The future of artificial intelligence (AI) in 2024 and beyond

A look at the networked society thanks to artificial intelligence and algorithms

Find out how artificial intelligence (AI) will shape the future in 2024 and why ‘future literacy’ and ‘future agency’ are crucial. We shed light on the technological trend, the social impact and the need for new skills in this hyper-digital era.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is on an unstoppable advance in 2024 and is shaping the future in a hyper-digital world. These developments, which involve both technological and social changes, are of great importance and call on us to actively participate in shaping them.

Actively shaping the future: From “future literacy” to “future agency”

Our fascination with the future is deeply rooted in our nature. We want to know what awaits us so that we can prepare for it and respond appropriately. But it’s not just about knowing the future; it’s about actively shaping the future. This requires not only “future literacy” – the ability to imagine different futures and question assumptions – but also “future agency” – the ability to proactively influence.

However, at a time when digitalization is penetrating ever deeper into our lives, the downsides are also coming to light. Instead of unrestricted connectivity, “interfaces” are increasingly emerging that drive the fragmentation of systems and people. But our task is to use the forces of change intelligently, to unite the old and the new in a meaningful way and thus create dynamic stability. While the coronavirus pandemic has confronted us with digital challenges, technologies such as video conferencing and online education have also helped to maintain communication and knowledge sharing.

Technological trend: AI as a driver of hyperdigitality

In 2024, we will see AI become the driving force behind hyperdigitality. The boundaries between hype and reality are blurring. AI-driven systems have already found a permanent place in our everyday lives and are having a positive impact in various areas, from education to climate research. In medicine, AI algorithms allow us to make more precise diagnoses and personalized treatment plans for patients, revolutionizing healthcare. It is revolutionizing the way we work and live. AI is integrating seamlessly into our physical and digital world, opening up completely new dimensions of connectivity.

A key development in this area is AI’s understanding of text. This has developed rapidly in recent years. The latest generation of generative AI, especially the “big language models” such as ChatGPT, enables humans to interact almost seamlessly with machines without extensive programming knowledge.

These systems, like ChatGPT, work like giant auto-completion machines. Similar to a search engine, they complete words based on probabilities and thus generate texts that resemble human communication. Nevertheless, it is important to emphasize that these AI models do not reach new levels of human “intelligence”. They still lack cultural and ethical abilities to distinguish between right and wrong, meaningful and meaningless. They can process grammar, but do not understand the meaning behind the words.

A key problem with the use of AI in public discourse is the general opacity of these systems. Users cannot see the underlying data sets, the logical connections or understand the probabilities of the statements generated. It is important to recognize that generative AI models are always ideological, as they are trained on the texts they are based on. While AI systems provide us with information, they can also adopt unconscious biases from the data they learn from. This shows how important it is to consider ethical issues when dealing with AI.

Despite these challenges, we can expect significant progress in this area in the coming years. We will see purposefully and transparently trained language models that are also more energy efficient than their current versions. AI algorithms and language models will increasingly find their way into the corporate world, accelerating processes and supporting complex decision-making. Above all, AI systems can stimulate human creativity by revealing unconventional perspectives and inspiring new ideas. An AI-based tool for creative brainstorming can support teams in developing innovative solutions to complex problems.

Collaboration between humans and machines will continue to evolve and aim to combine functional machine “intelligence” with creative human intelligence. The use of language as a medium is changing our relationship with AI-controlled entities. While it is still primarily functional today (e.g. “Alexa, turn off the lights”), it is already evolving towards creativity, connection, friendship and co-creation.

Social impact: The New Superpower – Encounter

In a world dominated by AI and digitalization, the ability to engage in interpersonal encounters is becoming a new superpower. The more often our interactions are accompanied by AI, the more valuable human interactions, empathy and interpersonal connections become. Despite the impressive performance of AI systems, they cannot fully capture human nuances and social dynamics. Therefore, “deep talking” is becoming just as important as “deep learning”. For example, in psychological therapy, AI can be used to support patients, but human therapists will still be needed to provide empathy and emotional support.

This opens up immense opportunities for companies, especially for organizations that have so far mainly used AI to automate routine tasks in order to work more efficiently. The key resource is not just the technology, but the human potential. Organizations, authorities and institutions should focus on this interpersonal potential in order to drive forward the positive shaping of society.

This requires a change in awareness at all levels. Education should increasingly promote “human-only” skills such as creativity, imagination and empathy. The appreciation of emotions, intuition and compassion should be given a higher priority. All of this wisely complements the efficiency of AI and contributes to human development.

Here we need schools to offer social and emotional intelligence programs to help students be better prepared for interpersonal challenges.

Linguistically gifted AI underscores what futurist Kevin Kelly recognized a decade ago: “The greatest benefit of the advent of AI is that an AI will help define humans.” It is becoming increasingly clear that the real task of humans is to live together, to cultivate personal relationships and to truly understand each other. Machines will take over the expertise, but humans will remain the experts in humanity.

Shaping the next society

The “Next Society” will emerge from the merging of humans and technology. It requires a reassessment of our values and goals. Human purpose is shifting from purely economic interests to a more holistic view that considers the well-being of society and the planet. The challenge is to create a balanced relationship between technology and humanity. Companies that use sustainable practices and technologies show how technology and environmental protection can go hand in hand.

Future Skills: The need for new skills

The future requires us to evolve and acquire new skills. In addition to technical knowledge, “future skills” are of crucial importance. These include critical thinking, emotional intelligence, creative problem-solving and intercultural communication. These skills enable us to be successful in a networked and constantly changing world.

These future skills range from the ability to learn and flexibility, agile working and change management to emotional intelligence and critical thinking. It is not just about accumulating knowledge, but also about applying this knowledge productively and acting professionally.

A call for co-creation

The 21st century marks a historic turning point in the evolution of society. Under the auspices of networking, society is fundamentally reshaping itself and requires a new, transformative attitude towards the future. Change is never easy; it requires a process that combines acceptance, inner adaptation and finding practical solutions.

One example is the young people who are committed to climate protection and demanding changes in politics and the economy. This shows how people can actively participate in shaping their future.

This is exactly what we continue to need for all other topics. Because the future of AI and technology depends on us. We should not passively wait for developments, but actively participate in them. The future is not an external force that we are helplessly at the mercy of, but a transformation process that we can consciously and actively help to shape. We have the opportunity and the responsibility to steer technological developments in such a way that they are in line with our values and needs. AI is a powerful tool that supports us in realizing our visions. But we must not forget that the future will ultimately be human. It is up to us to ensure that AI and technology help us to create a better and more human world.

Overall, it is clear that the future of AI in 2024 and beyond is one of profound change and opportunity. The marriage of technology and humanity will be a central theme as we shape the ‘Next Society’ together. It is time to actively participate in this shaping and ensure that the future does indeed remain human. We are the designers of our own future, and together we can create a world where humans and technology coexist harmoniously and lay the foundations for a thriving society. Let’s embark on this journey together and shape a future that reflects our values and visions. The time is ripe for change and progress – let’s be the pioneers of this new age.

As the "Head of Data Strategy & Data Culture" at O2 Telefónica, Britta champions data-driven business transformation. She is also the founder of "," a platform dedicated to empowering change-makers in the corporate and business sectors. Before her current role, Britta established an Artificial Intelligence department at IBM, where she spearheaded the implementation of AI programs for various corporations. She is the author of "The Disruption DNA" (2021), a book that motivates individuals to take an active role in digital transformation.

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