This time of year, lots of folks share opinions about what will happen over the coming 12 months.
I'd like to do something different. Instead of making predictions about key IT and technology trends for 2024, I want to share some "anti-predictions" — meaning trends that you might expect but that I don't think will actually play out this year. (Also, check out Brien Posey's "5 Tech Trends That *WON'T* Happen in 2024.")
- Generative AI Won't Disrupt IT
- Not Every Company Will Become an AI Company
- Not Every Workload Will Move to the Cloud
- Cloud-Native Won't Surge
- Tech Hiring Won't Fully Rebound
1. Generative AI Won't Disrupt IT
There's no denying that generative AI technology has had an important impact on the IT industry. Developers are making widespread use of tools like Copilot to build applications faster, and use cases for generative AI have cropped up in domains such as cloud security and IT operations.
That said, I tend to think that the generative AI revolution has already played out. I don't expect it to upend any facets of IT that it has not already changed. Sure, we're likely to see continued innovation as GenAI tools grow incrementally better. But in the long run, I am bearish on the idea that generative AI will reshape the IT industry any more than it already has.
The reason why is that generative AI technology is now mature. Short of a major breakthrough — which there is no specific reason to expect — that enables totally new types of AI-driven functionality, I don't see major new potential for GenAI in IT.
2. Not Every Company Will Become an AI Company
Speaking of AI, AI technology has been so trendy since the release of ChatGPT about a year ago that some folks predict every business will need to embrace an AI strategy.
Despite other voices on IT Pro Today arguing that 2024 will be the year of AI for businesses of all types, I'm not convinced. I don't think most businesses will be building large language models (LLMs) or trying to integrate AI into every aspect of their operations. Most companies don't need their own AI models; they can purchase AI tools and services from other vendors.
To be sure, the portion of the IT industry that focuses on AI development will continue to thrive. But don't expect every organization to be rushing to hire LLM developers or acquire AI-optimized cloud infrastructure in 2024.
3. Not Every Workload Will Move to the Cloud
Cloud migration has been a longstanding trend in IT, and it may seem a safe bet that even more workloads will migrate to cloud environments in 2024.
I tend to think, however, that most workloads that are a good fit for the cloud are already there. In the coming year, I'd place my money on steady, if not increasing, demand for on-prem infrastructure and colocation facilities as ways for businesses to operate workloads outside of the cloud.
4. Cloud-Native Won't Surge
The idea that businesses will continue to embrace cloud-native technologies, like Kubernetes and containers, in 2024 may also seem obvious. But here again, I'm doubtful.
I certainly don't think most companies are going to abandon cloud-native tech. But more developers and IT operations teams are growing wary of the complexity that goes hand-in-hand with cloud-native environments. For that reason, I don't expect cloud-native computing to be a key technology trend in 2024.
5. Tech Hiring Won't Fully Rebound
For tech industry workers stung by the widespread layoffs of 2023, now may seem to be a moment to feel optimistic about a brighter future. Generally speaking, the economy as a whole has not cratered, and it's tempting to hope that the worst of the tech industry's economic turbulence is behind it.
I'm a bit more pessimistic. I'm not convinced that tech companies that let workers go over the past year will rehire them at a steady clip; instead, I suspect those jobs are gone permanently, because many were only created in response to a temporary surge in demand for digital solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. There also remains a lingering problem of worker disengagement that is likely to make some companies reluctant to rehire.
The tech job market may get a little brighter over the course of 2024, but those hoping for a full rebound from the dark days of 2023 are likely to be disappointed.
In short, I'm bearish on AI, the cloud, cloud-native technology, and tech jobs as we begin 2024. For better or worse, I don't think the tech industry is in for major departures from the trends that defined 2023. Expect incremental change, but not tremendous disruption, in facets of the tech industry that are at the center of predictions about what's likely to happen in 2024.
About the authorChristopher Tozzi is a technology analyst with subject matter expertise in cloud computing, application development, open source software, virtualization, containers and more. He also lectures at a major university in the Albany, New York, area. His book, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” was published by MIT Press.