The New ‘Business As Usual’ – How Generative AI is Set to Change 2024

By: Michael McQueen

Whatever game you are playing, generative AI is changing it.

As the capabilities of the technology continue to proliferate, our societies are in the midst of fundamental change – as sizable as that generated by the advent of the printing press.

2024 is set to be another massive year for AI as we continue to see big companies integrate it into their operations, jobs evolve with the takeover, and regulations play catch up.

Here are 3 ways generative AI is set to affect the way we do business-as-usual.

1. It’s not just blue-collar work in the firing line.

We have long been familiar with the threat of automation on industrial work, factories, administration and the simple, repetitive tasks that tend to clog up our everyday work. While there has been talk for years of AI replacing people like journalists, surgeons and lawyers, the reality of this seemed a long way off. This is no longer the case.

With generative AI having only accelerated since models like ChatGPT were launched a couple of years ago, white collar jobs are among those at risk of being taken over. The Burning Glass Institute recently published a report revealing the increasing need for workers to prepare for an AI-driven future workplace. Particularly for the large multi-national corporations with a high capacity to integrate the technology quickly, the trade off in paying such large employee bases will simply no longer prove worth it.[1]

It is most likely that AI won’t act as a complete replacement for human labour but as an addition that significantly streamlines workplace activities. For businesses and workers, there is a rising need to learn to work alongside AI as well as an opportunity to reimagine the human contribution of employees to their work. In any case, the trick will be using the technology to improve the lives of humans, rather than the other way around.

2. Generative AI will become a coworker in all parts of life.

Not only will we be learning to live alongside AI in our workplaces, but we will increasingly find it a part of our regular daily activities as companies integrate it into their existing systems.

Microsoft has begun the year with a change to its laptop and PC keyboards, adding a Copilot key which will enable faster access to the Copilot function on Windows. Rather than acting as an add-on, this move signals an integration of generative AI into the basic functions of computers, offering the ability to instantly and automatically create images, write emails, draw up spreadsheets and summarise information.[2] Alongside this, Microsoft also launched their Copilot app for iPhone users, enabling all the same functions via smartphones.

Google is running the same race, integrating its existing AI app Bard into a more advanced model which they are calling Gemini. Not only can Gemini complete the basic AI tasks of brainstorming business ideas or creating schedules, but it can engage in much more complex activities – coding, logical reasoning and creative collaboration. This will be available on both laptops and smartphones, meaning this kind of AI is set to pervade the most fundamental of our everyday tasks.[3]

It would be easy, and quite logical, to assume that AI like this would be kept in our homes and workplaces existing solely on our devices. This is not the case at all, with Volkswagen now integrating an AI-powered chatbot similar to its cars. Several Volkswagen models will be featuring the chatbot, including its line of electric vehicles. Mercedes-Benz features ChatGPT in its infotainment system as well, with both companies looking to include the technology enabling drivers to voice control car functions, source information and have conversations. And of course, it is all hands-free.[4]

3. The rules will need to play catch-up.

With the technology evolving so rapidly and with companies integrating it so quickly, it is no surprise that regulations are needing to play catch-up.

The Federal Communications Commission in the US recently banned robocalls that contain AI-generated voices, as a New Hampshire investigation into robocalls imitating Joe Biden continues. This will not only outlaw the dangerous use of AI impersonations for manipulative purposes, but any use of AI voices in phone calls. Harsh fines are in place for any company that breaks the law.[5]

However, cases like the Joe Biden impersonation call are becoming more and more common. Recently, a worker was scammed into paying $39 million as a result of receiving a deepfake video of his co-workers. Artificial intelligence software was used to impersonate his superiors in a video conference in which all members except him were fake. While this is an extreme case, deepfakes of public figures, celebrities and politicians can be found all over the internet, with some dangerous results. Both regulations and ethics themselves will need to keep up as this technology continues to burgeon.[6]

If we are wondering what will feature most heavily in our new normal moving forward, it is generative AI. Within a decade, it is likely that the most basic of our tasks will be unrecognisable with much of our human effort supplemented by this technology. How will it impact our quality of life, the way we spend our time or our philosophy of what it means to be human? The jury is still very much out.

Article supplied with thanks to Michael McQueen.

About the Author: Michael is a trends forecaster, business strategist and award-winning conference speaker.

Feature image: Photo by Mojahid Mottakin on Unsplash