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Navigating 2024: Key AI developments to watch for

Will AI’s inability to grasp nuances, sarcasm, cultural references and emotional undertones stand in the way of its progress this year?
Johan Steyn
By Johan Steyn, Founder,
Johannesburg, 06 Feb 2024
Professor Johan Steyn, founder,
Professor Johan Steyn, founder,

The year 2024 stands as a pivotal moment in technological advancement, with artificial intelligence (AI) intersecting with quantum computing, signalling a transformative era in both domains. AI's evolution from a conceptual framework to a ubiquitous technology marks a significant milestone.

When you search for AI predictions for this year, you will certainly find a colossal amount of articles. If the last year taught us anything, given the ChatGPT-mania, then anything can happen. Below I highlight the main advances that I think we will see this year.

Advancements in AI models

AI models are expected to reach new heights in 2024, driven by advancements in computational capabilities and algorithmic sophistication. Enhanced accuracy, improved contextual understanding, and more human-like interaction capabilities will likely redefine AI applications.

The proliferation of AI across diverse sectors will continue to accelerate in 2024. Healthcare, finance, education and entertainment are poised to benefit significantly from AI integration, leading to more personalised, efficient and immersive experiences.

Ethical AI, governance and cyber security

The ethical implications of AI will become increasingly critical in 2024. I anticipate a heightened focus on developing guidelines and policies to ensure responsible AI usage, particularly in addressing biases, privacy concerns and transparency in AI operations. The European Union’s AI Act might become the model that most countries adopt.

AI's role in enhancing cyber security measures is set to be more prominent in 2024. Advanced threat detection and rapid response capabilities enabled by AI will be crucial in combating evolving cyber threats.

Employment, accessibility and inclusivity

The impact of AI on the job market remains a key topic in 2024. While AI automation poses challenges to certain jobs, it also creates new opportunities in AI management, development and ethical oversight.

Efforts to make AI more accessible and inclusive are expected to gain momentum in 2024. Initiatives aimed at reducing algorithmic biases and enhancing the user-friendliness of AI tools will be crucial for ensuring equitable access to AI benefits.

Quantum computing

In 2024, the integration of AI with quantum computing is poised to usher in a revolutionary era in computational capabilities.

Quantum computing, characterised by its ability to process and analyse vast amounts of data at speeds unattainable by traditional computers, offers a complementary force to AI's sophisticated algorithms and learning capabilities.

This synergy could significantly enhance AI's problem-solving prowess, especially in fields that demand immense computational power.

The integration of AI with quantum computing is poised to usher in a revolutionary era in computational capabilities.

While promising significant advancements, this new era also brings with it a set of potential risks that warrant careful consideration.

One of the most pressing concerns is cyber security. Quantum computers, with their exceptional ability to process information and break traditional encryption methods, could render current cyber security protocols obsolete, exposing sensitive data to new vulnerabilities. This poses a significant risk to national security, financial systems and personal privacy.

Africa, developing countries and global AI developments

In 2024, Africa and other developing regions are expected to increasingly adopt AI technologies, albeit facing unique challenges and opportunities. These regions could leverage AI to address pressing issues like healthcare access, agricultural efficiency and education.

However, challenges such as digital infrastructure gaps, skill shortages and ethical considerations specific to these regions will need to be addressed.

Collaborative efforts, both local and international, will be essential in ensuring these regions are not left behind in the AI revolution.

The global AI landscape in 2024 is likely to be competitive, with nations around the world investing in AI and quantum computing research. This global race could drive significant innovations but also poses questions about international cooperation and equitable technology distribution.

Challenges and limitations of AI

The AI landscape in this new year continues to be marred by significant challenges that impede its full potential. One of the most notable challenges is the issue of context understanding.

AI systems, despite their advanced algorithms and learning capabilities, often struggle with interpreting context, especially in natural language processing and human interactions.

This limitation hinders AI from fully grasping nuances, sarcasm, cultural references and emotional undertones, leading to misunderstandings or inappropriate responses.

AI's ability to manage and process large volumes of data, while impressive, is not without its difficulties.

The sheer volume of data generated every day presents a formidable challenge in terms of storage, processing speed and efficiency. Additionally, data quality and relevance remain critical issues, as AI systems are only as good as the data they are trained on.

Poor quality or biased data sets can lead to inaccurate or skewed outcomes, undermining the reliability and effectiveness of AI applications.

Conclusion: Embracing a responsible AI and quantum future

As we move through 2024, AI and quantum computing stand at the forefront of a global technological revolution. Their combined potential offers exciting prospects for addressing complex global challenges.

However, this journey requires a balanced approach, considering ethical implications, societal impacts and the need for inclusive growth, particularly in regions like Africa and other developing countries.

Embracing the potential of AI and quantum computing, while addressing their challenges head-on, will be key to harnessing their power for the betterment of humanity across the globe.

The year 2024 represents not only a milestone in technological progress but also an opportunity for global collaboration and equitable technological advancement.