Technological progress can generate shared prosperity and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. At the same time, its exponential growth threatens to overwhelm current institutions, leaving us vulnerable to uncontrollable threats. This threat is exacerbated by geopolitical conflicts, increased polarization, and a future climate disaster.
Leaders must act quickly to grab the potential to drive technology toward constructive purposes. Here are five developments to watch out for in the next year of 2023.
#1 Green Tech has made its way to the stage of technological transformation, but this year, it will take an even stronger role.
Due to technological advancements during the last decade, the cost of solar and wind power has dropped dramatically, making renewables cheaper than fossil fuels. According to some calculations, shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy will save economies $12 trillion by 2050.
In 2023, governments and business leaders will prioritize growing existing green technology and developing new ones. The aim of limiting global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels appears increasingly out of reach, as do the catastrophic scenarios that were still considered plausible a few years ago.
Green hydrogen, a new clean-burning source of energy that allows energy from renewables to be captured and transported long distances – from regions with abundant wind or solar energy resources to energy-hungry areas thousands of kilometers away – is one of the most promising technologies we can expect to see progress in.
Following the recent proof of concept that it can create more energy than is necessary to launch the fusion process, nuclear fusion is another green technology to keep an eye on in 2023. Although we are still years away from producing energy on a large scale, these recent findings are expected to stimulate greater study into the technology, bringing us closer to a future in which nuclear fusion might supply near-limitless, safe, and clean energy.
#2 Gene Editing might sound like a futuristic solution. Guess what – in 2023 it is going mainstream.
Until recently, CRISPR-Cas9, the gene-editing technique that earned its creators the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020, was mostly used as a research tool to study the relevance of certain genes and create novel medications. Since the first gene-editing therapy was administered three years ago, the technology has been utilized to cure congenital blindness, heart disease, and sickle cell disease, among other conditions. While the major use cases are illnesses caused by a single gene mutation, preliminary research shows that CRISPR might potentially be used to cure ailments such as Alzheimer’s and chronic pain.
Gene editing is expected to expand in medicine and other areas by 2023, fueling a multibillion-dollar business but raising severe ethical problems.
#3 Hyper-connectivity and cyber-resilience have always been hot topics in the highly digitalized world. What’s next?
Economic and geopolitical forces are driving globalization back and fragmenting cyberspace alongside rival political blocs. However, the structural forces of technological advancement are pushing towards greater connectedness rather than less. The Internet of Things (IoT) will link 15 billion devices in the following year, with this figure predicted to quadruple by 2030. The rapid growth of 5G coverage in 2023 will be a major driver of this trend, allowing gadgets to connect quicker and perform better overall.
Our reliance on linked gadgets and infrastructures is increasing at an exponential rate, as are the possibilities of accidental or malicious collapse. Governments and authorities are likely to increase their efforts to guarantee that connected devices meet the most recent cybersecurity requirements. The European Union is forging forward with its planned EU Cyber-resilience Act, and the Biden administration is establishing a cybersecurity labeling grading scheme for IoT devices.
#4 Is there going to be a huge leap for R&D?
Quantum computing, which harnesses subatomic particles to produce new ways of processing and storing information, is expected to be the computer technology of the future. With the potential of running orders of magnitude quicker than today’s greatest computers, quantum technology will aid in the resolution of complicated issues in a fraction of the time.
Although quantum technology is still in its infancy, massive government and industry investment suggests that we will witness tremendous advances in hardware and software in the next year, as well as the introduction of quantum devices. Simultaneously, industry and government leaders will increase their efforts to identify and minimize the hazards that technology brings, ranging from crippling current cryptography to the change of warfare.
#5 Artificial Intelligence will spread around everyone and everything.
The last year of 2022 sparked a new discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of artificial intelligence (AI). With AI expenditure expected to top $500 billion by 2023, adaptive, and generative AI will grow rapidly.
Adaptive AI can continually retrain its models to learn and adapt based on new experiences, eliminating the need for engineers to construct it, and resulting in quicker and better results. To produce anything new, generative AI employs neural network models. Recent text-to-image and text-to-video generator releases are tempting to consumers, but they also pose serious issues about the propagation of misinformation, hazardous material, copyright rights, and algorithmic biases. Over the next year, regulators and online watchdogs will investigate this.
All in all, this should not make us fearful of technical advancement, but rather humble and aware that progress is hard-earned and readily lost. The major task of our time is to accelerate the technological transformation and roll out innovative technologies on a large scale to address the world’s most urgent concerns. If we rise to the challenge, we will be rewarded with more wealthy and resilient economies and societies.