Capgemini has unveiled its "TechnoVision Top 5 Tech Trends to Watch in 2024," focusing on the technologies that will reach a turning point next year. In 2023, generative AI set the trend. While this will continue to be a hot topic next year, other key technologies are also expected to reach a stage of maturity or breakthrough in 2024.
Technologies to follow in 2024:
- Generative AI: small is becoming the new big. Generative AI made a smashing entrance into conversations about technology and business in late 2022 and 2023, with expectations of significant business impact. Will it live up to the enormous hype in 2024? The short answer is yes. While current "Large Language Models" will continue to flourish, there is also an increasing need for smaller, more efficient models. These models will continue to get smaller and smaller so they can run on systems with small footprints and limited processing capabilities, including on compact enterprise architectures. By 2024, new AI platforms will also increasingly combat artificial hallucinations by combining generative AI models with high-quality data. In support of all this, platforms will emerge that provide companies with tools to deploy generative AI without requiring deep in-house technical expertise. In the long run, this will lead to the emergence of networks of models designed and refined for specific tasks as well as the development of multi-agent generative ecosystems.These developments in generative AI point to an evolution toward a more accessible, versatile and cost-effective technology. These innovations will enable organizations to scale their generative AI use cases faster while extracting more value from the technology.
- Quantum technologies: when cyber and quantum meet. A cyber arms race is underway, with advances in computing power paralleled by the development of enhanced digital defenses. AI and Machine Learning (ML), for example, are increasingly being used to detect threats, while the zero-trust security model may become a global standard. But a new threat is emerging, driven by the development of quantum computing, which could make current encryption standards such as RSA and ECC obsolete. The development of quantum-proof algorithms raises the question of how to maintain data privacy and security in the future. In the US, the standard for so-called "post-quantum cryptography" (PQC), i.e. encryption algorithms believed to be resistant to quantum attacks, will be issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 2024. This topic will certainly make its way into boardrooms in 2024 since the Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act requires that public and private organizations supplying the U.S. government be ready to migrate to PQC within a year after the NIST standards are released. This future development promises to shake up the foundation of cybersecurity standards worldwide. All executives and technology experts will have to deal with this impending milestone as more and more organizations begin their quantum transition.
- Semiconductors: Moore's Law is not dead, but it is changing. As the world's most traded commodity (ahead of crude oil and motor vehicles), semiconductors are a crucial factor in digital transformation. Moore's Law states that the computing power of a microchip doubles every two years while the cost halves. But is this theory reaching its physical and economic limits? The semiconductor industry is on the brink of a transformational era, with multiple factors coming together to redefine the landscape in 2024. Chips are reaching 2 nm, transistors are approaching the size of a few atoms, and ever-increasing investment in R&D and advanced manufacturing facilities is becoming a challenge for even the largest chipmakers. 2024 should show an evolution of Moore's law, with new paradigms: despite approaching the absolute physical limit of chip miniaturization, chip makers should see breakthroughs in 3D chip stacking, chiplets, innovations in material usage and new forms of lithography to continue to increase computing power. Accelerated digital transformation is expected in all sectors, enabled by more powerful connected objects, from smartphones to electric vehicles, data centers and telecoms.These technological breakthroughs will be reflected in shifts in the semiconductor ecosystem itself, with new gigafactories, regulations, business models and foundry services by 2024.
- Batteries: the power of new chemistry. Improving the performance and reducing the cost of batteries is a major focus for both companies and governments. The goal is to support electric mobility and accelerate the long-term storage of energy, which is crucial to accelerate the energy transition to renewable energy sources and the development of smart grids. While LFP (lithium iron phosphate) and NMC (nickel manganese cobalt) are becoming standard for electric vehicle applications, different battery technologies, such as cobalt-free (sodium ion) or solid-state batteries, are being explored, with a likely acceleration in 2024. This represents a major shift in battery technology, primarily for electric vehicles, because they have a higher energy density (i.e., storage capacity), at a price that will become lower than traditional batteries. They also reduce reliance on materials such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, rare earth minerals and graphite, while promising longer life and more robust safety. In a world driven by the energy transition and the fight against climate change, these emerging developments could provide a path to more choices for the battery industry and a more sustainable use of materials.
- Space technology: tackling Earth's challenges from space. In 2024, humanity will prepare to return to the moon. This renewed interest in space technologies is intended to drive scientific discoveries and help solve Earth's most critical challenges, including monitoring climate risks and disasters, better access to telecommunications, as well as defense and sovereignty. The new space age is being driven not only by government agencies, but also by private actors, from startups to corporations. And it is supported by various technologies such as 5G, advanced satellite systems, big data, quantum computing, etc. By 2024, this should accelerate innovation and support promising technology projects in sustainable spacecraft propulsion (electric or nuclear) and new low-Earth orbital constellations for communications and quantum cryptography. The last space race accelerated breakthrough innovations such as satellite technology, GPS, integrated circuits, solar energy and composite materials. This return to space promises similar revolutions in computing, telecommunications and Earth observation.
Beyond 2024 - technologies that will take shape over the next 5 years:
- Low-carbon hydrogen: toward a credible alternative to fossil fuels. Hydrogen has long been touted as a clean fuel alternative because it produces only water when burned. However, traditional hydrogen production is energy intensive and often relies on fossil fuels. The trend toward low-carbon hydrogen seeks to change this by using renewable or nuclear energy to power the electrolysis of water, splitting it into hydrogen and oxygen without CO2 emissions. Advances in electrolysis technology, including the development of proton exchange membrane (PEM) and solid oxide electrolyzers, are improving efficiency and lowering costs. However, low-carbon hydrogen is still not competitive at this time, among other reliability and scalability challenges. Countries and companies around the world are investing heavily in low-carbon hydrogen as part of their strategies to achieve carbon neutrality, with the goal of reducing its cost in the near future.
- CO2 capture: Accelerate the decarbonization of carbon-intensive processes. While reducing CO2 emissions remains the top priority, as stipulated by the Paris Climate Agreement, several hard-to-implement industries will also need to invest in CO2 capture technologies (especially at source, such as a cement or steel plant) to meet their CO2 reduction targets. New methods of capturing CO2 are becoming increasingly efficient and less energy-intensive, supported by significant public investment, especially in the US and EU. Innovations include the development of advanced solvent technologies that require less energy to capture, use and store CO2 and solid sorbents that are cheaper and have higher CO2 selectivity. In addition, filtering CO2 from other gases using membrane technology is being refined to improve efficiency and scalability. However, carbon capture still faces specific challenges such as cost, storage or conversion into industrial processes. Much research is also being done on the direct removal of CO2 from the atmosphere via direct air capture (DAC), even though that application remains expensive compared to the alternative CO2 capture solutions.
- Synthetic biology: harnessing the power of nature. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of synthetic biology in protecting public health and highlighted the immense potential of innovations such as synthetic mRNA to develop vaccines at unprecedented speeds. An important milestone was reached in November 2023 when the U.K. medicines regulator approved a therapy using CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing as a treatment for sickle cell disease, the first of its kind in the history of medicine. But synthetic biology goes much further. It is an interdisciplinary field that combines biology, engineering, computer science and biotechnology, enabling revolutionary applications that could have a huge impact on medicine, agriculture and environmental sustainability. This technology is at the intersection of rapid technological advances and critical global needs and will become a hot topic in the coming years. Innovations on the horizon include programmable cells and organisms capable of producing new drugs, green chemicals and sustainable materials, as well as breakthroughs in gene editing that offer the potential to cure genetic disorders.
TechnoVision is an international research program from Capgemini that provides a comprehensive view of the world of technology to help leaders make decisions about technology-driven business transformation. It guides decision makers through the myriad of emerging technology trends to focus on those that will make their organization more effective. The 2024 edition of Capgemini's TechnoVision report will be published in January 2024.
Capgemini is a global partner to companies seeking to transform and manage their business by harnessing the power of technology. In doing so, the Group is guided by its raison d'être: to release human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future. As a socially responsible and multicultural market leader with 360,000 people in more than 50 countries, the Group has more than 50 years of experience and expertise in diverse industries. Clients entrust their business needs to Capgemini: from strategy and design to operational management. This is done by leveraging innovations in cloud, data, artificial intelligence, connectivity, software, digital engineering and platforms. The Group achieved a turnover of 22 billion euros in 2022. Get the Future You Want | www.capgemini.nl