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Content creation to the conceptual web: GenAI’s 2024 trajectory

Bob Briski
Bob Briski
6 min read
10 January 2024

The following insight is a feature from the DEPT® Trends Forecast 2024. To see all the 2024 predictions, download the 2024 digital trends report

The world is preparing for the most exciting and innovative year in digital ever, thanks to the possibilities of generative AI. Over the last several months, we’ve quickly progressed from reveling at the human-like responses from chatbots to experimenting with greater, more complex capabilities of large language models (LLMs). 

In 2024, as tech giants and industry disruptors compete for GenAI dominance, brands’ creative and exploratory uses of AI will fundamentally change how we work, learn, shop, create, communicate, search, and, overall, interact with the digital world. 

Rather than being valued solely for its content generation capabilities, GenAI’s growing ability to understand concepts and context stands to fuel an entirely new digital architecture. This idea is the “conceptual web,” which marks the potential of GenAI and will power user experiences of the future. 

Seeking the next big thing for large language models

Technology leaders have been developing machine learning and artificial intelligence tech since the 1950s, but the steep strides that GenAI has taken since Google’s conception of the transformer model in 2017 are unlike anything society has ever experienced. Today, we see new iterations of LLMs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT released several times per month. 

In 2023, the world saw GenAI become widely accepted as an increasing number of digital users leaned on large language models to create everything from text and images to audio, video, and code. Nearly 80% of McKinsey survey respondents claim they’ve used GenAI in or outside of work through tools like ChatGPT, Midjourney, or Stable AI. The technology’s rapid integration into everything from business operations to our individual lives means the race for the next big breakthrough is underway. 

From startups to the major GenAI players, tech firms are diligently charging forward to define the next frontier of LLMs’ capabilities. And, according to The Economist, three critical constraints will help to level (and likely shake up) the playing field: 

  • Computing costs
  • The insatiable demand for data
  • Money

The tools from AI hyperscalers—like Microsoft, NVIDIA, and OpenAI—will continue to get smarter, more accurate, and up-to-date. They will also better understand increasingly long and nuanced instructions and generally be more human-like. We can also expect to see an explosion of niched-down applications and tools that address specific industries and use cases, where many argue GenAI’s true value lies.

Pushing the boundaries of GenAI’s capabilities

To many people, generative AI is simply about mimicking human interaction, disrupting workflows, and driving productivity and growth. But its potential is far bigger and more impactful than that. This technology allows us to perform complex tasks that traditionally demand multiple models, extensive training, and numerous examples. 

This begs the question: Can brands harness the power of GenAI to go beyond generating outputs and develop systems that actually comprehend and interact with digital content?

The answer lies in the emergence of what we’re calling the conceptual web, a new digital architecture that taps into generative AI to revolutionize the way we explore and engage with the web.

To understand the significance of this AI-driven development, let’s first discuss data. 

Historically, we’ve categorized data into two types: structured and unstructured.

  • Structured data, which includes financial records, inventory data, and employee information, has been the backbone of computer-based understanding for over a century.
  • In contrast, unstructured data, comprising elements like Shakespeare’s works, audio recordings of the moon landing, and iconic imagery like the “Abbey Road” album cover, has largely been overlooked or forced into structured formats for computational interpretation.

However, this “ignored” unstructured data carries a wealth of information and structure. Human communication, spanning tens of thousands of years, has effectively conveyed ideas through language, writing, and images. Until now, the complexity of these structures was beyond the comprehension of computers. 

This is where GenAI and large language models come into play, fundamentally altering the landscape of digital information. The ability of these technologies to understand context enables us to process, understand, and extract concepts from varied forms of human expression.

2024 will be more than content generation

Many industry experts have been focusing on the generative capabilities of AI, but it’s more than just generating content. It’s about unlocking forms of expression and knowledge where the full spectrum of human experience can be integrated with the power of computing. 

This is the essence of the conceptual web – a revolutionary approach to digital architecture that aims to make ideas more accessible, searchable, and understandable at scale. 

Think of it this way: Envision your business’s online presence as a brain that reflects the intricate and interconnected nature of our own minds. It’s a network where, rather than connecting related static web pages through hyperlinks, navigation is fluid and users are seamlessly served up relevant information based on connections between even the most complex concepts.

As we stand at the threshold of this generative AI-driven era, the conceptual web promises to redefine our interaction with the digital world, making it more intuitive, inclusive, and insightful. For brands that want to pioneer this digital future, it’s up to technology and marketing leaders to think beyond the most obvious uses of GenAI—like spitting out pages of content—and look toward AI to streamline and personalize their user experience. 

For more insights into the AI, digital, search, and technology trends that will shape individuals, brands, and society in 2024, download the DEPT® Trends Forecast 2024


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Bob Briski