The seven automation and AI trends to know (and act on) right now

2024 top automation and AI trends to know now

This year, two transformative technologies are joining forces to bring out the best in each other, creating big opportunities for fast movers across the board.

I love January.

I think it’s a month of optimism and energy. A month when all of us—hopefully, refreshed and reinvigorated from the holiday break—take stock of all the possibilities for advancement and progress in the year ahead and set our plans to capture them.

Maybe you're someone who likes to look back as you make future plans. 2023 was the year that Generative AI changed everything. I believe 2024 will be the year that reality hits and we see real examples of new productivity advantages for leading enterprises emerge.

This January, I’m feeling particularly optimistic and energized. And you should, too. Because I’ve been looking at the trends in automation and AI, and they point to some big opportunities in 2024, for those of you who are ready to recognize and take advantage of them.

So, what are these trends and where do they come from? They’re based on the insights we’ve gained from talking to and working with well over 10,000 customers and prospects around the world. We’ve also blended in tech experts’ perspectives, the results of global surveys, and a raft of other data from government and third-party research. And then we distill them into the core trends that we believe define the automation and AI landscape of the future.

I’ll be hosting a webinar covering these trends on January 18, joined by a leading expert in AI and automation, Bain & Company’s Ted Shelton. (You can register for the webinar here). But in advance—with the hope that I’ll whet your appetite for the webinar’s deeper dive into implications and suggested actions—I want to give you a quick peek into our seven automation and AI trends for 2024. Here they are:

Trend 1: The C-suite seizes AI’s value—with automation’s help

AI is now front and center on board and business leaders’ agendas—and they’re looking for some real traction and short-term, tangible value right now. Automation is a proven, powerful way to fast-track AI execution—so look for organizations to embrace it to realize their AI ambitions.

Trend 2: Select AI + automation use cases get hot, hot, hot

Certain AI + automation solutions with a track record of delivering significant, near-in, and sustained value will see fast growth and adoption this year. Intelligent document processing (IDP) is leading the charge, but communications mining, process and task mining, and automated testing are coming on fast.

Trend 3: The transparent organization comes into focus—end-to-end

The best-run organizations will use AI-powered process and task mining to take ongoing “X-rays" of their operations. That way, they’ll gain the end-to-end visibility into the inner workings of workflows and work tasks that let them quickly diagnose bottlenecks and inefficiencies and continually keep performance at its peak

Trend 4: LLMs power virtual BFFs

This year, the “copilot” category will fly high with a range of amazing virtual desktop assistants that you can talk to in plain language and have an almost uncanny ability to understand what you need to get done—and step in to do it for you. By the end of this year, we predict that millions upon millions of knowledge workers around the world will be wondering how they ever got their work done without their virtual buddy.

Trend 5: There’s a new jolt of “auto” in automation

AI can dramatically expand what machines can do for people—and the automation industry is not shy about taking advantage of the situation. Already, Generative AI and natural language processing (NLP) can auto-create a significant portion of many automations and automated tests, improving both quality and speed-to-execution. Gen AI is also taking much of the human work out of model training for things like IDP. And before this year runs its course, we’ll see self-healing software robots.

Trend 6: Safe AI becomes a focus of action—and innovation

In 2023, we heard a lot about AI’s risks: security breaches, bias, hallucinations, and more. In 2024, we’ll see individual organizations find effective ways to address these risks: setting up and enforcing governance rules, designing AI systems with robust safeguards and security layers, and selecting vendors and partners that help them practice “responsible AI.” We’ll also see governments step in with new regulations and requirements. It’s all about ensuring the risk-reward equation works for enterprises, their customers, and society at large.

Trend 7: We begin the work of redefining work

AI is a broadly transformative technology that will profoundly change the world—compelling us to reimagine what human work means and the skills required to succeed in an AI-rich world. While this will be an ongoing effort over many years, I’m looking forward to some stimulating initial thought leadership and leading-edge, real-life experiments in 2024.

As I said at the beginning, I’m optimistic and energized about the opportunities facing us in 2024. And that’s not just the “January effect.” Truly, this year promises to be filled with remarkable advancements in the convergence of automation and AI. Now, it’s time for all of us to get to work to take advantage of them.

Join us for the Automation and AI Trends 2024 webinar, January 18 (11:00 am SGT, 10:00 am GMT, 11:00 am EST).
Register now.

Bobby Patrick headshot
Bobby Patrick

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), UiPath

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