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  • Writer's pictureBella Callaway

European AI: Ones to Watch in 2024

The coming year is set to be a pivotal period in the evolution of artificial intelligence. AI will continue to present new possibilities and challenges for a diverse range of global industries. This will transcend technology, encompassing legal, ethical and societal implications that require vigilance not only from major corporations but also governments and citizens. The careers network LinkedIn conducted a survey in 2023, asking more than 10,000 professionals over the age of 18 how they view the impact of AI on their careers and around 45% agreed that AI would cause ‘significant’ changes to their jobs in the next year. There are several emerging AI trends appearing that intend to revolutionise the business landscape into 2024 and beyond The overarching theme is the synergistic blend of AI’s analytical capabilities with human creativity and emotional intelligence, reshaping the landscape of professional environments.

AI Start Ups to Look Out For:

Traditionally, the largest global investors in AI have been the USA and China, this may be changing in 2024 as Europe begins to invest heavily in the industry. The International Data Corporation has estimated that the European AI industry will reach a monetary value of $191 by 2026 which will amount to a 25.5% increase over the 2022-2026 period. In September 2023, Germany unveiled its ‘AI Action Plan’ pledging €1.8 billion to boost investment in AI. Additionally, in October 2023, French billionaire Xavier Niel announced he would invest €200 million into AI including €100 million research centred in Paris.

The following companies have been selected not only due to their levels of investment and growth over the course of 2023, but also because they demonstrate the wide range of ingenious ways AI is being applied across a plethora of industries in Europe.

  • Aleph Alpha:  German-based company offers a platform to help businesses and governments develop generative AI tools and research, which includes large language models trained in five languages and the ability to modify systems to suit the needs of specialised environments.

  • Helsing: An AI defence firm that is based in Munich. In 2023 it became Europe’s most well-funded defencetech startup and is among global leaders in the defencetech industry, raising €209 million in September 2023 to bolster AI capabilities to protect democracies. According to its website, Helsing has been active in Ukraine since  2022 ‘providing capabilities and technology for frontline operations’.

  • Mistral AI: The goal of French generative AI model maker Mistral AI, is to create language processing models that rival Open AI. The company made headlines in December 2023 as it secured a $2bn valuation meaning that it is definitely one to watch through 2024 as its influence expands.

  • Poolside AI: Originally based in the US, Poolside AI – which is working on a ChatGPT-like tool that can write software code – recently announced it is relocating to Paris after a huge $126m investment from French billionaire Xavier Niel.

  • Synthesia: This AI powered video maker lets users create talking head videos with text inputs and a short sample video of an actor. The Synthesia headquarters are based in London and the company has secured around $153m in funding so far. It counts companies like Reuters, Accenture, Amazon and the BBC among its clients, and cases include making training content for staff, as well as training PowerPoint presentations into video.

  • Senorita:  This embryonic Norwegian AI start-up was founded in 2020 as a solution to waste management. The system provides analytics to help waste companies cut costs and emissions using AI sensor measurements. Whilst this start-up is still in its early stages of life, its promise to deliver more sustainable, analytical waste management offers a powerful insight into a greener future.

The graph above shows that the UK and Germany are leading Europe's AI industry, with France and the Netherlands following suit. The coming year will be critical for European Artificial Intelligence as the EU continues to draft the first global AI guidelines through The Artificial Intelligence Act and investment increases, propelling the European tech industry to challenge global tech titans such as the United States and China.

Over the past 12 months, there has been a concerted effort to balance innovation with responsibility by nations globally. The AI Safety Summit hosted by the UK resulted in the Bletchley Declaration, the first formal international agreement on developing a framework around safe AI and signed by 28 countries, including the UK, EU, US, India and China. 

Beyond that, the USA created a blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, The EU established the Artificial Intelligence Act, and China and Canada have been advancing their AI regulatory frameworks. Across the world, other countries are developing their AI governance strategies.

Moving into 2024, this trend towards comprehensive and harmonised AI regulation is likely to continue, with an increasing emphasis on ethical AI deployment, risk mitigation and transparency that will shape a more accountable and safe AI landscape globally. In order to navigate the ever-changing AI landscape start-ups must continue to demonstrate resilience and creativity to ensure that new AI regulations are being met and that systems are being implemented with a human-centred focus.

Legal Challenges

The rapid development and popularisation of generative AI in 2023 has created complex legal challenges, particularly concerning intellectual property and copyright matters. In 2024, the spotlight will be on the legal intricacies surrounding AI-generated content, including art, music and literary works. Determining the rights and ownership of these AI creations presents a nuanced legal landscape, necessitating the development of new legal frameworks and guidelines to address AI’s unique role in content generation. 

The US Copyright Office has rejected copyright applications for AI-generated images, even when artists argued that the AI system was integral to their creative process. Simultaneously, lawsuits are pending over the use of copyrighted works to train generative AI systems without permission, highlighting the complex legal landscape surrounding AI’s use of existing content. As we advance into 2024, the landscape surrounding AI and copyright is evolving, with new frameworks and guidelines developing to address the unique role of AI in content generation. This evolution is necessary to balance protecting original creators’ rights while fostering the innovative potential of AI in the creative sector.

Developments in AI Technology

Generative AI increased in capacity and popularity drastically in 2023. However, in the coming year we will see the emergence of multi-modal general AI systems, which will be able to comprehend and seamlessly integrate varied types of data such as text, graphics, and audio. This combination of data analysis and construction will allow for more natural and intuitive user interactions, dramatically improving applications and user experience in a variety of fields.

These systems enable sophisticated virtual assistants that can accurately respond to complex queries; advanced customer service bots capable of interpreting emotions and intentions; and innovative educational tools, immersive entertainment experiences, and improved accessibility for disabled users. Overall, these multi-modal systems offer a significant step forward towards AI that can interact with the world in a manner similar to human vision and cognition, broadening the possibilities of AI applications and user experiences.

Quantum AI, which leverages the principles of quantum mechanics, represents a significant leap beyond the capabilities of classical computing. It operates using quantum bits (qubits), which, unlike traditional bits, can exist in multiple states simultaneously, allowing for exponential increases in processing power. This remarkable ability enables quantum AI to analyse and process vast, complex datasets at unprecedented speeds. 

In 2024, Quantum AI is predicted to transform industries by accelerating drug discovery through rapid molecular simulations, enhancing climate change models with more accurate predictions and driving sophisticated financial market analyses. Its application in areas like logistic organisation, energy management and advanced material design is also emerging, solving problems once deemed too complex for classical computers. This technology is no longer just a theoretical marvel but a practical tool, providing businesses with unparalleled insights and decision-making capabilities, thereby revolutionising data-driven strategies and creating new frontiers in innovation and efficiency.

The year 2024 marks a watershed moment in the AI revolution. Quantum AI is redefining computational possibilities; AI legislation is sculpting ethical and legal boundaries; augmented working is revolutionising workforce dynamics; next-generation multi-modal AIs are enhancing human-AI interactions; and IP and copyright challenges are prompting innovative legal solutions. 

For businesses, these trends represent not just hurdles but significant opportunities for innovation and adaptation in an AI-dominated future. Embracing and navigating these trends with strategic agility and foresight is crucial for thriving in the rapidly evolving AI landscape.

AI will continue to fundamentally alter workplace dynamics particularly human-machine dynamics. AI systems have become key collaborative partners in the decision-making process for many companies across various sectors.

While the focus over the past 12 months has been on how generative AI can help with content creation, it is expected that this year will see a much wider application. This will include a focus on AI’s ability to help with advanced analytics; aid project management with predictive insights; revolutionise coding with automated code generation and debugging; enhance; and elevate customer service with sophisticated virtual assistance. Such rapid and monumental advances in workplace technology will call for a redefinition of traditional job roles, with a strong emphasis on training programmes to help human workers effectively harness the full potential of AI systems. This human-AI synergy will reshape professional environments as it brings together the efficient analytical capabilities of machine systems and the creativity and emotional intelligence of human workers. As the AI revolution continues to gather momentum, it is essential that citizens globally have a better understanding of AI systems and how they are used in everyday life.

The role of THEMIS 5.0 is to further this human-AI synergy by creating human-centred, socio-technical ecosystem which aims to improve human-AI hybrid decision making. If the trustworthiness of AI systems is to be improved, it is crucial that there is also increased transparency and explainability of the systems themselves. The THEMIS 5.0 framework promises to deliver a technical system which can be leveraged by users to assess the trustworthiness of a decision made by AI. The legal, ethical and business requirements of the users will be considered through information analysis and the resulting decision will be presented to the user through the AI-driven conversational agent which will be easily explainable and therefore transparent.

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