Artificial Intelligence Is a Top Priority for Tech Leaders in 2024

AI will improve cybersecurity they said in IEEE survey

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With all the concern surrounding artificial intelligence, it’s no surprise that top tech leaders surveyed by IEEE chose AI as the most important technology for 2024.

The Impact of Technology in 2024 and Beyond: An IEEE Global Study” consulted 350 CIOs, CTOs, IT directors, and other technology leaders in Brazil, China, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Among the technologies they were asked to rank, AI came out on top. Extended reality was second, and cloud computing came in third.

The executives identified telecommunications, manufacturing, and banking and financial services as the areas that are most likely to be affected by technology next year.

The leaders also weighed in on what areas are apt to benefit most from 5G, and they mused on the future of quantum computing.

AI to improve cybersecurity and introduce efficiencies

Fifty-four percent of the tech leaders said the top applications for AI will be identifying cybersecurity vulnerabilities and preventing cyberattacks. Like in the IEEE 2023 survey of tech leaders, the executives said they are concerned about ransomware attacks, phishing, and insider threats. The concerns about ransomware increased to 37 percent for 2024 from 30 percent the previous year. Phishing concerns rose to 35 percent from 25 percent, and insider threat worries increased to 26 percent from 19 percent.

“AI helps detect and predict events quickly, such as outbreaks, unauthorized or unsafe drone operations, bias, cybersecurity threats, and malicious activities, driving innovation and competition in a range of application domains,” IEEE Fellow Houbing Song said in an interview with IEEE Transmitter about the results. Song is a member of the IEEE Computer Society.

More than 40 percent of the tech leaders said they expect AI to make the supply chain and warehouse automation more efficient. Businesses also will use AI to reduce the time it takes to screen résumés and recruit employees, the tech leaders said.

AI will help accelerate software development as well, according to 38 percent of the respondents.

“AI in software development can provide a significant productivity boost,” IEEE Senior Member Nicholas Napp told IEEE Transmitter. “It can also result in better products. For example, AI can be used to complete tasks that most engineers dread, such as providing detailed documentation and creating unit tests for their code.”

The benefits of extended reality, digital twins, and 5G

More than 60 percent of the executives said they expect extended reality and digital twin technologies to help advance more efficient design, development, and testing of product prototypes and manufacturing processes. Extended reality includes virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. Digital twins are virtual models of a real-world object or system that can be used to assess how the real-world counterpart is performing.

When asked what areas are likely to benefit most from 5G, respondents cited telemedicine, personal and professional day-to-day communications, and remote learning and education.

IEEE Senior Member Ayesha Iqbal told IEEE Transmitter that 5G will impact industries that rely on fast connections—such as health care, education, and transportation—because of “superfast broadband, ultra-reliable low-latency communication, massive machine-type communications, high-reliability/availability, and efficient energy usage.”

Quantum computing to take off?

A majority of the respondents said quantum computing will grow in popularity because of its significantly higher computing power: a trillion times higher than today’s supercomputers.

“The race for quantum technologies is getting faster,” IEEE Member Marcos A. Simplicio told IEEE Transmitter, “and there are many huge players interested in it even if most, or all, results will have no immediate impact. The quest for applications in the next few years is likely to shape [quantum’s] future.”

Sustainability remains a priority

Using technology to make business more sustainable continues to be a priority for more than 90 pe­­­rcent of the tech leaders, as it was in last year’s survey.

Almost 55 percent said they strongly agreed that any new systems their company implements must be energy efficient and help to reduce the business’s carbon footprint.

You can read more about IEEE members’ insights on IEEE Transmitter.
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