Geopolitics will be more diversified and dynamic in 2024. Businesses that don’t keep up will falter.
In 2024, companies across the world will be confronted by a paradigm shift in the integrity and resilience of the data, systems and technologies on which their businesses rely.
The public Artificial Intelligence (AI) race began in earnest in 2023 with the broad release of generative AI capabilities. Opportunities initially seemed limitless but risks quickly caught up.
In 2024, cyber attacks enabled by and targeting AI systems, the reduction in human intervention in the digital ecosystem and complexifying regulatory pressures worldwide will collide. Safeguarding the integrity of technology and data from emerging threats will be more challenging than ever.
The investment in and deployment of intelligent automated systems, now spear-headed by generative AI’s Large Language Models (LLMs) and their more portable versions, “small” language models, will proliferate in 2024. Threat actors have already begun to leverage generative AI as part of their operations, increasing their capability, notably the pace and scale of attacks. With continued global tensions in 2024, the targeting of the integrity of data leveraged by autonomous systems will normalise, challenging our ability to detect attacks and trust new technologies. A similar phenomenon is occurring in the public and political space. The growing exploitation of AI technologies to conduct large-scale disinformation campaigns using deep fake video and audio content will further challenge our trust in online content. The US election campaign is proving to be a deepfake hothouse. DeepMedia, which creates tools to detect synthetically manipulated media tracked a threefold increase year on year 2022-23 in video deepfakes of all kinds posted online and eight times as many voice deepfakes.
The blurring of clarity around the ownership of and responsibility for technology and digital infrastructure will challenge business' ability to respond to cyber and digital incidents in 2024. The growth of infrastructure-as-a-service and AI-as-a-service will mean companies across the world are set to rely more than ever on complex digital supply chains. These will encompass both major infrastructure providers and smaller application developers, the latter offering fewer guarantees on the security and integrity of their services. As our technology ecosystem grows exponentially, identifying ownership and responsibility for the integrity and resilience of our digital infrastructure will become paramount for all businesses.
Regulators moved quickly in 2023 and are expected to continue at pace in 2024 to define national and regional frameworks to control this new environment. Governments across the world have published, or are drafting, regulations directly impacting the deployment of AI technologies or the infrastructure enabling their existence. Unlike data privacy, expect this regulation to happen much faster and bring further fragmentation of our technology landscape.
Expect to see a continued breakdown in global technology supply chains and operating environments. Aligned to geopolitical fault lines, the battle for technological independence and supremacy will accelerate as governments attempt to control the frantic pace of emerging technology adoption. In 2024, many businesses will be confronted with additional data localisation, data privacy, incident reporting and technology supply-chain restrictions.
As global tensions overlap with threats to business, the integrity of and trust in national and regional digital ecosystems will be a critical component of decision making in the coming year.
In 2024, the need for many businesses to catch up on their climate adaptation needs has never been more pressing. Financial support from governments will be meagre amid a persistently flawed decarbonisation framework.
2024 will see a high-water mark in the complexity and disruptiveness of the threat landscape.
The risks for businesses and nations in the coming year centre on huge uncertainty on how US priorities might change and how China will steer its economy.
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