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HubSpot Perspectives: 5 Important Predictions for Artificial Intelligence in Southeast Asia


Artificial intelligence (AI) has captivated the world’s attention in under a year, fuelling conversations about shifting data privacy concerns and job dynamics, and even raising apprehensions about an “AI apocalypse” where robots take control.

While many experts have expressed concerns around rapid AI advances, reality has demonstrated that the technology holds significant potential to benefit businesses and society at large. If implemented responsibly with the necessary guardrails in place, AI can vastly augment human capability, raising productivity, and efficiency, and enabling us to achieve outcomes that were once considered extremely challenging.

“AI will change the DNA of society. The most successful organisations will be those that implement the necessary infrastructure and processes to embrace and evolve with it, empowering them to enjoy the full potential of AI solutions,” said Nadia Alramli, Vice President of Engineering at HubSpot, about AI.

With its significant transformational potential, it is no wonder that digital-first economies across Southeast Asia, such as Singapore, are investing heavily in the research and development of AI. However, it is just as important that any AI-related advancements acknowledge the need for new regulation and reskilling of workforces; business leaders and governments must advocate for the benefits of AI whilst being mindful of ethical and practical limitations.”Artificial Intelligence is among us.

Reaffirming the growth potential of AI in Southeast Asia, a Dataiku report forecasts spending on AI solutions among companies in the region to reach USD $646 million in 2026. In light of this, Nadia has shared her top predictions for what to expect from artificial AI in 2024:

Artificial Intelligence is developing new senses.

The ability of AI to augment human capabilities has been impressive. However, the latest breakthroughs in generative AI have pushed the boundaries even further. Today, generative AI solutions can not only read, analyse, and develop content, but also contextually understand its surroundings. While imperfections remain, advancements are swiftly moving in a positive direction.

In this rapidly evolving landscape, we envision a future where generative AI will become ingrained into social and professional settings, serving as a personal assistant in our pockets. This tireless companion can provide feedback instantly, ensuring users remain in control with data-driven insights, every step of the way.

It is already among us.

The adoption ship for AI in marketing has already sailed. Next, we will witness advancements in higher-stakes worlds—from medical imagery to culinary applications, capable of everything short of cooking and tasting.

The next step lies beyond automation such as data processing—AI will also be able to provide creative input and we will see exciting approaches to problem-solving, ones that lead to innovative ways of working. The future of search will fundamentally change, and websites will be built with AI in mind and not SEO.

Businesses must understand ways to leverage and embrace AI. If they do not figure out how to augment work with it, someone else will. It is all about smarter ways of working. Aligning with global developments, we’re seeing a growing trend towards AI-related roles in Southeast Asia. LinkedIn data found that job roles in the region mentioning AI or generative AI have doubled over the last two years.

If the ‘good guys’ ignore AI, it will only be used nefariously.

The flip side of exciting AI developments is the potential for danger. Bad actors and the dark web will be using AI too. We are now living in a world where artists are worried about the threat AI poses, authors fear being replaced, and workplace disruption is top of the agenda.

Therefore, we need to catch up. The adage data is power still holds true and AI will not be our capable, trusted, and efficient assistant if the structures that underpin it are not robust. AI learns, iterates, and grows at the hands of the humans that operate it, not the other way around.

Long-term success will require educated experts such as AI implementation experts at the helm who can guide AI development and adoption, as well as the use of AI tools with strengthened fact-checking capabilities.

Steps for businesses in 2024—take the leap.

These tools are not just limited to big tech but are now accessible to companies of all sizes and industries. To enhance their competitive edge, businesses will need to identify and develop relevant use cases to improve productivity and business outcomes.

This trend is already underway among organisations in digital-first economies such as Singapore. A HubSpot survey revealed that three in five (61%) marketers and sales professionals in Singapore say their organisation has invested in generative AI tools, while nearly half (46%) have plans to continue investing in the technology.

Those who can take the leap will be in the strongest position when AI becomes mainstream. Finally, don’t hoard knowledge – pooling ideas and applications is the best way to move forward safely.

Regulators, mount up!

Artificial Intelligence is moving so fast that businesses may rightly feel they need to regain some control. It’s why the final piece of the puzzle is regulation.

It may be a practical approach where like-minded peers are invited into businesses and government to learn from one another; however, equally important is inviting employees to share their experiences because no one knows an organisation better than those who run it day-to-day.

Effective regulation is simply a vital cog in ensuring AI benefits the many, not the few. Only with proactive governance, continuous learning, and an ethical mindset can we work towards ensuring the algorithms and AI systems are reliable, accurate, and free from bias.

Governments are taking an active role to drive regulation, with Southeast Asian economies having developed policies and regulations to guide responsible AI adoption. For instance, Singapore’s AI Verify Foundation, a public-private initiative aimed at shaping responsible use of AI, recently proposed a governance framework for generative AI.

This is an important milestone aimed at promoting transparency and accountability in AI development, ensuring that AI systems are fair, unbiased, and safe as Singapore works towards realising its vision of becoming a global AI hub.