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AI on the prize: Our top gen AI and enterprise tech stories for 2023

December 26, 2023
Matt A.V. Chaban

Senior Editor, Transform

Execs and orgs cared about pretty much one thing this year, if our most popular articles are any indication.

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Got AI?

We don't mean to be hyperbolic, but after the year we've had, it's kind of hard not to.

There are likely to be bigger AI breakthroughs in the years ahead than those we saw in 2023, but we may never see another turning point for tech like we did this spring. The widespread arrival of gen AI seems poised to utterly remake many things across the enterprise, and indeed the world, and we've just been grateful to have had a front row seat (if also many long nights) working on the stories you'll find below.

These features, explainers, and interviews show just how eagerly executives and frontline workers were considering the best uses and practices for this emerging technology, as many of our top stories dealt with picking use cases and business applications and developing the skills and mindset shifts required to execute — while also making sure your AI was secure.

We also had our fair share of fun, though, whether that was trying to use AI foundation models to “talk” to animals, celebrating 50 years of the Internet with Vint Cerf, taking a deep dive into the effort to stop Internet censorship, or going inside a decommissioned on-prem data center.

As things finally slow down a little for the holidays, we hope you can find some time to enjoy these stories, which we’ve split into two groups: the most popular with readers and our editor’s favorites. We’ll see you in January for what will no doubt be another year full of AI excitement and tech pyrotechnics.

Top stories for 2023:

  1. Are you fluent in prompts and embeddings? A generative AI primer for busy executives. As a new form of technology emerged at warp speed, it brought with it a whole new set of terms and concept that readers were clearly eager to learn.
  2. The Prompt: Choosing generative AI use cases. Our second edition of the Prompt column remained our most popular throughout the year, as organizations sought to understand the best ways to put AI into action meaningfully.
  3. Prompt engineering and you: How to prepare for the work of the future. As more workers sought the skills to make the most of gen AI, through better prompt engineering, leaders were also looking for ways to support workers on this journey.
  4. The Prompt: Debunking five generative AI misconceptions. The first edition of the Prompt looked at some early misconceptions about gen AI — most of which seemed to have passed by year’s end.
  5. Squawk bots: Can generative AI lead us to understanding animals? A far-out example of just how advanced large language models could get — helping us understand whales and bats, possibly?
  6. Trapped in a frame: Why leaders should avoid security framework traps. Like the overabundance of sidewalk scaffolds in New York, security frameworks can quickly proliferate across an organization, creating a false sense of security.
  7. KPIs for gen AI: Why measuring your new AI is essential to its success. Measuring the effectiveness of AI investments is essential, because they’re so new that ROI may not be obvious. But how to figure out those KPIs for something so new? Glad you asked.
  8. The Prompt: Generative AI industry trends. Another early look at potential applications for gen AI, this one broken down by sector. By year’s end, many of these are out in the field.
  9. Vint Cerf on 50 years of the Internet: "We still have a lot of work to do." One of the “fathers of the Internet,” Cerf reflects on five decades of progress — and what’s next. One of the few non-AI stories on this list, yet would any of it be possible without him?
  10. What 5 AI unicorns think is the NEXT big thing. As we kicked off our annual Next conference, some of the leading gen AI startups shared their predictions for where the new technology is headed.

Editors picks:

  1. How leaders can reduce risk by shutting down security theater. Too often security practices can be for show as much as real protection. Here’s advice on how to draw the curtains on empty security practices.
  2. Where does a data center go to retire? Wayfair's 2,000 servers are going off to colleges. When Wayfair moved its business fully to Google Cloud in 2022, we got to go inside its old Boston-based data center and watch as it threw the switch for good.
  3. Spotlighting ‘shadow AI’: How to protect against risky AI practices. The swift and enthusiastic rise of gen AI has meant many workers are using unsanctioned tools and practices. We’ve got tips on how to stop and secure these rogue practices.
  4. The Prompt: Takeaways from hundreds of conversations about generative AI — part 1. It felt like we talked to almost everyone in enterprise tech about AI this year, which gave us more than a few insights into what they’re looking for.
  5. Seeking green: How focusing on sustainability can build financial resilience. As business and the world are more prone to instability, building sustainability across your enterprise can also help weather any storms.
  6. Threat trends, defender partnerships: DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas talks cybersecurity with Kevin Mandia. The CEO of our threat intelligence group, Mandiant, interviewed the head of U.S. Homeland Security about his optimism for AI, security partnership, and technology generally.
  7. Why you shouldn't fear a "sink or swim" cloud adoption (it beats these four alternatives). Lessons from “The Life of Pi” and how the best cloud migration is the one without compromise.
  8. The Prompt: Insights from our AI Red Team’s first report (Q&A). One of the best ways to ensure the efficacy of AI is to poke and prod it with a red team, just as you would any other security vulnerabilities.
  9. Can a dialysis clinic lead the way in reinventing healthcare? Enter DaVita’s Center Without Walls. One of the leading kidney health providers is moving most of its records and operations to the cloud — showcasing the aspirational potential for electronic health records to make healthcare more transparent and effective.
  10. The future of industries: What's happening now and next in financial services. We interview the CEO of Symphony, a popular messaging platform for the finance sector, on the many ways AI is already reshaping the industry.

Opening image created with Midjourney, running on Google Cloud, using the prompt: "A tie-dye view of firworks and shooting stars over a city."

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