Woman using AI on laptop

As the Collins Word of the Year, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has certainly made an impact on everyone’s lives over the past 12 months.

From the explosion of ChatGPT to the rapid development of rivals such as Google’s Bard and most recently X’s Grok, generative AI has certainly caught the world’s attention. But non-generative AI has just as much power, especially from a business perspective, and deserves as much recognition.

As we look ahead to 2024, six female technology leaders share their reflections and predictions on where AI will go next.

Nicola Kinsella

Look at the bigger picture

“AI had quite the year in 2023, dominating the headlines with major analyst firms predicting its significant impact over the years to come,” notes Nicola Kinsella, SVP of Global Marketing at Fluent Commerce. “But to be successful in 2024 and beyond, AI will be forced to rely on the very sources many fear the technology will replace: people and data.”

Mini BiswasFirst, we must stop and think about the global impact of this technology. “If we are working towards having a world where Artificial Intelligence will serve humanity, then it is vital that this technology has input from all of humanity,” insists Mini Biswas, Operations Lead – Specialist Team Unit at Node4. “We are seeing more governance for AI take shape in recent months including the Frontier AI Taskforce and the recent Bletchley Declaration on AI safety that has at least 28 countries agreeing to understand and manage potential risks through a new joint global effort to ensure AI is developed and deployed in a safe and responsible way.

“Diversity plays an important role to the success and future safety measures of AI, this needs addressing in 2024 before we move more mainstream with this technology.”

Ensure security is at the heart of AI

Caroline SeymourWith great power comes great responsibility, as we all know, and therefore it’s vital that organisations understand the risks that AI can pose – and are prepared to protect themselves against them. Caroline Seymour, VP of Storage Product Marketing at Zerto, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company explains: “Within this rapidly evolving digital ecosystem, where ransomware always presents an escalating threat, acknowledging the relationship between AI and cyber threats is pivotal in the ever-changing battle field.”

Jeanette Lee HeungJeannette Lee Heung, Senior Director, Global Channel and Ecosystems at Aqua Security, predicts that in the next 12 months we’ll reach a “juncture where partners must navigate the intersection of heightened demand for advanced cybersecurity and the constraints of tightening budgets. The realm of cybersecurity for AI is emerging as a focal point, paralleling the significance of cybersecurity for the cloud. Despite customers recognising the necessity of these tools, a prevalent challenge persists – many lack the requisite skills or expertise to fully leverage the technology they have invested in.”

Michal AquaHer colleague – Michal Lewy-Harush, CIO at Aqua Security – agrees, and considers how “cybercrime and ransomware attacks have increased to unprecedented levels, and hybrid working has become the new normal. Added productivity pressures increase the demand for certain scarce professionals. Organisations of all sizes are feeling the impact. All of the above plus the rise of Gen and other AI technologies will lead to a different cybersecurity management reality.”

She believes that in 2024 we’ll see an increase in AI being used as a partner, adding that “AI trust, risk and security management will ensure AI model and application governance, fairness, reliability, robustness, security and data protection. The democratisation of access to AI has made the need for AI trust, risk and security management even more urgent and clear. The attack surface of Gen AI is all over the AI lifecycle [and] therefore, security leaders will have to include in the security programs solutions and techniques for model monitoring, data and content anomaly detection, AI data protection, model management and operations, attack resistance and AI-specific application security.”

Sam Humphries“2023 has been the year of ‘AI noise’,” acknowledges Samantha Humphries, Senior Director, International Security Strategy at Exabeam, “but in the next 12 months, organisations will need to realise that is simply another tool for adversaries to use against them. However, while it gives threat actors a way to evolve new tactics, the cybersecurity challenges organisations have been facing for many years now will continue to remain their biggest challenge. Of course, phishing emails, deep fake videos and voice recordings are already improving in quality and will become harder to detect, leading to more convincing scams, but cybersecurity teams must be careful to not get distracted and leave more ‘basic’ security flaws open.”

Industry spotlight: AI’s impact on retail

If businesses ensure they keep on top of these potential vulnerabilities, then there are no limits to what AI can achieve in the business world. The retail industry is just one example of where AI can boost a sector to the next level, as Fluent Commerce’s Kinsella reveals:

“Retail data is highly complex and dynamic with siloed information that is constantly in flux, whether it’s consumer buying behaviours, delayed shipments, product shortages or labour demands. Teams equipped with retail order and inventory data management systems, will play a major role next year to help produce and maintain clean, accurate and accessible data needed for businesses to take full advantage of AI.”

As we embark on a new year, it will certainly be interesting to see how this technology which was so dominating in 2023 continues to develop, and how global influence and regulation affect how we all interact with it.

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