5 Ways Tech Will Reshape Culture in 2024

This year, the Asia-Pacific region will undergo a cultural transformation shaped by technological advancements. Several key trends, including advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and 6G, are influencing the landscape and reshaping how businesses operate, communicate and address societal concerns. 

Historically, tech and tech-related companies have been at the forefront of advancing Asia-Pacific socially. According to a region-focused report published in 2022 by the International Labour Organization, roughly 9.4 million people work in IT, an almost two-fold increase from 2011. Meanwhile, the digital economy in Southeast Asia is set to deliver US$100 billion in revenue. In Singapore, where I’m based, tech contributed 17.3% to economic growth, creating more than 200,000 jobs in 2022. In short, the value of the technology industry to Asia-Pacific cannot be overstated.

Alongside input from WE tech leaders across Asia-Pacific, I zero in on key developments set to influence culture this year:

1. All AI, all the time

We’ll look back at 2023 as the year that generative AI changed the social and business landscape. After its stunning debut in December 2022, ChatGPT was suddenly all everyone could talk about. This large language model-based chatbot is now used by 100 million people every week. In fact, our WE Communications Brands in Motion research revealed that “companies can no longer opt out of [talking about] AI” and must approach it as a core part of their overall business narrative to preserve corporate reputations.

Large language models, the type of AI that drives ChatGPT, are transforming how businesses work. The same Brands in Motion report found that 87% of respondents believe proficiency in AI-driven communications, such as crafting effective AI prompts and queries, to be increasingly important. And no wonder: companies proficient in AI can enhance stakeholder engagement, deliver interactive content and contribute to creative storytelling, while making data-defensible decisions.

Martin XuMartin Xu, Head of Technology, WE Red Bridge
In 2024, the impact of Artificial Intelligence Generated Content (AIGC) will continue to make itself felt. We will see it influence everything from autonomous cars and medical diagnostics to personalized marketing and smart home systems. Machine learning and deep learning will also drive advances in natural language processing, making AIGC more conversational and intuitive.

2. Every company is now a cybersecurity company — or soon will be

As the effects of generative AI ripple across society, it has also increased the sophistication of scams targeting the most vulnerable. One example is the rise of “synthetic fraud,” where a criminal combines real data, scraped from the internet with the help of AI, with manufactured identities to game security systems. And the Asia-Pacific region is the most at-risk: according to a report published by Check Point, it experienced the most significant year-over-year increase in average weekly attacks per organization, reaching an average of 1,835 attacks per organization. Companies need to step up their verification requirements and adapt cybersecurity strategies on the fly, while educating consumers about their cybersecurity measures and risks.

More people have access to a bank account in Asia-Pacific than ever before, which underscores the need for a healthy and resilient financial system. Banks across the region are embracing new technologies such as cloud banking, but a manpower crunch means that many are struggling to manage data privacy. Earlier this year, two major banks in Singapore went offline due to technical failure, showing the vulnerability of critical infrastructure and highlights the need for stronger, more secure digital payment systems.

Prabakaran Balasubramanian, Head of Technology, Avian WE<
In India, recent statistics published by the National Crime Records Bureau revealed a concerning 24% surge in cybercrime in 2022 compared to the previous year. This underscores the need for a comprehensive approach that combines robust regulation with education and awareness campaigns to empower individuals across generations in navigating the ever-evolving digital realm safely. And yes: even digital natives, such as Gen Z, are susceptible to cybercriminals.

3. Making the leap to 6G

The next generation of connectivity might be right around the corner. In Japan, NEC is collaborating with NTT DOCOMO and NTT on 6G experimental trials. Beyond mobile services, 6G networks are natural extensions of the metaverse, using AR and VR technology to make the digital and physical world indistinguishable. It’ll create more immersive, gamified, and personalized entertainment experiences, better and faster medical diagnoses, and provide new ways for governments to engage with their citizens. More needs to be done to bridge the digital divide and for consumers to understand the role that 6G will play in their lives.

4. The power of the qubit

Ayla Fitzgibbon, Head of Technology, Australia
The potential of quantum computing is huge as it represents a significant change in computational capabilities. The ability to process vast amounts of information will revolutionize many industries, including healthcare and the public sector. Although some may argue that we are years away from quantum computing due to the need to maintain qubit stability and minimize errors, it is important to consider the ethical and security challenges that this transformational impact will bring. A report by research and advisory company Forrester predicts that at least 10% of enterprises will publish post-quantum security plans in 2024.

5. Sustainable tech is transforming the world

Martin Xu, Head of Technology, WE Red BridgeMartin Xu
Sustainable development and green technology are key factors in shaping a better future. Not only do they help to reduce environmental impact, but they also generate new business and job opportunities. Our latest Brands in Motion survey, “ESG Means Business in China,” found that B2B companies that prioritize sustainability initiatives have a business edge. In fact, 35% of companies surveyed identified “developing sustainability credentials and metrics” as a leading priority for the next three to five years.

 

In conclusion, the dynamic interplay between tech and culture in the Asia-Pacific region is fostering innovation, transforming communication strategies and addressing societal concerns. As businesses adapt to these technological shifts, they are not only shaping the future of the region but also contributing to a more connected, informed and secure digital landscape.

 

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January 25, 2024

Sara Pereira
APAC Regional Head of Tech & Business