Accenture unveiled its 2024 Technology Vision at CES 2024 today, and it’s no surprise that AI plays a big role in it.
The vision forecasts a transformative future where the relationship between humanity and technology is at an inflection point. Themed Human by Design: How AI Unleashes the Next Level of Human Potential, the vision presents an optimistic departure from dystopian depictions of technology’s adverse effects on mankind. Accenture released the report at CES 2024, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.
Have you ever seen dystopian pictures of humans in 1,000 years? Hunched backs, sallow skin, big and sensitive eyes – the hallmarks of people who spend too much time indoors, detached from the physical world, the report said. These images reflect how the artists see our relationship with technology today. They’re visceral and striking, and based on true fears.
This vision challenges prevailing concerns surrounding technology’s control over human lives and aims to redefine this relationship by making technology more inherently human.
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“But the future doesn’t need to be what these artists imagine. Not if we recast the relationship between people and technology and design technology to amplify, rather than change, the things that make us human,” Accenture’s report declared.
The crux of this vision lies in the proposition that upcoming technological advancements will augment human potential, productivity, and creativity rather than supplant or control it. A suite of innovative technologies, including autonomous agents, intelligent interfaces, spatial technologies, and brain-computer interfaces, is poised to spearhead this paradigm shift.
Accenture emphasizes that despite humanity’s history of creating tools to transcend limitations, these tools have often lacked a human touch. They have functioned efficiently but failed to resonate with human characteristics. This disconnection has resulted in adverse effects, such as health issues arising from extended use of tools and technology.
The trade-offs with machiens have been clear. Automobiles expanded our freedom of mobility. Cranes let us build skyscrapers and bridges. Machines helped us create, distribute, and listen to music. Technology’s unhuman nature can also be its drawback, though. Extended use of hand tools can lead to arthritis. Years of looking at screens can accelerate vision problems. We have amazing navigational tools, but they still distract us from driving, the report said.
The discordance can even go beyond our physical bodies and permeate the environments we live in: homes or offices are often designed to get the best bandwidth, combustion engines may be a need for some but generate pollution for others.
A turning point
However, the turning point is upon us. Accenture’s report showcases evidence of technology reversing course to become more human. The shift is manifesting in user-friendly interfaces, intuitive designs, and human-like intelligence embedded across various facets of technology.
A cornerstone of this evolution is the rise of generative AI, which Accenture highlights as a pivotal force. The report underscores examples such as Adobe’s Photoshop features, driven by AI, enabling users to manipulate images with simple text prompts. Moreover, generative AI is transcending routine tasks, augmenting human creativity, and democratizing specialized knowledge work.
The vision spotlights transformative applications across diverse sectors. Google Cloud’s generative AI search tool revolutionizes healthcare data accessibility for professionals, while MIT’s computational tool, FrameDiff, pioneers synthetic protein structures for drug development.
The report also draws attention to the integration of AI into robotics, such as Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot, now equipped not only to mimic human movement but also to engage in social interactions using natural language commands.
“Technology’s fusion with human traits is imminent, enabling unparalleled productivity and value creation across industries,” the report said.
Accenture’s vision underscores the ethical conundrums accompanying this transformation. As technology mirrors human capabilities, ethical dilemmas regarding AI’s impact on creativity, job displacement, and societal cocooning surface. Enterprises grapple with the responsibility of positive engineering, balancing technological advancements with ethical considerations.
The vision challenges enterprises to leverage technology’s human-centric evolution, emphasizing the critical role they play in shaping a future where technology and humanity coexist harmoniously.
In essence, Accenture’s Technology Vision 2024 heralds an era where technology and humanity merge to unlock unprecedented potential. It urges enterprises to pioneer ethical, human-centric technological advancements that bridge the gap between innovation and social responsibility.
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