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Software and technology

9 counterintuitive trends in AI

April 30, 2024

For creative teams to get what they need from AI, they need to collaborate much more closely with their analytics teams. For creative teams to get what they need from AI, they need to collaborate much more closely with their analytics teams.


By Jeetu Patel and ChatGPT

The world of artificial intelligence (AI) is full of unexpected developments that often defy our initial intuition. The interesting part of what may transpire over the coming years are the trends that are counterintuitive.

Rather than me writing these by myself, I decided to co-author the top counterintuitive trends in AI with ChatGPT. Each illustrates how AI is uniquely evolving and impacting various aspects of our lives and work.

  1. Big breakthroughs with small data

Contrary to the dominant narrative that AI thrives on Big Data, there is growing evidence of AI performing well with small datasets. This shift opens new possibilities previously constrained by data limitations, emphasizing the value of data quality over quantity.

  1. AI's ability to unlearn

The importance of AI’s ability to intentionally 'forget' or 'unlearn' data will be a crucial capability for maintaining privacy and adhering to ethical and productivity standards. This functionality will allow AI systems to adapt, correct biases and ensure data security.

  1. The gradual and then rapid transformation of human lives

The subtle, current influences of AI are precursors to a future where its impact is expected to be substantial. In the next decade, AI's role in daily life will be materially transformative and revolutionary in most aspects of life.

  1. Evolution of neural interfaces for AI

Innovation in the area of neural interfaces, bridging the human brain and AI, will be a significant leap forward for humanity. This technology is set to revolutionize communication, cognitive functions, transform medical practices and several other areas we have not even begun to imagine.

  1. AI on the edge: A shift from cloud to device

AI will move from centralized cloud-based systems to decentralized edge devices. This shift will enable faster real-time processing, improved privacy, greater operational independence and better economics, marking a significant advancement in AI architectures.

Jeetu Patel Jeetu Patel

  1. Robotics and Generative AI: The new frontier

The convergence of robotics with Generative AI is an emerging trend with transformative potential. This combination will lead to robots that not only perform tasks but also engage in creative problem-solving and innovative idea generation, potentially revolutionizing industries such as manufacturing, entertainment and customer service. Even further out, robotics will act as human companions to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.

  1. AI gets hyper-personalized as work gets hyper-distributed

Instead of standardizing work processes, AI will be used to customize work environments, schedules and tasks to individual workers’ preferences and productivity patterns. This trend of hyper-personalization will lead to a more adaptive, flexible and employee-centric work environment, using AI to enhance job satisfaction and efficiency as work moves to a far more hyper-distributed mode.

  1. AI's resource efficiency paradox

We will see a move toward more resource-efficient models, despite the current reliance on high-powered GPUs and vast energy resources. As concerns about the environmental impact of computing grow, there is an emerging focus on developing AI algorithms that are not only powerful but also energy-efficient and capable of running on lower-end hardware. This trend is leading to innovative approaches in AI development, such as optimizing algorithmic efficiency, leveraging more efficient hardware architectures and even exploring novel computing paradigms including quantum computing. AI will become more sustainable and accessible, reducing the barrier to entry and minimizing its carbon footprint.

  1. Decreased emphasis on traditional security skills and over-reliance on AI

The focus on AI could lead to a devaluation of traditional cybersecurity skills and an over-reliance of AI. Human judgement is still critical for understanding and mitigating risks that AI cannot fully address. This is a failure state that must be avoided. There will be areas where humans must be in the loop, and other areas where full automation will be acceptable.

THESE NINE counterintuitive trends in AI challenge our conventional understanding and present new possibilities for the future.

Hopefully they help us ponder a world where AI is not just a tool, but a transformative force reshaping how we live, work and interact. As these trends continue to evolve, they invite us to not only rethink our relationship with technology, but also with each other.

Jeetu Patel is executive vice president and general manager of security and collaboration at Webex by Cisco, a San Jose, California-based enterprise solution for video conferencing, webinars, and screen sharing. Reach him at