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Forrester’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies For 2024: As AI Dominates, Security Becomes Paramount

June 2024 by Brian Hopkins, VP, Emerging Tech Portfolio Forrester

Today, we published Forrester’s annual list of top emerging technologies for 2024. This year, the list still features the continued dominance of AI but also emphasizes the growing importance of security in our increasingly connected world. This year’s list also introduces several new technologies that are poised to reshape industries and user experiences.

From Generative To Agentic AI

A big change in this year’s list is the split of generative AI into two distinct categories: generative AI for language and generative AI for visual content. This division reflects the rapid advancement and diverging applications of these technologies.

Generative AI for language, which incorporates conversational AI, has become the foundation for a major interface shift comparable to the mobile revolution of 2008–2010. Natural language interaction is becoming the new standard for engaging with technology and information, promising to transform user experiences across industries.
Generative AI for visual content focuses on creating images and video from various input types, opening new possibilities for creative industries and personalized content creation.

The Rise Of AI Agents

The evolution of AI agents is perhaps the most exciting development reflected on this year’s list. Building upon last year’s concept of autonomous workplace assistants, AI agents are now leveraging advanced language models to perform complex tasks, make decisions, and interact autonomously on behalf of enterprises or individuals. This shift from purely generative AI to “agentic AI” promises more sophisticated and less brittle automation capabilities. It is also a major factor in the evolution of other important emerging technologies, including the following.
TuringBot agents are accelerating software development. TuringBots, which assist in the software development lifecycle, have seen dramatic acceleration thanks to a previous technology on the list, generative AI for language. Their potential value timeline has shortened from 5–10 years to just 1–2 years. Experimental tools like AutoGen are pushing the boundaries, potentially transforming the role of developers from coders to bot supervisors.
Edge intelligence will drive agents everywhere. Edge intelligence continues to evolve, now incorporating language models for natural language communication with devices. Apple’s announcement of Apple Intelligence models exemplifies this trend, embedding sophisticated AI capabilities directly into devices to enhance user experiences and automate tasks within the Apple ecosystem.
Autonomous mobility technology will get a boost from edge intelligence and agents. While fully autonomous consumer vehicles remain a distant goal, autonomous mobility technology is making significant strides in controlled environments. Agents deployed to vehicles and nearby edge environments will be a big factor. Applications in goods transportation, physical space management, and urban public transportation are expected to see substantial growth in the next 2–5 years.
Extended reality (XR) remains on our list, and agents will help XR eventually be the next big interface change. XR promises to add voice, gestures, and eye movements to natural language interfaces. While consumer adoption may take time, enterprise use cases like training and employee onboarding are expected to drive near-term progress.

The Future Belongs To Those Who Secure The Present

With the rapid advancement of AI and connected technologies, security has become more critical than ever as AI helps the black hats as much as the white ones. Three of our top 10 emerging technologies focus on security:

IoT security shows up on the list this year, as the proliferation of smart devices necessitates renewed focus on securing the expanding attack surface.
Zero Trust edge remains on the list this year. Zero Trust edge is a fusion of networking and security tools and managed as a cloud service, which will help secure remote environments using Zero Trust principles.
Quantum security is a newcomer to the top 10 list this year. Why? Despite quantum computers being years away from breaking current encryption, preparations for quantum-resistant algorithms and cryptographic agility are becoming essential.

The inclusion of these security technologies underscores a crucial point: The future belongs to those with the foresight and will to invest in security now. As AI capabilities expand, so do the potential vulnerabilities that malicious actors can exploit.
Want To Learn More?

To get an even deeper dive into the top 10 emerging technologies for 2024, check our upcoming webinars on July 10 in North America and EMEA and July 25 in the APAC region.

Forrester clients can attend a special presentation on July 12 and can always schedule time with an analyst to discuss their own emerging tech challenges and opportunities.

And be sure to check out the agenda for our upcoming Technology & Innovation Summits for keynote and breakout sessions diving into many of these technologies.

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