The Top 5 Tech Trends of 2023

From the explosion of AI chatbots to the decline of certain social media platforms, this past year has been a wild ride in the world of tech. Without further ado, here are my top five tech trends of 2023:

5. Growing Interest in Electric Vehicles

Back in 2022, California became the first state in the nation to ban the sale of new gas-engine vehicles by 2035 – and other states intend to follow in its footsteps. The U.S. Department of Transportation also set landmark fuel economy standards requiring an industry-wide fleet average of 49 miles per gallon by model year 2026. That’s 33% more miles per gallon than 2021 vehicles!

Automakers have seen the writing on the wall. The future is electric, and they’re all vying for their share of the market.

Consumer interest continues to grow, as well. A survey done in June 2023 found that 63% of consumers are considering an EV, up from 57% in 2021. In fact, a record one million fully electric vehicles were purchased by Americans in 2023.

So what’s happening? A nearly 20% drop in average EV prices this year – led by Tesla – is driving industry-wide price moderation. Plus, by the second half of this year, there were 40% more EV models available for sale in the U.S. compared to 2022. With growing inventory and availability, EV prices are bound to continue moving toward the overall auto industry average, making electric vehicles an increasingly attractive option.

Ford and GM have also recently announced that they’re partnering with Tesla to use Tesla’s proprietary charging plug design as well as its vast network of Supercharging stations nationwide. Since fear about charging station availability is one of the biggest obstacles to EV adoption, this is great news for consumers as the automotive landscape continues to shift away from fossil fuels!

4. Quantum Computing Advancements

This summer marked a huge leap forward in quantum computing when one of IBM’s quantum systems outperformed a conventional supercomputer in solving a complex physics problem. What scientists were able to do is manage the inherent unreliability that’s been a persistent issue with quantum processors thus far.

Could this be what eventually ushers in the age of quantum supremacy? That remains to be seen, but we’re off to the races for sure…

For starters, the U.S. House of Representatives recently introduced a bipartisan bill for a $3.6 billion reauthorization of the National Quantum Initiative Act. Major players in the tech space like Google and Baidu are investing heavily in quantum as well, and there’s a growing ecosystem of startups hoping to be among the first to drive new quantum applications as the technology breaks new ground.

IBM made more headlines earlier this month with its new Condor processor consisting of 1,121 superconducting qubits – the largest transmon-based quantum chip ever released. But there’s also a new player in town: a Pentagon-funded, Harvard-led project whose experimental quantum computer is potentially four times as powerful as IBM’s Condor, using laser beams to manipulate individual atoms to boost efficiency and reduce errors.

Based on the breakthroughs in 2023, the future of quantum computing just in the next several years alone looks pretty bright indeed. We’re about to enter the quantum “era of utility,” and I for one am excited to see what comes next!

3. Online Platform Decay 

Have you been on Amazon lately? Searching for a product these days brings up pages and pages of sponsored listings and brand names like FCXJTU and RECUTMS (yes, for real!). Your Facebook news feed – if you even still go on Facebook – is probably cluttered with ads and “suggested posts” instead of ones you really want to see. And Twitter (I mean X, but let’s be real, it’ll always be Twitter) has become somewhat of a dumpster fire in recent months.

This slow and seemingly inevitable decline of online platforms has a punchy new term thanks to tech critic Cory Doctorow: enshittification. He described the process in an essay published earlier this year: “First, [platforms] are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves.”

The concept of enshittification quickly joined the lexicon this year. We’ve all witnessed it, after all. It’s happened to Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, even TikTok lately, as Doctorow outlined.

Reddit joined the trend this summer by revamping its privacy policy and forcing users to accept targeted advertising. It also abruptly began charging for API access, which led to virtually every third-party Reddit app shutting down. The move was criticized by some, with speculation that it was motivated by pressure to increase revenue as well as to compel users to switch to the official Reddit app ahead of the company’s long-awaited IPO. Enshittification in action.

But another motive cited by Reddit CEO Steve Huffman was to stop giving away the site’s data to companies that are using its vast cache of person-to-person conversations to train giant AI systems.

Which brings us to the next item on our list…

2. AI-Powered Image Generation

Artificial intelligence was unquestionably the dominant tech trend of 2023. AI now permeates every aspect of our lives in so many ways, it’s hard to grasp its true reach.

The most meaningful AI advancements of the past year may perhaps have happened in research labs, where major strides were made in areas like healthcare (e.g. diagnostics and drug discovery) and climate change modeling and mitigation. But for the average observer, one of the more visible and futuristic trends of the year was the new capabilities in AI-powered image and video generation.

Language model-powered text-to-image tools like Midjourney, DALL-E, and Stable Diffusion exploded in popularity in 2023. Natural language prompts can now generate increasingly complex and realistic images in a vast array of styles. A picture of the ocean as if painted by Vincent van Gogh? Sure. Darth Vader ice fishing? Absolutely.

One artist created a photorealistic image of two women using an AI image generator and submitted it to the Sony World Photography Awards earlier this year – and won in the creative category! The technology is just that good.

It’s not only text-to-image generation, either. It’s image-to-image translation, image interpolation (filling in and extending the missing parts of an image), and video generation, too. The applications and implications are incredibly broad. If you haven’t seen the 24/7 live Twitch stream of an AI Trump debating an AI Biden, you may want to check it out for a laugh… and also a sobering glimpse into what the future could hold.

There’s another generative AI tool that took the world by storm this year, however.

1. The Rise of AI Chatbots

The breakout star of 2023 was, of course, OpenAI’s ChatGPT. If you feel like you blinked and suddenly everyone was talking about it, you’re not far off the mark. It had the fastest-growing userbase of any consumer application in history: 100 million active monthly users within two months of launch.

GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, a deep learning technology that employs artificial neural networks for natural language processing. As a generative AI chatbot, ChatGPT lets you refine and steer a conversation toward whatever goal you have in mind. For example, it can help you write screenplays, compose music, figure out your child’s math homework, analyze complex graphs, decide what to make for dinner based on a photo of your fridge contents, and much, much more.

The possibilities are honestly pretty mind-blowing. And all of this has been unleashed on the world for barely more than a year…

Other AI chatbots don’t seem to be at the same level as ChatGPT yet, but tech giant Google is hot on its heels – and allegedly exceeding its abilities in some ways already. As of earlier this month, Google’s own AI chatbot called Bard is now powered by Gemini (Google’s set of large language models, or LLMs), which could one day potentially unseat ChatGPT as the most dominant generative AI solution in existence.

So the AI arms race is very firmly ON.

Final Thoughts

…And with that being said, one of the next big trends I’m hoping to see expand even more is widespread discussion, collaboration, and regulation around ensuring ethical and accountable AI usage around the world. For a technology as powerful as this, it’s absolutely crucial.