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AI in 2023: A Retrospective

December 21, 2023
5 mins
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In 2023, we have witnessed remarkable progress in the field of artificial intelligence. Amidst the backdrop of groundbreaking technological advancements and deep ethical deliberations, AI is leaving a lasting impact on various fronts.

The ChatGPT Era: Generative AI Takes Center Stage

One standout innovation during 2023 was ChatGPT, a ubiquitous chatbot that gained widespread recognition. By February, its user base had swelled to a staggering 100 million, surpassing the population of Australia fourfold.

Major tech companies like Google and Microsoft also made their mark in the chatbot arena with the introduction of Bard and the integration of AI into Bing, respectively. Snapchat launched MyAI, a ChatGPT-powered tool that allows users to pose questions and receive personalized suggestions.

The launch of GPT-4, the latest iteration powering ChatGPT, marked the beginning of a new chapter in early 2023. This release brought novel features, enabling the AI to analyze lengthy documents and text, expanding its utility.

The global adoption of image generation reached new heights, with open-source platforms like DALL-E, Midjourney, and Imagen becoming widely available. Concurrently, corporations embraced AI-driven creativity, with industry giants like Coca-Cola using AI for ad generation, and Levi's exploring AI to create virtual models. A viral moment captured the captivating impact of AI on visual content creation — an image of the Pope wearing a stylish white Balenciaga puffer jacket.

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This incident highlighted the transformative influence of AI on visual aesthetics and creative expression. Generative AI not only revolutionized the marketing industry but also changed the way companies provide value to their customers, boosting productivity significantly. In certain sectors, these changes will pave the way for the creation of entirely novel business models.

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As the world assesses the merits and potential challenges of generative AI, a new era of multimodal systems begins to take shape. 

Emergence of Multimodal Models and Open-Sourced LLMs

 In mid-2023, OpenAI's release of GPT-4 integrated visual capabilities with their AI chatbots, ushering in a new era of multimodal models. In parallel, Microsoft’s LLaVA took a distinctive approach by open-sourcing the model and making it trainable with a smaller dataset. Google’s recent release of Gemini and Anthropic’s Cluade 2 shows the growing interest in enhancing AI capabilities and creating more immersive and versatile AI interactions. 

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This period also witnessed a surge in open-sourcing LLMs and multimodal models. Meta’s release of Llama 2, along with its weights, initiated a wave of knowledge sharing and innovation. 

Various models like Dolly, Falcon180B, and Mistral 7B have contributed to this ecosystem of shared resources. This open-source movement extended beyond LLMs to include multimodal models like LLaVA and Gemini, which are now accessible to developers and researchers.

The open sourcing of these models has created opportunities for seamless integration into other platforms, offering more efficient solutions. Encord, for instance, has successfully integrated LLaVa to automate annotation processes, demonstrating the practical benefits of leveraging open-source AI models for enhanced functionality.

The open sourcing of these powerful models has also brought attention to the importance of AI governance and the need for policies to ensure safety and ethical practices.

AI Regulation

The global AI landscape is being shaped by the intricate interplay between AI policy, regulation, and geopolitics. Toward the end of the year, significant progress was made in establishing AI governance frameworks, with a narrative dominated by competition and strategic positioning between the United States and China.

In the U.S., the Biden-Harris Administration has taken a proactive approach to responsible AI innovation, emphasizing fairness, transparency, and accountability. The U.S. is committed to setting global standards for ethical AI, positioning itself as a leader in shaping the future of artificial intelligence.  Meanwhile, the U.S. and China have engaged in intense technological competition, with the U.S. leading in innovative AI technologies and China focusing on scaling AI infrastructure. Both nations elevated AI to a critical element of national security, sparking discussions about a potential AI arms race.

On the regulatory front, the U.S. aims to establish global norms with the proposition of an AI Bill of Rights, while China pursues a state-centric approach. In Europe, the UK, France, Germany, and the EU have made strides in AI regulation efforts, with the EU taking the lead in deliberations on the AI Act, aiming to set a global benchmark for ethical AI.

International entities, like the United Nations, have played a vital role in discussions about the global ethical impact of AI through the establishment of an advisory body. The evolving landscape of AI regulation reflects the complex challenges of navigating geopolitics amid rapid technological advancements.

AI in 2023 and Beyond

As we enter 2024, the trajectory of artificial intelligence continues to captivate our imagination, driven by transformative developments in the preceding year. Here are some key trends and expectations for the upcoming year:

  • Integration of audio into the AI chatbots: OpenAI’s project Whisper and Gemini’s audio capabilities integration, which are expected to be made public in the coming year, will pave the way for multimodal interfaces with different modalities. 
  • Technology adoption driving business transformation: The adoption of new and frontier technologies, along with the expansion of digital transformation solutions, will remain crucial drivers of transformation, as highlighted in the Future of Jobs in 2023 report by the World Economic Forum. Additionally, the broader application of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards within companies will have a significant impact.
  • Influence of AI on customer values and company dynamics: As AI systems become more human-like, they will inevitably shape customer values and impact various sectors. For instance, in the retail grocery industry, businesses may need to reimagine their value propositions.

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  • Enhanced Transparency: In 2023, several platforms faced criticism for generating AI-generated content without transparently disclosing it. With the emergence of AI regulation policies, we can expect to see a greater emphasis on transparency in AI-generated content.

Reflecting on the developments of 2023, the AI landscape has been a thrilling rollercoaster ride, showcasing remarkable progress and prompting profound ethical considerations. From the initial fascination with ChatGPT to the exploration of multimodal systems and the abundance of open-source contributions, the field has expanded significantly.

As we gear up for the ride into 2024, the convergence of AI, ethical considerations, and regulatory frameworks promises to bring forth a new wave of innovation and challenges. Brace yourself for a wild adventure that will continue to shape the global AI landscape.

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Written by

Akruti Acharya

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