Issue #30: 2024 Tech Trends That Will Shape Our Future — Thoughts on Tech & Things

Howdy 👋🏾, as we kick off a new year, it appears that we’re in for one of the most exciting years in technology we’ve encountered in quite some time. AI rocked our worlds in 2023 and began to come into its own, but it’s still in its early days, and 2024 stands to be a year that brings crystallization to the many seismic shifts impacting everything from passwords to VR.

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Stability AI Stable Diffusion XL with the prompt: “A black guy with glasses and big hair dressed as a gypsy looks into an all-powerful magic 8-ball to glimpse 2024 and the technology it may bring.“

To get the year going, I’m going to glimpse inside my crystal ball at trends poised to take the tech world by storm in 2024:

🔮 Passwords Dethroned: Let’s start easy – PassKey and other passwordless methods have finally gotten the momentum they need, and this is the year that more websites will begin to make it standard practice. Let’s do our part to make our web apps and platforms more secure.

🔮 Matter Standard Comes Together: I’m sure it’s no surprise that I love smart home technology and that my home is decked out with everything from smart light switches to curtains. The smart home ecosystem is a mess; it requires many hubs, incompatible standards, and bridges, which the new Matter standard was supposed to solve last year. But that rollout has been bumpy. Companies will finally get their act together this year so Matter can become the standard we need.

🔮 New Digital Assistants Arrive: Two minutes into using ChatGPT, it was obvious that our digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant paled in comparison. The big tech firms had a year to figure it out, and this is the year we should have voice assistants from at least Apple and Google with a very different set of smarts – assistants that can be conversational, handle complex chained tasks, remember state within a conversation, and very possibly persist knowledge.

🔮 Post-Phone Devices Emerge: A digital assistant that can process complex human language and text in your ear changes how we use our devices. This ushers in the next evolution beyond phones to  “post-phone” devices. Humane’s AI pin is one of the first devices pushing to make audio our main interface for most common activities like texting or booking restaurants by voice. Screens save necessary visuals, but audio-first interaction takes center stage.

🔮 Mixed Reality Steps Into the Spotlight: The wait is almost over – Apple’s Vision Pro headset becomes available for order as soon as January. And that’s just the start, with Meta’s Project Cambria and Samsung poised to heat competition in extended reality tech. I have no doubt that a combination of smart glasses, AirPods, and an AI assistant represents the future interface. This year, we will dive deeper into envisioning the futuristic user experience.

🔮 Web3 Submits to Web4: Fresh off Web3’s faceplant in 2023, the internet’s next evolution in user empowerment – dubbed Web4 – shows early momentum. It allows for an open yet people-first web built on data mobility through concepts like decentralization and the fediverse.

🔮 The New Buzzword is “Multi-Model” AI Systems: One foundation model alone has limits. Combining a conversational model like Meta’s LLaMA with cheaper narrow models trained on niche tasks enables more versatility and quality responses. Every ChatGPT deployment shows that general knowledge doesn’t equal specialized domain expertise.

🔮AI Models Keep Getting Better: Major developer conferences will cycle through annual AI unveilings as this space heats up. We will see impressive strides from Google, Apple, Meta, OpenAI, Microsoft, and Amazon advancing assistant realism.

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Imagine using Meta AI using the prompt: “A black guy with glasses and big hair dressed as a gypsy looks into an all-powerful magic 8-ball to glimpse 2024 and the technology it may bring.”

This year feels like a convergence point where seismic breakthroughs like robotics, AI foundation models, EVs, increased battery research, mixed reality, and increased cloud computing are now intersecting to unleash immense technological change we can’t yet fathom. Just over the horizon in 2024, we’ll start witnessing revolutionary real-world impacts – with augmented workplace tools, deeper AI assistants tightly integrating with daily life, and fluid human-computer partnership at work and beyond, reaching towards science fiction-esque realism daily. The prospect of personalized AI technologies like Iron Man’s Jarvis assisting our productivity and goals is not just science fiction anymore. Still, it stands on the cusp of practical mainstream product availability. While we imagine 2024, here are today’s thoughts on tech & things:

⚡️Driverless cars are getting off the hook for driving violations in California, bringing into question how do police vehicles with a human behind the wheel get off the hook. What is interesting about a world where the driver and driverless cars share the road is this quote: “It seems like while they make fewer of the kind of mistakes that we see from human drivers, they make interesting new kinds of mistakes,” which poses a question of how the rules of the road should change or adapt for this new type of vehicle.

⚡️Over the past year, companies have released impressive voice cloning AI that replicates human speech with increasing accuracy. For celebrities and public figures sharing vast amounts of public data, this innovation risks enabling convincing bot replicas using their data and voices, as called out in an intriguing Politico piece. Current laws remain unprepared to address threats like identity replication through perfect AI representations produced from public data and freely used without approval or rights safeguards.

⚡️Speaking of replicating humans – before 2023 ended, I wanted to test Meta’s new conversational AI chatbots and see if they could pass my customized Turing test. So I asked Bru, their sports chatbot visually modeled after Tom Brady, for a friendly chat. Read the full chat here.

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OpenAI DALL-E with the prompt: “A black guy with glasses and big hair dressed as a palm reader looks into an all-powerful magic 8-ball to glimpse 2024 and the technology it may bring.” if you’re wondering, OpenAI refused to accept the word “gypsy” do to its content policies.

As always, I can’t wait to spot embryonic examples of these trends at upcoming showcases like CES 2023. Follow my CES Adventures here next week.

-jason

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