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The defining tech trend of 2024 – top tech leaders weigh in

Patrick Buncsi22 April 2024
AI tech council of australia survey top technology trends 2024

More than two-thirds of Australia’s top tech leaders rate artificial intelligence (AI) as the defining technology trend of 2024, according to new research by Australia’s peak tech authority; however, ‘deep tech’ dark horses may take the spotlight away from AI this year.

The research, conducted by the Tech Council of Australia (TCA) and Australian ICT company Datacom and surveying top local tech leaders, found that while AI stands as the defining tech trend, particularly as Generative AI becomes embedded in corporate technology systems, a significant proportion also rated emerging quantum and space technologies highly.

Nearly one in six surveyed tech leaders believe these ‘deep technologies’ could overtake AI as the defining tech trend this year.

“While AI is absolutely front of mind, the results show that emerging technologies in lesser-known areas of the tech sector may become dark horse trends this year,” said Ryan Black, acting chief executive of the TCA.

Nevertheless, AI remains in the driver’s seat. Black urged Australia to foster the “right environment to capture the huge economic and productivity benefits” of AI technologies, with opportunities not only to improve business productivity and quality, but also to devise new products and services.

“Generative AI alone has the potential to add up to $115 billion to the Australian economy annually by 2030,” he said.

He urged for greater regulatory certainty and a clear national plan for growing Australia’s AI capabilities, with the “2024 federal budget [providing] an opportunity to continue this important work”.

Overwhelmingly, upwards of 61% of respondents said the number one change that would positively impact tech sector growth in 2024 would be to introduce tech adoption or investment incentives, including incentives for adoption across the public and private sectors.

Australia, however, despite tech leaders recognising its “great local talent”, remains a small market with limited opportunities for growth, survey respondents said.

“That means international expansion is key to success for many Australia-founded tech companies and has resulted in a strong international reputation,” the report read.

Indeed, 50% of respondents identified overseas growth as their top priority.

Nevertheless, nearly two-thirds (67%) of surveyed tech leaders see Australia as distinct, with a special set of strengths and weaknesses compared to Silicon Valley and other technology hubs.

“Many leaders see Australian tech companies and workers as distinctly placed to weather these challenges with an international reputation for operational excellence and global thinking driven by starting in a small local market,” the TCA report wrote.

Cybersec takes precedence as new threats emerge

Cybersecurity was the second most cited trend in the TCA/Datacom report, which, according to the pair, “[reflect] the increasing incidence of prominence of cyber threats experienced in 2023.”

Datacom Australia managing director Alexandra Coates stressed the criticality of an improved cyber posture, with high-profile cyberattacks becoming existential threats to many businesses.

“Advances in deep-tech areas like quantum technology and space are on the horizon, but as technology progresses, cybersecurity threats will continue to affect businesses, and therefore, a stronger emphasis on data protection solutions, such as zero-trust architecture and security, will be a priority for our country’s top tech leaders,” Coates said.

She added: “Major cyberattacks and data breaches in recent years have demonstrated the urgent need to uplift cyber resilience.

“This will require sustained and ongoing action by governments, businesses and the broader community.”


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