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Faction 2024 Predictions: Navigating the AI Wave


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2024.  Read them in this 16th annual series exclusive.

Navigating the AI Wave

By Matt Wallace, CTO of Faction, Inc

As we usher in 2024, a profound transformation is underway in the realm of AI and its impact on businesses and the world. Its rapid adoption is compelling organizations to modernize their data infrastructures, not merely as a trend but as an imperative for survival and growth.

At the forefront of this AI revolution is the Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) technique. This blend of retrieval techniques and generative models is akin to having a hyper-efficient librarian working with a creative writer. The combination is pivotal in producing coherent, context-rich AI applications. Enterprises are exploring use cases backed by this combination from content generation to customer service chatbots. The quality of RAG-powered apps hinges on clean data and robust embeddings. As AI enters more sophisticated territories, such as training custom models for the enterprise - something that looks increasingly powerful and cost-effective with technology like the recently released LORAX code and framework - the need for clean, organized data is growing.

For AI to thrive, especially in real-time interactions, clean data isn't just important - it's crucial. In a world where AI-driven tools like ChatGPT and Character.AI are becoming household names, businesses are racing to integrate similar AI capabilities into their workflows. However, real-time AI demands a data strategy that can manage fast-moving data streams effectively. The catch? This data must be pristine. Unfortunately, stale, dirty, or siloed data can severely handicap AI's potential.

The journey to a modern data infrastructure is laden with challenges. From distributed optimized inference to the complexities of data retrieval, businesses face an array of technical hurdles. Many technologists are convinced of the incredible potential of AI, racing to develop more sophisticated tools, and all of the familiar vendors of the enterprise landscape are staking a claim on why their AI tools will empower the enterprise.

This technological voyage is not without its share of risks-privacy concerns, security threats, skillset gaps, and costs loom large. Yet, the benefits, be it enhanced efficiency, innovative applications, or competitive edge, are too significant to ignore. We're in an age where progress is not just inevitable but also immensely beneficial. For many, AI has already proven to be a foundational pillar of the 4th industrial revolution. We aren't there, but you can see it from here.

One of the subtle yet crucial aspects for enterprises, particularly those with significant on-premises data, is the issue of data locality. Navigating this while tapping into the AI wave is akin to mastering the complexities of cloud computing. With a mountain of innovation in the AI space, enterprises face the daunting task of identifying where AI adds real value. This situation mirrors the early cloud era, where skill shortages led to the creation of dedicated cloud centers of excellence-a strategy that might become essential for AI adoption.

Enterprises were already on this journey - the battle over data lakes, data warehouses, and data lakehouses has been raging for years and shows no signs of slowing as adoption continues. The injection of GenAI into this raises the stakes, and some organizations, such as Databricks with their pricey acquisition of MosaicML, are proving they're ready to invest quickly and deeply to drive this innovation for their customers.

As we stand at this technological crossroads, it's clear that AI is not just a fleeting trend but a transformative force. For technologists, particularly those who share the responsibility for keeping the IT engines humming along, the challenge is twofold: embracing the wave of AI while ensuring the integrity, quality, and accessibility of their data. The journey is complex, but undeniably, it's an amazing time to be part of this tech evolution. The future beckons with promises of innovation and advancement, and it's up to us to navigate this wave skillfully.



Matt Wallace, CTO of Faction

Matt Wallace 

As Chief Technology Officer, Matt is responsible for product development, managed and professional services, and architecting Faction's cloud infrastructure offerings. Prior to Faction, Matt worked 20 years in technology roles at both startups and Fortune 500 companies, including leadership roles at Level 3 Communications, ViaWest, and Exodus Communications, among others.

Matt is the co-author of "Securing the Virtual Environment: How to Defend the Enterprise Against Attack", one of the first books to holistically address cloud security concerns. Matt attended the University of California at Santa Cruz and is an official member of the Forbes Technology Council.

Published Friday, December 01, 2023 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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