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AI digital trends in 2024

2024 trends

From deepfakes to disease prevention: 7 AI trends driving business in 2024  

Published 31 December 2023 in 2024 trends • 6 min read

IMD’s professors and expert contributors shed light on key trends that will shape the technological landscape in the coming year.

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, has embraced an unconventional writing style – opting for all lowercase letters. This seemingly odd approach serves a dual purpose: to infuse a human touch into his communication and to distinguish his authentic voice from the sophisticated AI chatbots developed by OpenAI and others, such as ChatGPT.

In an era dominated by artificial intelligence, Altman’s writing style serves as a reassurance that the content is genuinely authored by a human. The year ahead is poised to bring about a shift in the way we perceive reality as the specter of “deepfakes” looms large on the horizon. This is among the key AI trends for 2024, as picked by IMD’s professors and expert contributors. From the potential of real-time translation to the end of prompts, the coming year could reshape not only the way we perceive reality but also communicate, learn, and work globally.

Deepfakes: Redefining truth in the digital age

Michael Wade, Professor of Innovation and Strategy at IMD and Director of IMD’s Global Center for Digital Business Transformation

The ubiquity of deepfake technology is poised to reach new heights in 2024, permeating various facets of society and challenging the very notion of truth. As the saying goes, “seeing is no longer believing”, and this phenomenon will have far-reaching ramifications in politics, corporate governance, and information security.

In the political arena, the upcoming US presidential election in 2024 presents fertile ground for the manipulation of public opinion through deepfakes. The technology’s sophistication continues to grow, blurring the lines between genuine content and manipulated falsehoods. This potential erosion of trust in the authenticity of political figures raises serious concerns about the integrity of the democratic process.

The upcoming US presidential election in 2024 presents fertile ground for the manipulation of public opinion through deepfakes
The upcoming US presidential election in 2024 presents fertile ground for the manipulation of public opinion through deepfakes

The corporate world is not immune, as executives may fall victim to malicious actors using deepfakes for reputation tarnishing, misinformation, extortion, or blackmail. To combat this, they are urged to exercise caution, with some digital leaders like OpenAI’s Altman adopting unique online writing styles to authenticate their communications.

Conversational AI: Beyond prompts and silos

Amit Joshi, Professor of AI, Analytics and Marketing Strategy at IMD

The trajectory of conversational AI hints at a future where explicit prompts may become obsolete. Despite the remarkable capabilities of the current technology, a major constraint lies in the dependence on humans to initiate conversations. Another limitation is that individuals engage with the technology individually, creating a siloed experience.

Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, it’s likely that startups will emerge to tackle these constraints. Already, there are signs of progress. Technology is evolving towards self-prompting capabilities, deciphering user needs almost intuitively. Despite current limitations, startups are already making strides in automatic prompt generation, minimizing the burden on users and paving the way for a more seamless and user-friendly experience.

Preventive medicine: A paradigm shift in healthcare

Howard Yu, LEGO® Professor of Management and Innovation at IMD and Director of IMD’s Center for Future Readiness

In the pharmaceutical industry’s quest for personalized medicine, recent studies highlight the limited gains of expensive cancer drugs. However, 2024 marks a turning point, with drugs like Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic, which not only addresses type 2 diabetes but also excels in weight management.

Disease prevention
“The era of disease prevention may finally arrive.”
- Howard Yu

This shift to preventive medicine signals a newfound profitability for pharmaceutical companies in 2024. Unlike traditional diagnostics and preventive measures, disease prevention has proven to be both lucrative and scalable. This trend challenges the status quo in healthcare, paving the way for a future where doctors prioritize proactive testing and preventive measures over reactive treatments.

Generative AI is transformative in this context, for it facilitates rapid analysis of complex data sets, enabling precise drug discovery and development. All these are crucial enablers for personalized medicine. The era of disease prevention may finally arrive.

Digital policy shifts: Adapting to regulatory transformations

Simon J Evenett, Professor of International Trade and Economic Development at the University of St. Gallen, Johannes Fritz, CEO of the St.Gallen Endowment, and Tommaso Giardini, Associate Director of Digital Policy Alert

In the realm of digital policy, 2024 is set to witness significant shifts, mirroring the impact of the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in 2018. Three key developments are anticipated, covering AI regulations, digital platform rules, and digital taxation.

First, AI regulation will transition from proposals to adoption, with major actors following the European lead. This shift will necessitate strategic adjustments by multinational corporations in their AI integration and market strategies, influenced by specific regulatory designs, such as risk-based frameworks, technology-specific regulations, and AI liability regimes.

Second, the beginning enforcement of digital platform regulations, focusing on competition and online content, will significantly impact digital businesses’ market entry strategies and operations, potentially affecting traditional businesses as well.

Digital commerce marketing trends
The enforcement of digital platform regulations, focusing on competition and online content, will significantly impact digital businesses' market entry strategies and operations, potentially affecting traditional businesses as well

Lastly, the outlook on digital taxation will be heavily influenced by decisions at the WTO and within the OECD/G20 framework, requiring multinational corporations to stay vigilant for shifts in global taxation and digital tariff regimes.

GenAI integration in business: Expect the unexpected

Goutam Challagalla, Professor of Strategy and Marketing at IMD

Amid the hype surrounding GenAI, a surge in investments is expected in 2024. However, most large firms, aside from tech groups, are making cautious investments. Scaling GenAI will be easy for simple routine tasks – e.g., routine legal contracts, but it is proving to be more challenging than expected for more complex tasks, due to data capability limitations. Firms that have invested in traditional AI will find it easier to make the leap, but embracing GenAI requires a holistic commitment of time, effort, and money to reshape work processes.

Adding complexity, the tightening regulatory landscape will require businesses to navigate not only technical challenges but also evolving compliance requirements. As regulatory landscapes toughen, firms must weigh their willingness to stay the course against the promise of future productivity gains. And most digital processes provide gains only when they operate at scale. Until then, they are a money drain.

GenAI: Reshaping learning and work dynamics

Sarah Toms, Chief Learning Innovation Officer at IMD

Generative AI’s impact extends beyond technology, shaping how we learn, work, and innovate. In 2024, these intelligent systems will further personalize learning experiences, optimizing knowledge acquisition for individuals. In the workforce, GenAI will continue to automate routine tasks and contribute to higher-order functions like coding and research, redefining productivity.

Efforts to address biases in GenAI systems, already underway, will accelerate, ensuring fair decision-making. Major enterprises integrating GenAI will gain a competitive edge, reshaping the business landscape, and regulatory frameworks, particularly in the EU, should adapt to balance risk aversion with promoting innovation. Adapting to biases, market dynamics, and evolving regulations is crucial to unlock GenAI’s full potential.

Authors

Michael Wade - IMD Professor

Michael R. Wade

Professor of Innovation and Strategy at IMD

Michael R Wade holds the Tonomus Professorship in Digital Business Transformation and is Director of IMD’s Global Center for Digital Business Transformation. He directs a number of open programs such as Leading Digital Business Transformation, Digital Transformation for Boards, Leading Digital Execution, and the Digital Transformation Sprint. He has written ten books, hundreds of articles, and hosts a popular management podcast. In 2021, he was inducted into the Swiss Digital Shapers Hall of Fame.

Amit Joshiv - IMD Professor

Amit M. Joshi

Professor of AI, Analytics and Marketing Strategy at IMD

Amit Joshi is Professor of AI, Analytics, and Marketing Strategy at IMD and Program Director of the Digital Strategy, Analytics & AI program, Generative AI for Business Sprint, and the Business Analytics for Leaders course.  He specializes in helping organizations use artificial intelligence and develop their big data, analytics, and AI capabilities. An award-winning professor and researcher, he has extensive experience of AI and analytics-driven transformations in industries such as banking, fintech, retail, automotive, telecoms, and pharma.

Howard Yu - IMD Professor

Howard H. Yu

LEGO® Chair Professor of Management and Innovation at IMD

Howard Yu, hailing from Hong Kong, holds the title of LEGO® Professor of Management and Innovation at IMD. He leads the Center for Future Readiness, founded in 2020 with support from the LEGO Brand Group, to guide companies through strategic transformation. Recognized globally for his expertise, he was honored in 2023 with the Thinkers50 Strategy Award, recognizing his substantial contributions to management strategy and future readiness. At IMD, Howard directs IMD’s Strategy for Future Readiness and Business Growth Strategies programs.

Simon Evenett

Simon J. Evenett

Professor of International Trade and Economic Development at the University of St. Gallen

Simon J. Evenett is currently a Professor of Economics at the University of St. Gallen and on 1 August 2024 will join the Faculty at IMD. He is also  Co-Chair of the WEF’s Global Council on Trade & Investment and the Founder of the St. Gallen Endowment for Prosperity Through Trade, home of two of the leading independent monitors of how governments shape international business.

Johannes Fritz

Johannes Fritz

CEO of the St.Gallen Endowment

Johannes Fritz is the CEO of the St.Gallen Endowment, a Swiss non-profit that champions international openness, collaboration and exchange. He leads the Digital Policy Alert transparency initiative focusing on prominent digital trade issues such as data transfers and AI regulation. Alongside his work for the St.Gallen Endowment, he is a Lecturer for Economic History and Economic Thought at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Johannes holds a Ph.D. in Economics, and his work focuses on utilizing technology to bring transparency to public policy choice.

Goutam Challagalla

Professor of Marketing and Strategy and dentsu Group Chair in Sustainable Strategy and Marketing at IMD

Goutam Challagalla is Professor of Strategy and Marketing and dentsu Group Chair in Sustainable Strategy and Marketing at IMD. His teaching, consulting, and research focuses on strategy with a focus on digital transformation, business-to-business commercial management, value-based pricing, sales management, distribution channels, and customer and service excellence. At IMD, he is Director of the Advanced Management Program (AMP), Digital Marketing Strategies (DMS), and Strategy Governance for Boards.

Sarah Toms

Sarah E. Toms

Chief Learning Innovation Officer

Sarah Toms is Chief Learning Innovation Officer at IMD where she leads the Learning Innovation and AI strategy. Sarah previously co-founded Wharton Interactive, an initiative at the Wharton School that has scaled globally. A demonstrated thought leader in the educational technology field, she is fueled by a passion to find and develop innovative ways to make every learning environment active, engaging, more meaningful, and learner-centric. Sarah is an AWS Education Champion, and has been on the Executive Committee of Reimagine Education for 8 years. She has spent more than 25 years working at the bleeding edge of technology, and was an entrepreneur for over a decade, founding companies that built global CRM, product development, productivity management, and financial systems. In addition, Sarah is coauthor of The Customer Centricity Playbook, the Digital Book Awards 2019 Best Business Book.

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