Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to maintain its hold on the technology industry next year and into the short-term future, according to research firm Gartner’s top 10 trends for 2024.
Among the firm’s list, four of the spots went to AI-related areas. The first is democratised generative AI (genAI), which Gartner said has come about due to the confluence of massively pre-trained models, cloud computing and open source.
As such, the firm forecasted that by 2026, over 80 per cent of enterprises will have used genAI application programming interfaces (API) and models or deployed genAI-enabled applications in production environments – a massive increase compared to early 2023’s 5 per cent.
Due to the rise of democratised AI access, there is a subsequent need for AI trust, risk and security management (TRiSM), which makes up the second trend, with enterprises that use such controls by 2026 eliminating up to 80 per cent of faulty and illegitimate information.
“Without guardrails, AI models can rapidly generate compounding negative effects that spin out of control, overshadowing any positive performance and societal gains that AI enables,” Gartner claimed.
“AI TRiSM provides tooling for ModelOps, proactive data protection, AI-specific security, model monitoring (including monitoring for data drift, model drift, and unintended outcomes) and risk controls for inputs and outputs to third-party models and applications.”
Rounding out Gartner’s AI-related trends for 2024 is AI-augmented development – using genI and machine learning to assist software engineers in designing, coding and testing applications. Gartner claimed that AI-assisted software engineering improves developer productivity.
“These AI-infused development tools allow software engineers to spend less time writing code, so they can spend more time on more strategic activities such as the design and composition of compelling business applications,” the research firm added.
In the ballpark of AI is the more general trend of intelligent applications, with Gartner defining intelligence as a learned adaption to respond appropriately and autonomously.
“As a foundational capability, intelligence in applications comprises various AI-based services, such as machine learning, vector stores and connected data. Consequently, intelligent applications deliver experiences that dynamically adapt to the user,” Gartner said.
Chris Howard, distinguished VP analyst and chief of research at Gartner, added finding business value from the “durable use” of AI necessitates a disciplined approach to widespread adoption, as well as attention to risks.
“[IT leaders] and other executives must evaluate the impacts and benefits of strategic technology trends, but this is no small task given the increasing rate of technological innovation,” he said.
The remaining six trends were mostly unrelated to AI, such as the augmented-connected workforce, intelligent applications and workforce analytics to add context and guidance to support a workforce’s experience, well-being and skill level.
Through 2027, Gartner predicted that a quarter of CIOs will use such initiatives to reduce time to competency by 50 per cent for key roles.
Next is continuous threat exposure management (CTEM). This approach allows organisations to evaluate the accessibility, exposure and exploitability of an enterprise’s digital and physical assets continually and consistently, looking at threat vectors or business projects rather than infrastructure. Gartner predicted in its list that by 2026, businesses that prioritise security investments based on a CTEM approach will cut breaches down by two-thirds.
Machine customers – non-human actors that can autonomously negotiate and purchase goods and services – are another trend expected to take off. The research firm claimed that by 2028, 15 billion connected products will be able to operate as customers and will be the source of trillions of dollars in revenues by 2030.
Industry cloud platforms (ICP) are picking up steam, with Gartner predicting more than 70 per cent of enterprises using them by 2027 to accelerate business initiatives, up from less than 15 per cent in 2023.
ICPs operate by combining software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solutions into one product with composable capabilities to target specific industries, such as industry data fabric, a library of packaged business capabilities and composition tools, among others.
Sustainable technology is anticipated to remain relevant, with 25 per cent of CIOs by 2027 expected to see their personal compensation linked to their sustainable technology impact.
Additionally, platform engineering – the discipline of building and operating self-service internal development platforms – is another trend that is predicted to hold relevance next year.
“Each platform is a layer, created and maintained by a dedicated product team, designed to support the needs of its users by interfacing with tools and processes,” Gartner said.
“The goal of platform engineering is to optimise productivity, the user experience and accelerate delivery of business value.”