The year 2023 marked a significant milestone for artificial intelligence (AI) as it became an integral part of our daily lives. Recent data reveals that four out of five teenagers in the United Kingdom are utilizing generative AI tools, while about two-thirds of Australian employees are using them for work purposes.
Initially, people were drawn to these tools out of curiosity or for entertainment purposes. However, their usage has evolved, and now people rely on generative AI for assistance with studies, seeking advice, and finding or synthesizing information. It is also being used for coding assistance and creating images, videos, and audio.
Prompt whisperers, also known as prompt engineers, have emerged to guide individuals on designing effective AI prompts and blending different AI services to achieve extraordinary outputs.
Over the past year, the applications and functions of AI have shifted due to technological advancements, regulations, and social factors. Here’s a look at where we stand now and what we can expect in 2024.
AI’s Impact on Work and Prayer
Generative AI made headlines when it started winning photography competitions and even passing school exams. The popular chatbot ChatGPT gained a user base of 100 million by February, surpassing Australia’s population four times over.
Musicians used AI voice cloning to create synthetic music that emulates popular artists like Eminem. Google introduced its chatbot Bard, Microsoft integrated AI into Bing search, and Snapchat launched MyAI, a ChatGPT-powered tool for users to ask questions and receive suggestions.
In March, GPT-4, the latest version of the AI powering ChatGPT, was released with new features such as document analysis. Corporate giants like Coca-Cola started generating ads using AI, and Levi’s announced its use of AI for creating virtual models. The viral image of the Pope wearing a white Balenciaga puffer jacket gained attention, and some tech evangelists called for a pause in AI development.
Integration and Copyright Issues
In April, Amazon began incorporating generative AI tools into its products and services, while Japan ruled that there would be no copyright restrictions for training generative AI in the country.
In May, screenwriters in the United States went on strike, demanding a ban on AI-generated scripts. An AI-generated image allegedly depicting the Pentagon on fire went viral.
In July, AI-led religious services were introduced, and in August, Zoom faced scrutiny for changes to its terms of service regarding consumer data and AI. The company later clarified its policy and pledged not to use customers’ data without consent for AI training.
In September, paid users of ChatGPT gained access to voice and image functionalities, and Adobe integrated generative AI into applications like Illustrator and Photoshop.
Towards the end of the year, there was a shift towards “Edge AI,” where AI processes are handled locally on devices rather than in the cloud. This approach offers benefits in terms of privacy and security. Additionally, the EU announced the world’s first “AI Law.”
Considering the rapid developments in AI over the past year, we can expect to see more incremental changes in the coming year and beyond. Here are four areas where we anticipate significant developments:
1. Increased bundling of AI services and functions: Companies will bundle generative AI into existing services and combine functions to make AI services more intuitive, accessible, and useful. However, this may also make users more vulnerable to data breaches.
2. Higher quality, more realistic generations: AI generators have improved in rendering human hands and limbs. Efforts are being made to address biases in AI generators and provide services that reflect the diversity of customer bases.
3. Growing calls for transparency and media standards: News platforms have faced criticism for producing AI-generated content without transparently communicating it. Media industry standards need to be developed to denote when AI has been used to create or augment content, improving public trust.
4. Expansion of sovereign AI capacity: As AI tools become more prevalent across all sectors, there will be a need for fine-grained control over who governs these technologies. Future-focused leaders are likely to incentivize the development of sovereign capabilities through research and development funding and training programs.
Whether using generative AI for fun, work, or school, it is crucial to understand the strengths and limitations of the technology to use it responsibly and productively. Additionally, understanding how AI is being used by governments and other entities that impact our lives is equally important.