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David Walker’s tech trends to watch in 2024

09:30am February 16 2024

Wearable technology is set to become more widely available to consumers in the year ahead. (Getty)

Australia can be a global leader in the responsible use of artificial intelligence, says Westpac’s Chief Technology Officer David Walker, with collaboration already well advanced across companies, governments and academia.

Westpac engineers are working with partners in the field of AI to create guardrails to help steer use of the technology, as well as collaborating with universities and the tech industry to develop new AI-driven tools. 

“All AI should be responsible,” Walker says in a podcast interview. “It’s about making sure that we're keeping everyone safe and that AI is used ethically and in the right way.” 

Walker expects a wide range of industries to continue to improve their processes by incorporating AI into their operations in the year ahead. Generative AI, with its ability to absorb huge amounts of source information to provide answers and solutions based on user prompts, will again be a major focus. 

The responsible adoption of generative AI could contribute as much as $115 billion a year to the Australian economy by 2030, according to a report by Microsoft and the Tech Council of Australia published in July, 2023. 

Generative AI surged into the public consciousness with the arrival of the large language model ChatGPT, but Walker says its utility extends well beyond that.

Most exciting to Walker is its ability to help software developers write code faster. Westpac now has over 800 engineers using generative AI tools following a successful experiment and it’s helping them to write 22 per cent more lines of code per day.

Walker expects 2024 will see a further evolution of “intelligent banking”, incorporating AI to enhance the customer experience with new products and services. “It's going to open up plenty more things for us to do over the longer term,” he says.

For example, Westpac’s banking app already includes budgeting tools which draw on the customer’s spending patterns to come up with potential areas for savings.  

Walker also shares his insights on cloud computing, wearable technology, and tackling the global climate crisis, in a wide-ranging conversation about the key trends in tech to watch out for in the year ahead. 

Here’s a brief overview of Walker’s top 10 tech predictions for 2024:

1. Generative AI to boost productivity

Companies in healthcare, manufacturing, retail and financial services will benefit most from generative AI improving the productivity of their processes.

2. Human-like technologies

From virtual reality to chatbots, companies will deploy more human-like technologies with the capability to understand and relate to better engage with customers and employees. 

3. AI for good

The best companies will continue to enhance their understanding of AI, keeping informed on the latest technologies to focus more on how AI can be beneficial, secure and useful. 

4. Hedging the cloud

Companies have been switching their computing into the cloud to enhance efficiency and safety, but this year we may see them reconsider their strategies. A hybrid cloud approach that can integrate with mainframe computing could add significantly more value. It’s a case of what is fit for purpose. 

5. Coding to evolve

Companies will look to embrace software engineers using AI coding assistants to help write more software and provide the proper tools and platforms to create a culture that attracts and works for developers. 

6. From screens to lenses

Spatial computing, including wearable technology such as eyeglasses, will become more widely available to consumers, allowing for more immersive experiences at the control of the user’s eyes, hands and voice. 

7. AI gets embedded everywhere

Companies that are already highly digitised will look to further embed AI into most of their systems. We will also see big tech include AI-assisted tools for coding and productivity benefits in their products. 

8. Chips are the new oil

Governments will target sectors such as auto makers and semiconductor manufacturers, with policies to help their chip development goals, while companies will compete to secure the use of chips in specialised AI. 

9. The importance of data

Companies will look to improve data literacy, increase data security and investigate new technologies to support flexible data products that can maximise quality, efficiency, agility and cost saving. 

10. Glimpses of climate optimism

Decarbonisation technologies will continue to evolve across many industries including transport, electricity, food and agriculture. 


James Thornhill was appointed as editor of Westpac Wire in May 2022. Prior to joining the bank, he was a business and financial journalist with more than two decades of experience with international newswires. Most recently, he was a resources correspondent for Bloomberg, covering the mining and energy sectors, and previously reported on a broad range of topics from economics and politics to currency and bond markets. Originally from the UK, he’s had stints working in London, New York and Singapore, but is now happily settled in Sydney.

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