Mario, Musk and more AI lawsuits - LBC's Will Guyatt's predictions for tech in 2024

29 December 2023, 12:37

Elon Musk's handling of X will be of particular interest
Elon Musk's handling of X will be of particular interest. Picture: Alamy
Will Guyatt, technology correspondent

By Will Guyatt, technology correspondent

This time last year I wrote about tech predictions being a tough gig - but having hit practically 100% with my 2023 LBC predictions, I've been emboldened with the confidence of James O'Brien as I glance into the crystal ball.

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As I head into my 13th year at LBC - I hope this luck continues. Here are the stories I reckon I'm going to spend much of 2024 following.

Tech gets interesting again

It looks like we're finally through the worst of the semiconductor shortage, which blurred into the supply issues of Covid shutting Chinese factories for many months.

Semiconductors are a key component in most modern tech - so we're screwed without them. For the last couple of years, tech companies have focused on trying to keep existing products on the shelves, while new models have made smaller than usual iterative changes because suppliers were not offering smaller, more powerful and advanced components, and things are now changing.

Read more: Elon Musk launches expletive rant at advertisers who boycotted his social media platform X

We've also been waiting for significant changes to the humble battery - new tech in this space will make our devices lighter, quicker to charge and possibly even look different to the established shapes and form factor of our devices.

Some big advances made in the world of batteries for electric vehicles are filtering through to our consumer electronics - and we'll start seeing those changes in 2024. Bring it on.

AI continues to generate attention as legal challenges pile up

Artificial intelligence featured on my 2023 predictions list and makes another return. While chatbots and the potential impact of AI on society generated stories on a daily basis in 2023, all eyes will be focused on what companies actually deliver in 2024 - as the hype dies off.

Whatever happens in terms of actual AI advancements, we're going to see a huge leap in legal claims against companies who have been building their AI products.

At the centre of AI products are large language models - and the suggestion is that companies have played hard and fast with copyright laws while "training" their model - which effectively means pumping it full with as much information as you can get your hands on.

Earlier in 2023, Game of Thrones author George RR Martin made moves to file a lawsuit to get compensation for his words being used by companies to shape their platforms which could eventually be sold for billions.

Read more: Zuckerberg vs. Musk called off: Facebook owner says Elon 'isn't serious' about UFC charity match

Now, in the last week of 2023, the New York Times has just filed a weighty, yet reasoned lawsuit against Open AI and Microsoft for copyright infringement suggesting that its heavier, more detailed journalism was being used to develop ChatGPT without any form of payment.

And let's not forget that legal cases attract legal cases - could you potentially sue the software developer if you;re featured in a convincing deepfake? How about if you're Paul McCartney and you inadvertently release the feel-good reggae hit of the summer without even knowing you've made it?

There are so many questions to be answered and legal precedents to be settled in the world of artificial intelligence.

The lights dim at X as the people tell Elon Musk to focus on things he's good at

Alongside AI stories, the thoughts and behaviour of one Elon Musk made my 12th year broadcasting on LBC the busiest yet. The world's richest man has continually demonstrated how money doesn't buy class when it comes to his behaviour at X - telling boycotting advertisers to GFY (I don't recommend you Google it) in a rambling interview, while refusing to acknowledge the rise of hate and misinformation on the platform documented by independent third parties.

In 2024 Elon will seemingly be locked in a head-to-head battle with the EU as the first case under the new Digital Media Act - as well as a growing feeling from investors in Tesla and SpaceX that his time and perceived "stardust" would be beneficial in those businesses that are also facing challenges of their own. Whatever happens, Elon will keep on Musking.

A new gaming experience from Nintendo

We know there's going to be a new console from Nintendo next year - we just don't know anything concrete about it yet - other than we'll be getting ready for more Mario and Legend of Zelda games.

Nintendo ducked out of the console wars in the early 2000s - eschewing raw power for innovation in different ways, like the motion controls of the Wii, or the hybrid nature of the Switch system - allowing gamers to play on the TV, or on the move. Despite being on sale for almost even years, the Switch remained a huge seller in 2023.

Rumours suggest that Nintendo showed their new machine to game developers at Gamescom - the industry's biggest trade show, earlier this year with watchers suggesting the new machine was more on par powerwise with the previous generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft - the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, while using some clever tricks to keep up with the newer machines.

If I was a betting man, I'd suggest we’ll see more of the console mid 2024 with a launch in time for Thanksgiving/christmas globally - just as long as components and supply chain issues don't rear up again.