65b2a2cbfb1f99001ec200c8 The Weirdness Has Only Begun

2024: the weirdness has only begun

Jan. 25, 2024
From GenAI to economic uncertainty, it should be a strange trip through the next 12 months

We’re just getting started, but 2024 is shaping up to be quite a year. At least to me, it seems like we’re firmly entrenched in a time when society is about to get, well, maybe a bit weird. But that’s OK, because as Hunter S. Thompson wrote in Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

I’m just going to stay away from any fear and loathing about the campaign trail in 2024, but there’s some strange vibes brewing about the future and it’s not about two candidates, but two letters—AI. If there’s a disruptor that has people living in fear and loathing its existence, and simultaneously thrilling them for the future, it’s artificial intelligence, specifically generative AI (gen AI).

I’m not here to rank the year’s top trends, but is there anyone who believes gen AI isn’t the top technology trend in industry? Now is when gen AI starts to become a professional tool to augment efficiency and sustainability, and build reliability into processes. We’ve reached that fork in the road, and it has some people a bit weirded out.

So how will the professionals handle gen AI? I don’t know the answer, though maybe I can ask ChatGPT? I do know that many professionals, particularly those working in industrial process control, aim to figure out how to use gen AI to bridge the skills gap. Gen AI is a much-needed tool for storing institutional knowledge, so when skilled workers retire, it can help train new workers about best practices and procedures—and then do it again.

There are other trends to be mindful of this year. One is using predictive maintenance to further sustainability and efficiency. Recently, Aaron Merkin, CTO, and Ankush Malhotra, president, both at Fluke Reliability, opined on the upcoming year, writing, “Connected reliability provides an integrated approach to sustainability.” You can see more of their comments here.

They also say that economic pressures continue to make efficiency paramount. The uncertainty of the global economy places emphasis on maintaining machinery, rather than replacing it, leading to greater adoption of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) tools and increased demand for AI analytics.

What? You thought AI wouldn’t make its way into augmenting IIoT?

About the Author

Len Vermillion | Editor in Chief

Len Vermillion is editor-in-chief of Control. 

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