In a broad 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 poised to deliver ROI soon,” which Forrester defines as less than two years. “Generative AI and conversational AI (replacing NLP) and autonomous workplace assistants (replacing intelligent agents) now promise near-term results,” the report says.
1. Generative AI
Forrester defines Generative AI as a set of technologies and techniques that leverage massive amounts of data to generate new content such as text, videos, images, audio and code in response to natural language prompts or other non-coded and non-traditional entries.
The benefits of using generative AI include enhanced digital experiences through natural language interactions, rapid knowledge retrieval, faster content generation and improved content quality, according to the report.
Yet there are also risks to be aware of. Generative AI is subject to “…consistent nonsense, security threats, and harmful builds” and “…companies are unable to quickly assess the growing amount of new capabilities,” the report says.
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“It will take several years to resolve governance, trust, and intellectual property issues in customer-facing or security-related uses,” the report warns, although generative AI will bear fruit in less than two years.
2. Autonomous work assistants
Forrester defines autonomous work assistants as “software that can make decisions, act without approval, and perform a service based on environment, context, user input, and learning.” support of workplace goals. »
Brian Hopkins, vice president of emerging technologies at Forrester, explained that, in relation to intelligent agents, with AWAs, “…we see (a) mix of RPA (robotic process automation) and digital process tools » and the ability “…to create agent software capable of learning as it goes, responding to more complex queries and acting in a non-deterministic manner.
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The benefits of AWAs include reduced costs of answering questions, reduced process inefficiencies and improved customer service, the report states. The risks, which will test businesses’ skill levels, include the need to integrate key elements of automation such as RPA, conversation and decision management.
Hopkins is clear that this year we have reached an inflection point and that chatbots and AWAs will “blow up.”
3. Conversational AI
Conversational AI tools are not new, although they have not worked well in the past, according to the report. The technology ranked third on the list because a combination of advancements and reduced licensing costs “…make this technology capable of generating a return on investment in the short term, while there is still plenty of room for advances and future innovations,” notes the report. .
The benefits of conversational AI include increased sales, automated customer service, employee self-service, and seamless shopping experiences. Risks include poorly designed chatbots delivering poor customer experiences and erosion of trust, as well as inflexible platforms that cannot scale quickly to keep up with the pace of innovation.
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Other emerging technologies in the top 10
Forrester’s list of top emerging technologies is rounded out by:
4. Decentralized digital identity is an identity solution and network that provides decentralized, distributed, verifiable and revocable credentials and claims based on trust between issuers, verifiers and users. Forrester expects this solution to deliver significant benefits within two to five years.
5. Cutting-edge intelligence includes streaming analytics, edge machine learning, federated machine learning, and real-time data management across smart devices and edge servers. Forrester expects this solution to deliver significant benefits within two to five years.
6. Explainable AI are techniques and software capabilities to ensure that people understand how AI systems arrive at their results. Forrester expects this solution to deliver significant benefits within two to five years.
7. TuringBot is an AI-powered software that increases the intelligence and ability of developers and their teams to design, create, modify, test and refactor software code and applications automatically and autonomously. Forrester expects this solution to deliver significant benefits within two to five years.
8. Extended Reality is a technology that superimposes computer images onto a user’s field of view, with augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality technologies supported by the same development tools, sensors, cameras and simulation engines. Forrester predicts it will take five years or more before extended reality delivers the expected value.
9. Web3 is a concept that promises a World Wide Web that is not dominated by big tech companies or other established businesses like banks. Forrester predicts it will take five years or more before Web3 delivers the expected value.
ten. Zero trust border is a solution that securely connects and transports digital information using zero trust access principles in and out of remote locations using primarily cloud-based security and networking services. Forrester predicts that it will take at least five years before Zero Trust Edge delivers the expected value.
Actions Leaders Should Take Regarding This Emerging Technology
For organizations just starting to look at these emerging technologies, Hopkins advises developing a rapid experimentation framework so they can understand what it can do for their business and weigh the risks versus the rewards.
Forrester advises technology leaders “…with modern technology management strategies…” to “pilot” generative AI, AWAs, and conversational AI and then commercialize them.
“Traditional companies should begin investing or continue to invest in these companies with reasonable expectations for measurable profits quickly,” the report said.
Although it will take at least five more years for extended reality, Web3 and Zero Trust to live up to their potential, the report advises organizations to “put them on your watch list, but you should set expectations with more enthusiastic advocates within your community.” business.”
The Zero Trust Edge combines Zero Trust security with different types of networks depending on the applications running, Hopkins said.
“Networks have always been separate from security, which is why we are seeing the emergence of security vendors who buy network vendors and integrate security into network capabilities, or vice versa,” he said. explain.
This is why it will be several years before companies can purchase and implement Zero Trust tools.
“We are a little skeptical about Web3. He’s not sure what it will become when he grows up,” Hopkins added.
He also noted that emerging technologies tend to change, pointing out that last year everyone was hyper focused on the metaverse and this year the focus is on generative AI.
“You have to think that next year it might be something else,” Hopkins said. “We are in the middle of what Forrester has been calling, for many years, acceleration, the framework for being fit for the future; be able to cope with the pace of change. The more prepared you are for this, the better off you will be in the future. »