Generative AI will usher in ‘transformational benefit within two to five years’

Artificial Intelligence Concept. Microprocessor with the letters AI.

Analyst firm Gartner has highlighted a series of emerging technologies peaking their heads over the horizon, and says AI will have a ‘profound impact on business and society.’

Gartner’s ‘Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies’ lists various bleeding edge tech areas and positions them on a life cycle from early innovation towards maturity and a point where they are actually a productive thing. It is a distillation of insights about ‘2,000 technologies and applied frameworks’ that Gartner generates in a year into a shortlist of ‘must know’ emerging technologies.

Once technology emerges into the world, it goes through a ‘period of inflated expectations’ followed by a ‘trough of disillusionment’, and then a ‘slope of enlightenment’ – according to Gartner’s rather flamboyantly phrased model.

It places generative AI at the present moment at the peak of the ‘period of inflated expectations’, which seems to mean there’s a lot of hype around it right now, but projects that it will reach ‘transformational benefit within two to five years.’

gartner hype cycle

“The popularity of many new AI techniques will have a profound impact on business and society,” said Arun Chandrasekaran, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “The massive pretraining and scale of AI foundation models, viral adoption of conversational agents and the proliferation of generative AI applications are heralding a new wave of workforce productivity and machine creativity.”

Melissa Davis, VP Analyst at Gartner added: “While all eyes are on AI right now, CIOs and CTOs must also turn their attention to other emerging technologies with transformational potential. This includes technologies that are enhancing developer experience, driving innovation through the pervasive cloud and delivering human-centric security and privacy.”

“As the technologies in this Hype Cycle are still at an early stage, there is significant uncertainty about how they will evolve. Such embryonic technologies present greater risks for deployment, but potentially greater benefits for early adopters.”

The report also highlighted four other nascent tech trends it thinks will be making waves in the coming years.

As well as the generative flavour made famous by Chat GPT and the like, we’re told other emergent AI sectors to look out for include AI simulation, causal AI, federated machine learning, graph data science, neuro-symbolic AI and reinforcement learning.

It also flags up new things that may have a transformative role on ‘DevX’ – the interactions developers have with tools and platforms – such as AI-augmented software engineering, API-centric SaaS, GitOps, internal developer portals, open-source programme office and value stream management platforms.

Cloud computing will apparently become more distributed and focused on vertical industries, more of a big deal in general driven by augmented FinOps, cloud development environments, cloud sustainability, cloud-native, cloud-out to edge, industry cloud platforms and WebAssembly (Wasm).

Finally it also highlights something called ‘human-centric security and privacy’ which is described as an approach to stopping breaches which ‘weaves a security and privacy fabric into the organisation’s digital design.’ New tech driving this trend include AI TRISM, cybersecurity mesh architecture, generative cybersecurity AI, homomorphic encryption and postquantum cryptography.

As with all future gazing there is an element of guesswork involved as to how big or how soon a technology will have a significant impact, if at all, but anyone involved in tech also needs to keep an eye open for what’s coming down the pipe. One thing seems certain, the basket of AI related buzzwords is only going to get more plentiful.


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