In a comprehensive Forrester report on the top 10 emerging technologies of 2023, it’s no surprise that generative AI topped the list, followed by autonomous workplace assistants and conversational AI.
These three technologies are “… ready to deliver a return on investment quickly”, which Forrester describes as less than two years. “Generative AI and conversational AI (replacing NLP) and autonomous workplace assistants (replacing intelligent agents) are now promising short-term results,” the report said.
1. Generative AI
Forrester defines generative AI as a set of technologies and techniques that use massive amounts of data to generate new content such as text, video, images, audio and code in response to natural language or other non-code and non-traditional input signals.
The report states that the benefits of using generative AI include better digital experiences through natural language interactions, faster knowledge retrieval, faster content creation and improved content quality.
However, there are also risks to be aware of. The report states that generative AI is prone to “…coherent nonsense, security threats and malicious generation” and that “…companies are unable to rapidly explore new capabilities.”
To see: TechRepublic’s ChatGPT cheat sheet
“It will take years to resolve governance, trust and IP issues in customer-facing or security-related uses,” the report warns, although generative AI will reap the benefits in less than two years.
2. Independent Workplace Assistant
Forrester defines autonomous workplace assistants as “… software that can make decisions, act without approval, and provide service based on environment, context, user input, and learning in support of workplace goals.”
Brian Hopkins, Forrester vice president of Emerging Technologies, explained that, when intelligent agents are compared with AWAs, “…we see [a] The combination of RPA (robotic process automation) and digital process tools” and the ability “… to create a software agent that is capable of learning by answering more complex questions and acting in a non-deterministic manner. ,
To see: TechRepublic Premium’s Automation Specialist Recruiting Kit
The report states that the benefits of AWA include lower cost of answering questions, reduced process inefficiencies, and better customer service. Risks, which will test enterprise skill levels, include the need to integrate key automation building blocks such as RPA, conversation and decision management.
Hopkins is clear that we have reached an inflection point this year and that chatbots and AWAs will “explode.”
3. Conversational AI
According to the report, conversational AI tools are not new, although they have not worked well in the past. The report states that the technology is third on the list because the combination of progress and reduction in licensing costs “…enables this technology to provide short-term ROI while leaving significant room for future advancements and innovations”. ,
The benefits of conversational AI include more sales, automated customer service, employee self-service, and a hassle-free shopping experience. Risks include poorly designed chatbots that provide poor customer experiences and undermine trust, as well as inflexible platforms that cannot evolve quickly enough to keep up with the pace of innovation.
To see: Google Bard Cheat Sheet from TechRepublic
Other emerging technologies in the top 10
Rounding out Forrester’s list of best emerging technologies:
4. decentralized digital identity Is a solution and identity network that provides decentralized, distributed, verifiable and revocable credentials and claims based on trust between publishers, validators and users. Forrester estimates that this will deliver significant benefits within two to five years.
5. cutting edge This includes streaming analytics, edge machine learning, federated machine learning, and real-time data management across intelligent devices and edge servers. Forrester estimates that this will deliver significant benefits within two to five years.
6. explainable AI The technology and software capabilities are in place to ensure that people understand how AI systems arrive at their outputs. Forrester estimates that this will deliver significant benefits within two to five years.
7. turingbot AI-powered software that enhances the intelligence and ability of developers and their teams to design, build, modify, test, and refactor software code and applications in automated and autonomous ways. Forrester estimates that this will deliver significant benefits within two to five years.
8. extended reality is a technology that superimposes computer images on the user’s visual field with augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality technologies supported by similar development equipment, sensors and cameras and simulation engines. Forrester estimates that it will take five years or more for augmented reality to deliver the expected value.
9. web3 A concept that promises a World Wide Web that will not be dominated by big technology or other established companies like banks. Forrester estimates that it will take five years or more for Web3 to deliver its expected value.
10. zero confidence gain Is a solution that securely connects and transmits digital information using zero-trust access principles in and out of remote locations primarily using cloud-based security and network services. Forrester estimates that it will take five years or more for the zero-trust edge to deliver its projected value.
Leaders need to act on this emerging technology
For organizations just starting to consider these emerging technologies, Hopkins recommends quickly developing a framework for experimentation so they understand what it can do for their business and weigh the risks versus benefits.
Forrester advises technical executives to “…with advanced technology management strategies…” to “pilot” generative AI, AWA, and conversational AI, and then commercialize them.
“Key businesses should begin investing quickly or continue investing in them with reasonable expectations of measurable gains,” the report said.
While extended reality, Web3 and the zero-trust edge still need at least five years to live up to their potential, the report advises organizations to “put them on your watch list, but you need to build expectations with more passionate advocates in your business.”
Hopkins said the zero-trust edge combines zero-trust security with different types of networks, depending on what applications are running on them.
“Networking has always been separate from security, so we are seeing the emergence of security vendors that are buying network vendors and integrating security into network capabilities, or vice versa,” he explains.
Therefore, it will be years before zero-trust tools are available for companies to purchase and implement.
“We are a little skeptical about Web3. Not sure what will happen when it gets bigger,” Hopkins said.
He also said that emerging technologies keep changing, noting that last year everyone was overly focused on the metaverse and this year the focus is on generic AI.
“You have to think that next year could be a little different,” Hopkins said. “We are in the midst of what Forrester has called the acceleration over the years, the framework of being future proof; Able to cope with the pace of change. The more prepared you are for it, the better off you will be in the future.”
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