Skip to Content
Artificial intelligence

AI for everything: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT reached mass adoption in record time, and reset the course of an entire industry.

a 1950s style woman sitting at the breakfast table with a cell phone beaming red and a box of cereal that claims with similar red rays to now contain AI.
Jennifer Dionisio


Google, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI



When OpenAI launched a free web app called ChatGPT in November 2022, nobody knew what was coming. But that low-key release changed everything.

By January, ChatGPT had become the fastest-growing web app ever, offering anyone with a browser access to one of the most powerful neural networks ever built. We were dazzled and disturbed.  

And that was only the start. In February, Microsoft and Google revealed rival plans to combine chatbots with search—plans that reimagined our daily interactions with the internet.  

Early demos weren’t great. Microsoft’s Bing Chat went off the rails, quick to churn out nonsense. Google’s Bard was caught making a factual error in its promo pitch. But the genie wasn’t going back in its bottle, no matter how weird it was. 

Microsoft and Google have since moved beyond search to put chatbot-based assistants into the hands of billions of people via their office software. The tech promises to summarize emails and meetings; draft reports and replies; generate whole slide decks—titles, bullet points, and pictures—in seconds.

Microsoft and Meta released image-making models that let users generate shareable images of anything with a click. Cue a nonstop stream of zany mash-ups—and dozens of posts about Mickey Mouse and SpongeBob SquarePants flying a plane into the Twin Towers.

Google’s new phones now use AI to let you edit photos to a degree never seen before, exchanging sad faces for happy ones and overcast afternoons for perfect sunsets.

Never has such radical new technology gone from experimental prototype to consumer product so fast and at such scale. What’s clear is that we haven’t even begun to make sense of it all, let alone reckon with its impact.

Is the shine coming off? Maybe. With each release, the astonishing becomes more mundane. But 2023’s legacy is clear: billions have now looked AI in the face. Now we need to figure out exactly what’s looking back. 

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

Large language models can do jaw-dropping things. But nobody knows exactly why.

And that's a problem. Figuring it out is one of the biggest scientific puzzles of our time and a crucial step towards controlling more powerful future models.

OpenAI teases an amazing new generative video model called Sora

The firm is sharing Sora with a small group of safety testers but the rest of us will have to wait to learn more.

Google’s Gemini is now in everything. Here’s how you can try it out.

Gmail, Docs, and more will now come with Gemini baked in. But Europeans will have to wait before they can download the app.

Providing the right products at the right time with machine learning

Amid shifting customer needs, CPG enterprises look to machine learning to bolster their data strategy, says global head of MLOps and platforms at Kraft Heinz Company, Jorge Balestra.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.