In the world of technology, 2023 may be remembered as the year in which generative artificial intelligence (AI) — that capable of generating text or images in response to requests in common language — became popular.
From computer code to artwork and essays, generative AI systems can quickly create a range of content that, while not perfect, has become an essential tool in some industries and professions.
Backed by Microsoft, ChatGPT led the way with its launch in late 2022, and competitors have been popping up ever since.
One of the most significant moves happened this month, when Google owner Alphabet unveiled Gemini — an AI that will be integrated into Google products, including its chatbot and search engine.
Alphabet claims that Gemini outperforms the current version of ChatGPT.
But ChatGPT creator OpenAI says it’s not standing still. The company promises a more powerful version of its software next year.
In November, at a conference for software developers, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said, “What we release today is going to feel antiquated to what we’re busy creating for you now.”
Meanwhile, investors are pumping money into the sector in hopes of supporting the market’s next big player.
According to the investment data platform PitchBook, around the world, venture capital companies invested US$21.4 billion (R$102 billion) in generative AI startups and that was just until the end of September.
For comparison purposes, in 2022, US$5.1 billion were invested.
But some warn that we shouldn’t get too excited. Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, says generative AI will get a “cold shower” in 2024.
“We believe the hype has overlooked some obstacles that will slow down the process a bit in the short term,” he says.
He points out that it is very expensive to develop and operate a generative AI system. It requires a lot of computing power and expensive, scarce chips.
To mitigate these costs, he predicts that some AI will migrate to hybrid systems, where some of the processing will be done locally — on the user’s laptop or phone.
Wood also says regulation and legal battles could cool the current craze for generative AI.
“Companies may find themselves in a situation where they have invested a lot of money in an AI-powered service and then have to take a step back to comply with regulation.”
In the first quarter of next year, the millionth electric car will hit UK roads, according to Schmidt Automotive Research.
This will make the UK the second market, after Germany, to reach this milestone.
Despite this, 2024 is expected to be another difficult year for electric vehicle manufacturers.
At the end of 2023, Ford, GM and Tesla suspended plans to expand their electric vehicle production. In October, Mercedes-Benz described the electric vehicle market as “brutal”, blaming a price war and supply chain issues.
Analysts do not expect the situation to improve much.
Automotive market analyst Matthias Schmidt predicts a year of stagnation for electric vehicle sales across Europe in 2024.
In traditionally strong markets like Germany and Norway, he sees almost no growth.
However, in the UK, just over a fifth of vehicles sold are expected to be electric. The goal is to reach the target of 80% by 2030.
All of this could be great news for anyone who has the money to buy an electric vehicle.
Humanoid robots may start to look more useful next year.
At Tesla, engineers are working on Optimus — a humanoid robot they hope will soon do basic factory work.
A video released earlier this month showed the latest version of Optimus — lighter than the previous one, with new hands and powered by new engines.
In July, Musk said that Optimus could work in Tesla factories in 2024.
“As for when it will be able to do some useful things, we’ll first try it in our own factories — proving its usefulness. I think we’ll be able to do something useful in our factories sometime next year. I’m pretty confident about that.”
Tesla has a lot of competition in the field of humanoid robots. Other companies already have robots learning tasks in work environments.
Amazon is testing a humanoid robot in its warehouses. Called Digit, the robot can move, grasp and handle items in a similar way to a human.
It was developed by Agility Robotics, which expects to deliver Digit robots to other customers next year.
Meanwhile, in Canada, Sanctuary AI has been training its robot, called Phoenix, to perform specific tasks, such as packing bags. In 2024 the plan is to expand the range of tasks that Phoenix can perform.
Race for weight loss
In the world of pharmaceuticals, a treatment has been selling so quickly that its manufacturer has trouble keeping up with demand.
The weight-loss drug semaglutide, marketed under the brand name Wegovy, has been a huge success, briefly making its owner, pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, Europe’s most valuable company.
To meet demand, the Danish company is investing billions of euros in expanding production facilities.
Right now, Wegovy is administered as a weekly injection, but a tablet version is nearly ready. Novo Nordisk doesn’t say when it will hit the market.
The Danish company can expect more competition to appear next year.
Eli Lilly’s drug Mounjaro recently received approval as a weight-loss treatment in the US and UK, and approval in the European Union is expected soon.
Meanwhile, Pfizer is also seeking approval for its weight-loss pill.
This text was originally published here.