The year 2022 has ridden high on the wave of the sweeping digital transformation accelerated by the pandemic. With more people than ever leveraging technology to stay connected both personally and professionally, pressure on the global economy to keep up with increasing needs has skyrocketed. The strides we witnessed in healthcare tech alone during the lockdown have galvanized further innovation—and 2023 should continue riding this wave of progress as well.
Let’s dive into four trends to look forward to as 2023 draws closer.
1. Artificial Intelligence
At first glance, it might seem like AI should make the cut for the top trend every single year. You are correct if this was one of the first thoughts that came to your mind—and for good reason.
AI carries a multitude of opportunities to transform and streamline industries across the board, from finance to education. Its ability to train, learn, analyze and create a large volume of output has great potential to replace much of the manual work humans must perform day-to-day, which prevents them from focusing on the larger picture, improving their skills beyond basic needs and dictating the broader direction and future of their industries.
In 2022, GPT-3 tools and the introduction of DALL-E were some of the most magical results of progress, with AI learning how to generate speech, text and visual imagery from simple queries. Some other areas of need for AI support that lean heavily on pattern recognition include digital and cybersecurity as well as fraud and identity prevention—the latter in response to the more sinister side of technological advancement, which has rendered threats and security concerns more serious than ever.
2. The Metaverse
When I mention the metaverse as a trend for 2023, by no means do I mean to imply we will be living in a fully digital reality next year. However, just as the internet revolutionized the web in the 1990s, the metaverse is also transforming the kind of connectivity we should be able to partake in moving forward.
We are, of course, in the early stages of what a digital reality means for us. Worlds with their own economy, transactions that happen as a result of digital interactions (think: NFTs and cryptocurrencies), peer-to-peer communication through niche communities (think: DAOs), and brand-to-consumer experiences (think: Balenciaga fashion shows or Nikeland on Roblox)—such advancements are not mere possibilities anymore, but realities we can experience. And 2023 should open up accessibility to and participation in such experiences to even more people.
3. Decentralized Finance
Building off of the point above, decentralized finance (or DeFi) has been largely driven by the rise of ownership and individual control over personal finances. NFTs are a large driver of this trend in their ability to render assets easily exchangeable.
NFTs have the capacity to completely change how we think about collecting digital memorabilia, investing and transactions at large. Highly innovative in their ability to allow shared or fractional ownership over a single asset, these have led to the development of wide communities (DAOs) built on authenticity around a shared asset. NFTs also possess the unique quality of being built on a foundation of scarcity, the condition making them so irreplaceable—or non-fungible—in nature.
4. Sustainability And Energy Reform
Climate change effects are becoming more and more apparent each day. More recently, due to the geopolitical tensions resulting from conflict in Ukraine, oil prices have increased significantly across the world. These factors, among others—including continuous oil spills which can destroy flora and fauna within miles of a polluted area—have galvanized a stronger push towards the adoption of sustainable energy resources as well as the gradual shift away from the traditional fossil fuel energy we’ve been depleting for so many years now.
As with the trends above, the shift to renewable energy will not happen overnight. Rather, my inclusion of this as a trend to observe is meant to highlight two truths. Firstly, we are closer than ever to shifting toward renewable energy thanks to the necessary technological advances being made. And secondly, the factors that drive the need for a shift are only going to become more pressing with every year.
Of course, the transition will be gradual and driven largely by numerous choices we all make every day, such as opting for electric vehicles or hybrids models, as well as larger steps that governments must take to ensure the consistent development and adoption of technologies that can effectively replace the natural oil and gas which have fueled our economy for centuries.
The Outlook In Tech For 2023
These are just a few of the key transitions we will continue to see moving forward into 2023. As such, they are likely to be the foundation for many of the larger cross-industry advancements we will witness in the new year and beyond.
All four of these trends are currently just in the process of wider adoption and will likely be precursors to the next generation of technology defining the overall direction of human technology. From enabling increased connectivity and automation to surfacing brand new ways of leveraging energy in our daily lives, these trends may just be the beginning of a larger series of changes impacting our day-to-day lives.
Originally published in Forbes