2024 Infrastructure Tech Predictions

Ganesh Srinivasan, partner at Venrock, co-authored this article.

2023 was a rollercoaster like none other; from the death of the modern data stack sprawl to the birth of generative AI, we are only at the beginning of a new era in the ‘art of the possible.’ We guarantee 2024 won’t be a disappointment.

With a new year approaching, it’s the perfect time for us to examine what we anticipate being the biggest developments in the year ahead. Here is what we think is going to happen in 2024:

1. OpenAI’s Reign Challenged

With the emerging learnings in core neural net architectures that led to the transformer and dominance by OpenAI, it is likely that their imminent release of GPT5 will be surpassed in specific performance benchmarks by a new entrant on the backs of more efficient architectures, improved multimodal capabilities, better contextual understanding of the world and enhanced transfer learning. These new models will be built on emerging research in spatial networks, graph structures and combinations of various neural networks that will lead to more efficient, versatile and powerful capabilities.

2. Apple: The New Leader in Generative AI

One of the most important players in the generative AI space is only starting to show their cards. 2024 will be the year Apple launches its first set of generative AI capabilities, unlocking the true potential of an AI-on-the-edge, closed architecture with full access to your personal data – showing that Apple is actually the most important company in the generative AI race.

3. Building for Client-First

The last decade has reflected a shift away from fat clients to server-side rendering and compute. But the world is changing back to the client. Mobile-first experiences will be required to work in offline mode. Real-time experiences require ultra-low latency transactions. Running LLMs will increasingly be required to run on the device to increase performance and reduce costs.

4. Death of Data Infrastructure Sprawl

The rapid growth of the data infrastructure needs of enterprises has led to an increasing sprawl of point solutions, from data catalogs, data governance, reverse extract, transform, load, and airflow alternatives to vector databases and yet another lakehouse. The pendulum will swing back to unified platforms and fewer silos to bring down the total cost of ownership and operating overhead going into 2024.

5. Approaching the AI Winter

Generative AI in 2023 could be best characterized as the ‘art of the possible,’ with 2024 being the true test to see if prototypes convert into production use cases. With the peak of the hype cycle likely here, 2024 will experience the stage of disillusionment where enterprises discover where generative AI can create margin-positive impact and where the costs outweigh the benefits.

6. The Misinformation Threat

While image and video diffusion models have unlocked a new era for digital creation and artistic expression, there’s no doubt that its dark side has not yet taken its toll. With a presidential election in the wings, diffusion models as a machine for political disinformation will emerge to become the next major disinformation weapon of choice.

7. AI’s Real-World Breakthrough

Coming out of the ‘field of dreams’ era for AI, 2024 will represent a breakthrough for commercial use cases in AI, particularly in the physical world. Using AI for physical world modalities will unlock our ability to change and engage with the machines and devices around us, from understanding machine telemetry for problem detection to distilling insights across thousands of real-time sensor feeds.

8. S3: The Growing Threat to Snowflake

AWS S3 is about to become the biggest competitor to Snowflake. With a rapidly growing ecosystem of tools emerging as the compute layers on top of S3 leverage their ultra-low costs, high availability, Availability Zone support, and new single-digit millisecond latency service, everyone’s ‘Snowflake cost problem’ is about to have a new set of attractive alternatives.

9. The Rise of Flink and Operational Analytics

If business analytics drove the first wave of the data infrastructure evolution, operational analytics will drive the next wave, with Apache Flink at the center of it. Enterprises will begin en masse adopting real-time and streaming capabilities to begin using data to drive operational decision making. This will create new value in areas such as logistics, financial transactions, inventory management and fraud detection.

10. The Developer AI Stack

Going into 2024, AI’s most significant impact in the digital world will be unlocking developer productivity. From code generation to debugging to build management, AI will unlock a new level of developer productivity that we haven’t seen since the advent of the cloud.

If you agree, disagree or would like to share your own 2024 predictions with us, please reach out on X at @ethanjb and @gan3sh.