Tech Trends to Watch in 2023
January 19, 2023
What’s not on this list (crypto, the metaverse, Elon Musk) might surprise you.
Tired of reading about the drama at Twitter and the implosion of FTX? Me too. So, even though I’m pretty sure I’ll continue to read and hear about Elon’s latest antics and SBF’s perp walk for months to come, one of my new year’s resolutions is to focus more of my attention on the trends that will drive the agenda in 2023 and beyond. Here are the five areas I’ll be watching:
- Artificial Intelligence: More specifically, Generative AI. This is probably at the top of everyone’s list, given the recent headlines and how quickly this technology has gone mainstream, in large part thanks to OpenAI’s recent release of ChatGPT (for anyone looking for a primer on ChatGPT, I highly recommend listening to the December 9, 2022 episode of the Hard Fork podcast). The impact this relatively new technology (ChatGPT launched in late November 2022) has already had on education, the implications for search engines, and the potential power of GPT 4, which is scheduled to be released sometime in 2023, will certainly make AI a trend everyone will be following this year.
- CHIPS: If there’s one technology lesson we all learned in 2022, it’s that chips are an essential component of just about everything. Microprocessors, previously a topic reserved for technology publications, became mainstream news as production of everything from smartphones and TVs, to cars and appliances, was impacted due to a shortage of chips coming from China. That was the catalyst for the $280 billion CHIPS Act that aims to make the US more self-sufficient when it comes to technology. According to this helpful summary from McKinsey, the majority of the funding ($200 billion) is going towards jump-starting scientific research in areas like AI, nanotechnology and quantum computing. This kind of government funding will certainly lead to some real moonshots that will shape the technology landscape for years to come.
- Identity: I know I said I didn’t want to talk about Twitter, but all the chaos around Twitter Blue and fake Twitter accounts has led me to really think about how identity is managed on social media. And the answer is: it’s not. In his September 30, 2022 “No Mercy, No Malice” newsletter, Scott Galloway makes the case for why proof of identity should be required online. It’s controversial, but I think there’s something to his argument. I’ll be curious to see if any big moves are made in that direction, especially as people continue to look for new platforms in search of more authentic connections and civil discourse.
- Europe: Since 2018, with the enforcement of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU has been aggressive about tech legislation. Last year, the EU passed two new laws – the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act – aimed at curtailing some of Big Tech’s power while also creating a better, safer internet. The new laws won’t go into effect until 2024 and a lot needs to be worked out between now and then. This piece in the Wall Street Journal highlights some of the challenges that I will be interested in following.
- Sustainability Tech: The climate crisis is the existential issue of our time so it’s not surprising that VC funding in sustainability and climate tech has stayed strong in the second half of 2022 and is expected to increase in 2023, despite an otherwise lackluster funding environment. At the same time, governments around the world are subsidizing investments in technology initiatives aimed at curtailing greenhouse gas emissions. With our collective backs against the wall, the next few years will be a real test of the power of human ingenuity that we will all be watching.
That’s my list for 2023. Regardless of what you’ll be watching this year, I think we can all agree that the last few months have seen some unraveling in the tech industry that I’m sure will continue into 2023. But there is a lot to be optimistic about, as we (hopefully) learn from past mistakes.