Main global technological trends: World Economic Forum’s view for 2023

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Modern breakthroughs in new technologies, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, nano-technology, quantum computing, bio-technology, the internet of things, 3D printing, fully autonomous vehicles, etc. will drive national developmental priorities for 2023 and beyond.
World Economic Forum warns, however, that world leaders “urgently need to seize the opportunity to direct technology towards positive ends”.   

The WEF’s mission
World Economic Forum, WEF and its founder and executive chairman since 1971, Klaus Schwab is a well-known promoter of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) around the world. With more than $5 billion in turnover, the WEF effectively implement its mission to “improve the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”. Thus, in October 2016, the WEF announced the opening of its new Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution; according to the WEF, the center will “serve as a platform for interaction, insight and impact on the scientific and technological changes that are changing the way we live, work and relate to one another”.
New phase of the world’s industrial change is based on wide-spread new technologies like artificial intelligence, gene editing, advanced robotics, etc. that “blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological worlds”. The 4IR is marked by breakthroughs in such technologies as robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, the internet of things, fifth-generation wireless technologies, 3D printing, and fully autonomous vehicles, etc.
For example, green hydrogen, nuclear fusion and other green technologies will be developing fast in 2023, as the world transitions away from carbon fuel.

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New perspective directions
Technological revolutionary changes in the world have been greatly assisting in resolving national biggest challenges. Green hydrogen, nuclear fusion and other green technologies will be developing fast in 2023, as the world transitions away from carbon. Other technology trends include developments in gene editing, quantum computing and connected devices; besides, artificial intelligence is going “to get even smarter in 2023”.
The WEF warns that world leaders “urgently need to seize the opportunity to direct technology towards positive ends”; hence, there are five developments that they should be prepared for in the year ahead.

=First, green technology: due to continual improvements in technology over the past decade, the cost of solar and wind power have fallen sharply, making renewables cheaper than fossil fuels. According to some estimates the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy will help economies save $12 trillion globally by 2050. Governments and industry leaders will be focusing on scaling existing green technologies and developing new ones in 2023.
However, the WEF warns that “the goal to keep global warming at less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels seems increasingly out of reach”. Therefore one of the most promising technologies in the future is green hydrogen, a new clean-burning source of energy which 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.
Nuclear fusion is another perspective green technology in 2023, based on the assumption that it can generate more energy than is required to start the fusion process. Although the trend is still far away from achieving a dominant position in national energy mix, further research brings national governance to perspective use of nuclear fusion as an almost limitless, safe and clean source of energy, mostly electricity.

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= Second, hyper-connectivity and cyber-resilience: economic and geopolitical dynamics are pushing globalization into retreat and propelling the fragmentation of cyberspace alongside competing political blocs, acknowledged WEF. However, the structural forces of technological progress are moving towards more connectivity: i.e. during 2023, about 15 billion devices will be connected into the Internet of Things (IoT); the number is expected to double by 2030. A principal driver of this trend will be the rapid expansion of 5G coverage in 2023, which will allow devices to communicate faster and improve their overall performance.
Peoples’ dependency on connected devices and infrastructures is growing at an exponential pace; at the same time, the risks of collapse by accident or/and as the result of an attack is growing too. National governance bodies shall be prepared to step up efforts to ensure that connected devices comply with latest cybersecurity achievements: e.g. in the EU there are efforts to suggest regional-type cyber-resilience legislation; and in the US a cybersecurity labeling is being introduced for IoT devices.

= Third, new breakthrough in digitalisation (like quantum computing): the technology uses subatomic particles to create new ways of processing and storing information, which is going to be “the future of computing”, according to WEF. Quantum computing, QC is operating much faster than the best available processors and will help to solve complex problems in a fraction of the time. Although the QC is still in its infancy, existing huge government and industry investment makes rapid progress feasible in both hardware and software during 2023; with numerous QCs coming to the market. However WEF warns that “at the same time, business and government leaders will step up efforts to understand and mitigate the risks the technology poses, from crippling prevailing cryptography to the transformation of warfare”.
At the same time, WEF acknowledges that government and industry investment in QC visualizes a rapid progress in the years to come (investments in bln $): China – 15,3; EU -7,2; the US -1,9; Japan -1,8; the UK -1,3; India and Canada -1, 0 each; Russia – 0,7; Israel – 0,5.

= Fourth, gene-editing technology: the perspective new technology has been supported during last decade by research and innovation to search for specific genes and discovering new drugs. Since the first discovery of a gene-editing therapy three years ago, the technology has been used to treat congenital blindness, heart disease and sickle cell disease, etc. WEF notes that while primary use-cases are diseases with a single-gene mutation, early research suggests that conditions like Alzheimer’s and chronic pain could also be treated. Thus, in 2023, it is likely to see an expansion of gene editing in medicine, as well as other sectors, powering a multi-billion-dollar industry, and posing complex ethical dilemmas.

= Fifth, wide-spread use of artificial intelligence (AI): with AI spending forecast to exceed $500 billion in 2023, there will be rapid advances in adaptive and generative AI, said WEF. Adaptive AI can continuously retrain its models to learn and adapt based on new experiences, without needing developers to rebuild it, leading to faster and better outcomes. Generative AI uses neural network models to create something new; recent releases of text-to-image and text-to-video generators are appealing to consumers and also raise significant concerns around the spread of disinformation, harmful content, copyright protections and algorithmic biases.
National legislators and online regulators in 2023 will be closely watching the perspective AI developments. Advancing technological change and new technologies are aimed at satisfying peoples’ most vital needs and meeting the states’ modern pressing challenges. The wide-spread of AI is going to add additional value to resilient and recovering world economies and societies.

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