As we launch into 2024, the business landscape will be shaped by transformative tech advances. From AI to cybersecurity, companies’ ability to adapt to these changes will become a strategic imperative allowing them to achieve what was once science fiction but is now unimaginable opportunities. As a thought leader and practice lead in the AI and data space, Synthesis Technologies’ Archana (Archie) Arakkal, gives some insight into the technology trends to look out for in 2024.
Large Language Models (LLMs) available at your disposal
Some of the biggest trends that I’m seeing are specifically around the large language models (LLMs) that are being adopted globally. Chat GPT has distributed new models and has released new versions. But what this means is that we have even more powerful foundational models that AI practitioners can work with. All the research and development that has been going on behind the scenes is now accessible and democratised to normal developers, explains Archie. Typically, when trying to at least train models that can understand human language, it would take millions and millions of data records and data sets to go about curating that. But now, by having these LLMs available at our disposal, it means all the data sets and resources, computation, and money that has been invested into developing these large language model LLMs are now accessible to normal developers. This opens quite a few avenues and trends within the market with very powerful models that are being pushed out into the world, such as open AI models, the MISTRAL models, and the Llama 2 models. These are extremely powerful models that are available at our disposal. Having the ability to quickly iterate on these models is now making it even more challenging because people are going about building different systems without having the correct guardrails and experience to back it all up.
Knowledge sharing through Generative AI (Gen AI)
Normal developers can leverage other developers’ coding standards instead of having to learn or practice their craft over five to six years before they can become quite proficient in their coding abilities. When you have more Gen AI models that can assist you, you are ingesting all the experience from all the developers out there rather than having to learn and take time to practice your craft. So, it’s shortening the window that it requires for people to become more proficient in their coding abilities and shortening the time it takes to have more systems available in the environment. Similarly, within the creative space, having these models at your disposal makes it easier to create content quickly resulting in speed to delivery increasing significantly over time.
With these trends coming into the ether, the next question to be asked is “How can I go about evaluating whether a model or a system that is being developed is ethical and responsible?” says Archie.
In South Africa, these trends have enabled us to have entry to more international standards and ideas, which means that we’re getting closer to countries that we previously didn’t have access to. In the past, America would lead the trend, and South Africa would follow maybe three or four years later if we were lucky, explains Archie. But now because of all these technologies available to us and having models that are distributing the knowledge, we’re closing that gap and getting closer to the global trends that are happening around us.
Often you have all these individuals who are highly motivated to start leveraging off the new tech trends, but they almost must go backwards to do their normal day-to-day work. What ends up happening is people lose interest in this domain and leave to go somewhere else. Unfortunately, there is a huge vacuum in terms of skills due to this nature. From a business perspective, it is imperative that you encourage the use of new tech and not be afraid of this new way of coming forward as it’s not going to disappear. Individuals need to be encouraged within different enterprises and organisations to constantly foster, both on a theoretical aspect and training aspect, as well as being able to develop and change systems that can work with a new way of doing things. This is the best bet to ensure that organisations don’t lose their existing skill set and can adapt to necessary future tech advances, advises Archie.
As for the most exciting tech trends for 2024, Archie believes that Gen AI is where it is booming. “GPT started with GPT 3 and now it’s been progressed into several versions of it, so we’ve seen the benefit of it from a POC perspective. I’m quite excited that people have started understanding the reality of what this can bring to our forum, Gen AI specifically. There is also a new Llama version coming out and seeing all these new models being released and all the new partnerships that are happening both with Amazon Web Services South Africa, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and on the Microsoft Azure side of things is very exciting for 2024”, says Archie.