 2024. 

AI to create a healthtech boom

AI’s role in healthcare is likely to expand significantly. This could include more advanced diagnostic tools, personalized medicine based on genetic and lifestyle data, and even AI-assisted surgical procedures. In biotechnology, AI might play a critical role in drug discovery and the development of new therapies.

Indeed, the AI healthcare has battle has just begun. Google on Wednesday announced MedLM, a suite of new health-care-specific artificial intelligence models, are being rolled-out to support clinicians and researchers carry out complex studies and break down doctor-patient interactions in simple reports. 

Machines-learning bards 

The evolution of Natural language processing (NLP) is expected to continue, with models becoming even more sophisticated in understanding and generating human language.  This could lead to AI systems that are better at context understanding, sentiment analysis, and even creative language tasks like poetry or prose writing.

This was poem was written by an AI bot. It is not exactly Yeats but was noted by literary critics for its use of vivid imagery. 

I conduct myself in a windy manner because I am  

Drunk and enchanted in this field.  

The oxygen around my head is rabid  

And filled with orange light  

like an equinoctial tiger to its flesh.  

My heart moves violently 

On this neon ship.

Elevation in ethics

As AI becomes more integral to our lives, 2024 may see more significant strides in developing ethical frameworks and governance structures for AI. This could involve ensuring AI fairness, transparency, and accountability, especially in critical areas like law enforcement, employment, and personal data usage.

As the era of AGI takes root expect a fierce philosophical and moral battle to begin. Sadly, we expect this to be used by both the left and right to further polarise an already fractured global society. 

Combatting climate change 

AI’s application in combating climate change and supporting environmental sustainability is likely to grow. This might include more efficient energy management systems, AI-driven climate modeling and prediction, and enhanced monitoring of environmental changes.

For example, in central India, tomato farmers are facing challenges due to extreme weather events, leading to significant crop losses. To address this, a Silicon Valley startup, ClimateAi, developed an AI platform to assess crop vulnerability to climate change. 

Their tool analyses climate, water, and soil data to forecast the viability of agricultural landscapes. In a 2021 case study in Maharashtra, India, farmers used the app to input seed and location data. 

ClimateAi’s simulations predicted a 30% decrease in tomato yield over the next two decades due to heat and drought. This insight led farmers to adopt more resilient seed varieties and adjust planting schedules, significantly altering their agricultural practices for better sustainability.

Quantum leap 

Though still in a nascent stage, the integration of quantum computing with AI could see some breakthroughs. Quantum computing’s potential to process vast amounts of data at unprecedented speeds might start to unlock new possibilities in AI, particularly in areas requiring complex computations like molecular modeling or complex system simulations.

A study by Boston Consulting Group highlighted the substantial market potential, estimated between $50 billion and $100 billion, in the fields of generative, foundational, and horizontal AI technologies. These advancements are set to influence a wide array of industries. BCG also notes that there are further opportunities worth billions in sectors like fraud prevention, money laundering, and automotive AI algorithms.

Despite these prospects, quantum computing is currently in its early stages. Present-day quantum computers possess only a limited number of qubits, and preserving their quantum state (coherence) presents a major challenge. This limitation restricts the complexity of calculations these computers can effectively perform.

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