Last year saw new artificial intelligence products released at the most rapid pace yet, though predictions of an AI boom on the scale of last decade’s tech explosion have yet to come to fruition.
“I think 2023 was the year that AI astonished people and 2024 will be the year of retrenchment as people learn the limitations of AI and where various AI systems have the greatest utility,” Christopher Alexander, chief analytics officer for Pioneer Development Group, told Fox News Digital. “I think that the race for AI utility has just begun and AI will become a permanent fixture in people’s lives. I think that the grand predictions for AI in this past year confused the current state of AI and the future state, which has led to some confusion in the market.”
Alexander’s comments come after what was in many ways a landmark year for AI technology in 2023, with new platforms and developments making headlines throughout the year. Yet expectations of a boom that dominated headlines in the five years before it have so far failed to come to fruition, making many wonder where the new tech goes from here.
Phil Siegel, founder of the Center for Advanced Preparedness and Threat Response Simulation, told Fox News Digital that it is still “very early” in the development phase of AI tools but noted there are signs that a takeoff is still on the way.
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“What is blowing up now is the infrastructure pieces like chips and supplies to make sure the true application of the technology can blow up,” Siegel said.
But Siegel also cautioned that a true boom of AI will continue to take time, noting that newer products hitting the market are often priced too high to see widespread use.
“It takes a reasonable amount of time for real products to hit the market in a big way,” Siegel said. “Those are just starting to emerge but are probably being priced way too high for broad adoption, even in business. What will be a big step forward is when the data management companies figure out their product set so companies can use their own data for custom AI applications to merge with the generic applications.”
Other experts argue that the AI boom has already arrived in some ways, something that an average consumer may be missing.
“AI has far exceeded expectations in that it’s widespread utility has become abundantly apparent. AI’s capabilities have also continued moving at a breakneck pace as developers continue to inch closer and closer towards artificial general intelligence,” Samuel Mangold-Lenett, a staff editor at The Federalist, told Fox News Digital. “We probably aren’t seeing a bigger boom because the average person still doesn’t consciously interact with AI on a daily basis.”
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Mangold-Lenett pointed to language learning models (LLM) such as ChatGPT, noting that the technology for such platforms is still very new but increased significantly in popularity in 2023.
“Whether or not we’re aware of it, the AI moment is here,” Mangold-Lenett said. “Development will continue at a rapid pace, and we will continue to see AI play an increasing role in our daily lives.”
Jake Denton, a research associate at the Heritage Foundation’s Tech Policy Center, also pointed to the rise in chatbots in 2023, but he noted the average consumer is still unlikely to interact with such platforms thanks to their unclear utility.
“Their capabilities are often still unclear and their user interfaces remain rather clunky,” Denton told Fox News Digital. “This reflects the chasm between vision and reality in AI. The long-term potential is staggering, but short-term applications remain narrow.”
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Nevertheless, Denton noted that developers are well on their way to improving the tech, arguing that slow adaptation of new technology is normal at first.
“Truly revolutionary technologies often appear useless at first. Their capabilities seem toy-like, with no clear purpose. However, with improved functionality and enhanced product design, these systems have the potential to fit seamlessly into our lives, enabling feats previously unimaginable,” Denton said. “While we are still in the early stages of this Al revolution, much of the hard infrastructure and foundations have been built; it’s now up to developers to construct products of lasting value upon it.”
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Siegel believes that 2024 will be a telling year for the new tech, crystallizing whether a full-fledged boom is on the horizon.
“On the consumer side, the products are still at the “toy” or simple productivity uses like drawings or stories or just fun conversations. That, however, is not a sustainable base for a business model to make money. Companies with real uses are starting to emerge in personal finance, health care and so forth, but they either aren’t fully functional, aren’t totally safe or have no way to make money,” Siegel said. “2024 will tell us if this is a full-fledged revolution or the next good productivity tool for the white-collar and consumer worlds.”