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It's not just you, the AI dump feels never-ending right now

Ana Altchek   

It's not just you, the AI dump feels never-ending right now
  • OpenAI, Google, and Microsoft have released a flood of AI updates in recent weeks.
  • The hype cycle was caused in part by a surge in AI funding and companies' psychological motivations, a Gartner analyst told BI.

If you feel like you can't keep up with the deluge of AI announcements, you're not alone.

Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt summed up what many of us are thinking at the VivaTech conference in Paris earlier this week: "It feels confusing."

In the last two weeks, developers and consumers have been bombarded with a steady stream of AI updates and product launches, showing just how heated the AI race has become.

OpenAI kicked off the flurry of AI news by first showing off its new version of ChatGPT, powered by its new flagship model GPT-4o, which can have more human-like conversations and reason across audio, vision, and text.

A day later, Google held its two-hour I/O conference, which introduced a series of new updates and launches related to its Gemini AI, including Project Astra, customizable "Gems" assistants, and a glimpse into AI-generated Search.

On Tuesday, Microsoft introduced over 50 new products and partnerships at its annual developer conference, which lasted over two hours. Next month, Apple is expected to announce its entrance into the generative AI race with the iOS 18 reveal at its WWDC event.

There are so many new announcements that it's becoming difficult to keep up with what's out and what's coming soon. So, what can we expect moving forward — and will the announcements ever slow down?

BI spoke with Arun Chandrasekaran, Distinguished Vice President, Analyst at Gartner, to find out.

How we got here

It isn't uncommon for companies to aggressively compete for the best offerings, and this trend is often seen in a tech hype cycle, such as when PCs and smartphones first came out.

Simply put, "all the tech cycles are this way," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a recent interview with Bloomberg.

Gartner's Chandrasekaran gave two reasons for why the flurry of AI announcements is happening now. First, there's a psychological reason.

"Everybody wants to be heard in the noise," Chandrasekaran said.

That means that there's going to be a lot of so-called AI washing and AI marketing as companies fight for a chance to get noticed, Chandrasekaran added.

He also said there were tremendous investments in AI and tech from 2015 until 2022, resulting in hundreds of startups all trying to build their capabilities simultaneously. It's also resulted in ongoing waves of layoffs in the industry as companies recover from overhiring during that era.

The outcome of this climate

The result is that enterprise leaders are overwhelmed by the pace of produce releases, Chandrasekaran said. There's also a sense of fatigue in the industry because people are being overloaded with new announcements.

Chandrasekaran said that makes it difficult for enterprise leaders to make long-term bets in the AI space because everything they see currently on the market is likely to soon change.

"They prefer stability over speed," Chandrasekaran said about enterprise leaders.

"They're delivering services to their customers where reliability and performance and all of these things are of utmost importance to them," Chandrasekaran added.

But with the flurry of the product launches, it's becoming increasingly challenging to ensure reliability along with a stable set of deliverable services, Chandrasekaran said.

Chandrasekaran said that while there are some high-quality products and startups that will emerge as the next tech giants, there's also a lot of AI washing in the market today. That, and some vendors are claiming to have AI-related abilities that actually aren't AI.

"They could be using simple rules-based engine," Chandrasekaran said. "And they could be calling it AI or they may be using more classic machine learning and calling it like Gen AI."

When will it slow down?

Chandrasekaran said many startups may not make it to the next round of funding because they lack market fit or a clear path to profitability.

We'll start to see that moment of reckoning in the second half of 2024 into 2025, Chandrasekaran predicted.

When some of that dust starts to settle down with the startups, Chandrasekaran said the big vendor ecosystem will feel less pressure and will also start to slow down.

"It's kind of a vicious cycle that I think will be broken at some point in time," Chandrasekaran said.

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