Generative AI Was The Breakout Tech Of 2023, But What Comes Next?

January 22, 2024  |  Mark Hillary

Generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) was the breakout technology of 2023. This is no surprise given how rapidly the OpenAI product ChatGPT was adopted by the general public. In January, it reached over 100m active users after only being available for two months.

Analysts reported just how significant this growth was by comparing it to other popular applications. TikTok took nine months to gain as many users, and Instagram needed two and a half years. Things are moving faster today, and very fast for Gen AI.

In July 2023, the AI expert Simon Kriss released a book describing how AI will empower the customer experience. This was an important observation because Simon’s book describes how companies from all industrial sectors are now scrambling to use AI to improve the way they communicate with customers.

The move from AI to Gen AI has been important. Many business leaders have already been using AI to spot patterns and trends in their data. This could be for tasks as diverse as spotting when hackers might be entering a corporate network by highlighting unusual activity to identifying trends and predicting what customers may want next.

However, the generative aspect of Gen AI has created many new opportunities.

Research by McKinsey shows just how far Gen AI has penetrated into the boardroom. 22% of respondents to their research say that it is already being used in their work, and 79% have used it — even if they are not directly using it in their job.

Marketing and sales tasks are the most popular area where Gen AI has been quickly adopted, but this is closely followed by product development and service operations.

The McKinsey research indicates that tasks such as creating the first draft of a new document, customer chatbots, document summarization, and creating new product designs are all tasks where companies are already using Gen AI to improve their productivity.

But what is coming next?

There has been a reset of expectations throughout 2023. The initial wave of euphoria at just how powerful Gen AI really is has led to skeptics also pointing out where it has weaknesses. This is really just a result of the general media over-promising what is possible at the start of 2023. More sober and experienced voices started confirming what Gen AI can really do, but also what it cannot do.

I featured on this IBA Group video where we discussed the realities of AI use, and Gen AI in particular. One of the most important takeaways from the discussion reflects the McKinsey research – there is a genuine opportunity to transform businesses with Gen AI, but don’t believe the general media hype.

Explore the subject. Create a pilot. Test what is possible. Find an expert partner that can help you to understand the real possibilities and not just the comments of a technology journalist who wants their article to be popular.

AI will become more useful in 2024, but the most important trend will be a shift from assuming it can do anything (the hype cycle) to a more genuine exploration of where it can really work well. Many will find that they have a powerful digital assistant that can now create first drafts and ideas. It cannot completely replace skilled creative professionals, but Gen AI gives a productivity boost that will be impossible to ignore in 2024.

IBA Group has designed and deployed many AI and machine learning systems and understands the importance of pilots and tests to prove the business capabilities of these tools.

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