Wayfair Tech Blog

Gen AI in 2024: A shift from planning to action

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Note: This article originally appeared on DataQuest India on January 10, 2024

While the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) dominates the everyday news cycle, these innovations are nothing new. Many businesses embarked on their AI journeys long ago and for many, a natural entry point for AI was marketing. Once these implementations were deemed a success, businesses then expanded their use of AI, deploying it throughout other key areas.

Then came 2023, and an innovation that’s become a topic for dinner-time conversation: Generative AI. Unlike traditional AI, which acts based on pre-set rules, Gen AI is focused on creating new content and data virtually indistinguishable from that created by humans. This is why excitement has soared over the last 12 months, and forward-looking businesses have dedicated themselves to implementing processes and structures to support the release of future Gen AI applications.

In 2024, these investments will continue—according to a 2023 McKinsey study titled, “The state of AI in 2023: Generative AI’s breakout year,” 40 percent of those reporting AI adoption at their organizations say their companies expect to invest more in AI overall thanks to generative AI, and 28 percent say generative AI use is already on their board’s agenda.

But, 2024 will not be solely focused on rolling out these supporting pieces. In the year ahead, Gen AI enterprise adoption will accelerate across many industries as solutions shift from the hype to the maturity phase. This will be especially the case with solutions designed for enterprise use, where pilot projects will evolve into deployments focused on helping businesses increase efficiencies for employees.

One area where I expect to see significant Gen AI adoption is content generation. This includes areas such as code development and RFP drafting to data analysis. In each instance, businesses will roll out new methodologies and processes to create content while enhancing employee productivity and effectiveness.

To help guide these deployments, companies will launch new internal councils staffed with representatives from across the business, including legal, finance, technology, and go-to-market. These groups will provide guidance on key areas such as which business areas are “Gen-AI ready” as well as how the company can best move forward with pilot programs and, ultimately, drive greater adoption. They will also help ensure alignment with new guidance coming from legislation, which will be another big area of focus in 2024.

Companies will face growing legislative guidance, which they must digest and comply with in short order. Specifically, expect increased legislation coming from governments around the globe and organizations such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

We got a taste of this in 2023 when President Biden signed the Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence. This order included eight guiding principles, such as safe and secure AI, equity and civil rights, privacy and civil liberties, and more.

In the year ahead, legislative efforts will introduce new boundaries on AI models, guidance, and clarity on how organizations can use Gen AI solutions. In addition, I expect to see legal guidance and definitions emerge around areas of image usage, which will help address concerns such as those raised in the SAG-AFTRA strike. This guidance will help organizations identify potential risks and avoid future lawsuits.

There’s little debate that the Gen AI Hype train has left the station, and what comes next will be new and innovative deployments for businesses along with vital new legislative guidance that helps ensure we’re all operating from the same rulebook. ML scientists, technologists, and business development, are all excited about this next phase, the impact it will have on our businesses, and how we service our customers.