Seven Predictions For Tech in 2024
The next steps for generative AI, the year of mixed reality,
The past year was easily the most interesting I’ve covered in more than a decade on the tech beat. We witnessed legitimate technological breakthroughs, the breaking and reformation of OpenAI, the ascent of NVIDIA, the fall of SBF, and wild, Big Tech-driven swings in the stock market.
Next year might top it. The tech industry has poured so much money and effort into generative AI that new models and products will soon flood the market. Some will retain information for longer than today’s bots, and others might start to reason. This evolution of LLMs leads my list of predictions for 2024, covering what’s next for AI, self-driving, mixed reality, and more:
Generative AI’s Next Steps Come Into Focus
Large language models are neat, but they’re nowhere near AI’s final destination. Even OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said ChatGPT “is not very good” at an NYC gala last week. In 2024, we’re going to see what good looks like. Models will start to remember us, extending their ability to hold a conversation across multiple sessions. Startups will make progress on getting AI agents to book flights, call Ubers, and file expenses. A new obsession will emerge around large language models’ ability to reason vs. predict the next word. The debate over whether LLMs can reason will be the AI field’s most contentious fight in 2024.
Ilya Sutskever Leaves OpenAI
After joining the effort to oust Sam Altman as OpenAI’s CEO — and quickly regretting it — OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever will find a new home in 2024. You can take back some things, but throwing an $80 billion+ company into existential chaos isn’t one of them. In a note upon his return, Altman said he and Sutskever were discussing how Sutskever “can continue his work at OpenAI.” There will be plenty of bids for Sutskever’s services, with a bunch likely in his inbox already. If he chooses to leave, his likeliest next step is Anthropic.
The Year of Mixed Reality
AI has injected new life into mixed reality, setting up a big year in 2024. It may not be long before AI avatars appear within the Oculus and the Vision Pro, hanging out with humans via pass-through experiences. Imagine watching sports on the Vision Pro with an AI avatar in the room that’s cheering on your team and answering questions about the matchup, team stats, player histories, etc. Meanwhile, camera-equipped smart glasses like Meta’s Raybans will have AI assistants that speak with you about the world you’re seeing.
Elon Musk Sells X
Running the world’s most unruly social network gets exhausting, and its leaders don’t tend to stick around for long. It’s no wonder the perpetually checked-out Jack Dorsey was Twitter’s longest-tenured CEO. He let everyone else deal with the frustration. Musk will sell X in Q4 2024, right after the U.S. Presidential election. By then, the Fed’s rate cuts will have helped private market valuations rebound, and Musk can walk away and return his focus to Tesla, SpaceX, and other efforts.
Meta Returns to $1 trillion
Meta’s market cap dipped to $326 billion this year, triggering Mark Zuckerberg’s “year of efficiency” that included drastic cuts to spending and staff. The company is now up 180% on the year and worth approximately $900 billion. This isn’t investment advice, but next year’s interest rate cuts should make life easier for the tech giants, and Meta should easily clear $1 trillion in market cap.
NVIDIA Ends The Year About Even
NVIDIA’s easy ride is ending. A slew of competitors are challenging the chipmaker. And now, its spectacular run in the stock market, where it’s added $800 billion in market cap in 2023, will slow. The market values companies based on what will happen in 12 to 18 months. So now, investment dollars will spread to eventual competitors like AMD, Intel, and the tech giants.
Waymo runs away with the self-driving market
After being the third most exciting autonomous driving company all year, Waymo took the lead in December. In a war of attrition, Cruise lost its CEO, approximately 24% of its employee base, and much of its ambition after an accident led to its vehicles getting yanked from public roads. Tesla had to patch millions of cars whose self-driving features weren’t safe enough. Waymo’s methodical approach is proving wise, and the company will cement its lead next year.
That’s all from me this year. Thank you so much for reading along. I appreciate you all very much and can’t wait to get back to it in January.
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This week on Big Technology Podcast: Is Generative AI Killing Creativity Or Enhancing It? — With Scott Belsky
Scott Belsky is the chief strategy officer and executive vice president of design and emerging products at Adobe. He joins Big Technology Podcast to examine the impact of generative AI on creativity. In this interview, we discuss whether AI homogenizes creativity or creates more possibilities. We talk about how Adobe is baking it into its products with generative fill. We also discuss creative attribution for images used to train generative AI models and how friction is actually good. Tune in for one of the most fascinating discussions on the podcast in 2023.
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