SKT highlights AI trends for 2024

Yanitsa Boyadzhieva
By Yanitsa Boyadzhieva

Jan 4, 2024

Source: SK Telecom

Source: SK Telecom

  • Artificial intelligence is set to hog the technology spotlight again in 2024
  • One of the telecom sector’s main AI proponents is SK Telecom
  • It has shared its views on how AI will change the world in the coming year
  • Its research institute also expects significant developments related to carbon footprint reduction and quantum-safe security 

Influential telco SK Telecom, which has for some time had an ambition to transform itself into an AI company, has shared its views on how it believes artificial intelligence developments will impact the world this year. 

In a blog (available here in Korean), Choi Yun-jeong, research fellow at the SK Management and Economic Research Institute, dives into several pivotal technological trends that are set to impact the world this year. 

Unsurprisingly, SKT believes most developments will concern the rapidly evolving AI domain, in which it has been investing heavily, both in terms of its own research and development (R&D), via equity positions in multiple AI startups and through collaborations focused on the needs of the telecom sector – see SKT and DT unite to help telcos deploy GenAI models faster, SK Telecom to develop telco-optimised LLM with AI partner Anthropic and CSP giants form Global Telco AI Alliance.

The enterprise is at the heart of AI’s impending impact, according to Choi, who points to numerous experimental projects that are underway to embed generative AI (GenAI) into workplaces – and as we’ve already seen in the first week of 2024, enterprise AI is going to be a major battleground this year. Following the “notable” progress made by Microsoft with its Azure cloud platform and investment in OpenAI, the research institute now predicts that more cloud companies will offer AI services using enterprise-focused GenAI solutions and open-source large language models (LLMs).

In fact, a prime example of exploring GenAI in work-related processes is the move by US telco AT&T, which in June 2023 unveiled its Ask AT&T tool that aims to make its staff “more effective, more efficient and more creative at their jobs”.

According to SKT’s institute, the fields of chemistry and biology are headed for “a new dimension” powered by AI, as the technology is set to help with the discovery of new materials. Choi noted that this prediction follows a recent move by Google in which the tech giant discovered 2.2 million new crystals, including 380,000 stable materials that could power future technologies. This was done with the help of ‘GNoME’ – the new material development AI tool by Google’s subsidiary DeepMind.

SKT’s Choi also depicted 2024 as the year in which the so-called “multimodal AI” services that can see, read and listen “like a human” will receive more attention. Such offerings will be able to comprehensively infer data not only from text, but also from voice, image, gesture and biosignal, for example.

Another key trend that is on the cards for 2024 is work to connect the brain and AI, through projects such as Elon Musk’s ‘Neuralink’, as well as improving the management of risks related to the use of AI.

But not all key developments are related to AI: 2024 is when SKT’s institute expects a special emphasis on technologies that are able to eliminate carbon footprints. According to Choi, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (also known as CCUS – a process of capturing carbon dioxide emissions and either using them to make building materials, for example, or permanently storing them underground) will become more mainstream and be offered on a CCUS-as-a-service basis.

The research institute also expects to see developments in the quantum technology field, as the US National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) is expected to finalise a new encryption algorithm for a post-quantum cryptography (PQC) standard this year. This move, alongside other quantum cryptography technology developments, is expected to have “a significant impact” on the current cybersecurity infrastructure and enhance quantum-safe networking developments.

- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV

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