Eurecat points to generative artificial intelligence as the technology trendsetter for 2024

The Eurecat technology centre predicts that 2024 will be the year of exploiting generative artificial intelligence which will yield solutions developed for a wide range of sectors including healthcare, construction, manufacturing, education, finance, retail and government.

Daniel Casellas, Eurecat’s scientific director, notes “the enormous potential which is opening up to ensure that new technological developments in generative artificial intelligence are transferred to various sectors so the solutions can engender new opportunities, are sustainable and also ramp up industrial resilience.”

Generative artificial intelligence “has had a huge impact and will unquestionably continue to be a trendsetter in 2024,” adds María Eugenia Fuenmayor, scientific director of Eurecat’s Digital Area. “It will evolve into more advanced, multimodal models which are more efficient and precise than their current counterparts coupled with improvements in ethics and the transparency of the results.”

“As with any new technology, and in this case also one with enormous transformational power, businesses are exploring how to tap generative AI’s huge capacity to generate content such as text, images, video, code and audio to innovate and step up productivity and creativity.”

Nonetheless, she points out that if they are to secure a permanent place in enterprises’ automated processes, large language models “need to improve in a number of aspects such as the vast amount of resources they use, tailoring models to specific needs, the poor explainability of their results and the possibility of bias and misinformation in the answers.”

To mitigate this, she expects 2024 “will see trends which will support large language models and generative AI in general in the evolutionary process, especially ethical AI, including issues in privacy, bias, discrimination and explainability, exploratory quantum AI and cybersecurity.”

The year of generative AI in industry

In the coming year, “generative AI will also gain ground in manufacturing and be part of practically every link in the supply chains of many sectors with the primary goal of optimising them to enhance efficiency, increase quality, cut costs, speed up processes and reduce risks,” argues Ricard Jiménez, scientific director of Eurecat’s Industrial Area.

He thinks that “this trend will embrace all sectors involving product design where generative design software will be able to dump large quantities of design proposals in compliance with the user’s pre-set requirements.”

“Machine learning algorithms will also be used in quality control and predictive maintenance and will be increasingly better trained to spot any data patterns which predict either a machine breakdown or a product defect.”

Likewise, he believes that “the mix of generative AI models and digital twins will also take production planning and logistics to the next level as it will be possible to simulate a large number of scenarios and forecast supply and demand and the availability of raw materials and all kinds of resources.”

Furthermore, “generative AI will also be a facilitator for expanding automation of industrial processes and in particular robotics, which will make huge strides and where one of the most disruptive applications will be in human-robot interaction.” This will prompt the emergence of the first robots in healthcare and customer service, as is the case of a prototype of a care robot for mental health applications which Eurecat is developing.

Generative artificial intelligence as a key player in the healthcare industry too

“The burgeoning potential of generative artificial intelligence means it is also set to play a leading role in the healthcare industry,” comments Francesc Puiggròs, scientific director of Eurecat’s Biotechnology Area.

In lockstep with laying the foundations of the regulatory framework for its use, this technology’s ability “to push beyond tapping defined algorithms and existing patterns to harness machine learning neural networks to generate content which simulates human creativity will be crucial for unlocking big data in healthcare, interpreting vast amounts of biological data and fast-tracking innovation” in this area.

As examples, Francesc Puiggròs points to “the automation of processes to expedite the discovery of biological substances for use in the pharmaceutical or food industries, automated analysis of scientific text to optimise experimental design to validate them and discover new efficient products for human wellbeing or detecting and classifying images to identify, diagnose and treat grades of tumours or symptoms of incipient diseases in a hitherto unimaginable time.”

Circularity of metals in urban and industrial cycles

From an environmental standpoint, the circularity of metal alloys in urban and industrial cycles will be a key trend in 2024 against a background where “globally we are facing significant challenges such as climate change, decarbonisation and ensuring access to secure energy and water sources coupled with the availability of critical resources,” says Joan de Pablo, scientific director of Eurecat’s Sustainability Area.

Nowadays Europe “is highly dependent on imports of elements and critical element concentrates as its primary resources are not sufficient to cover most of these materials,” he argues. This has led to the use of secondary sources which is “driving recycling of these materials’ urban and industrial cycles along with exploring alternative sources, replacement by other non-critical elements and reducing their use or content in line with the substitution principle.”

Both strategies “are crucial to safeguard long-term supply and be less dependent on geopolitical restrictions.”

In his view, technology elements “are pivotal for the economy in general and in developing products and technologies to drive a transition to a decarbonised society” in an approach which “embraces the elements which play a key role in this context at the European level and in any industrialised region.”

The European Union has classified these elements as critical raw materials, including lithium, rare earth metals, cobalt, phosphorus, titanium and magnesium. The critical materials programme’s main goal is to “unlock a competitive and sustainable society which is why it is crucial to have these materials available in sufficient quantities and at competitive prices.”

About Eurecat

Eurecat, Technology Centre of Catalonia, brings together the expertise of more than 700 professionals who generate a volume of income of 55 M € per year. Serving two thousand companies, Eurecat is involved in more than 200 projects of R&D national and international with high strategic value and has 181 patents and 10 technology companies. It has eleven centres in Catalonia. More information

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