From the outset, 2022 was a testing time for the technology sector. From supply chain crises to Russia’s war in Ukraine and an inflation habit that the global economy just couldn’t quit, start-ups, social media giants and everyone in between have struggled to cope with a world in flux. As Facebook haemorrhages users, cryptocurrencies suffer collapse after collapse and ChatGPT threatens to steal all of our jobs, the Tech Monitor team volunteers its big four 2023 tech predictions.
Cybercrime will only get more lucrative
The growing volume of cyberattack vectors across public and private sector organisations has seen the level of cybercrime grow rapidly in the last months. In 2022 there was reportedly a 130% increase in ransomware attacks across the globe. This trend is likely to continue into 2023, particularly with countries like China and Russia expected to increase state-sponsored cyberattacks against targets in the West.
With the cybersecurity skills shortage continuing, more companies are likely to lean into AI-powered solutions to try to optimise their protection without having to hire difficult-to-find, skilled, employees. However, attackers are also likely to adopt AI to implement quicker and more sophisticated attacks, making fending off attacks even more tricky.
Get ready for semiconductor glut
As the boom of the global chip shortage fades, semiconductor businesses have been scaling back their ambitions in 2022, meaning 2023 could herald the start of one of the industry’s periodic bust cycles.
However, companies are continuing to invest in new technology and factories, and it could be an interesting year for Intel, which has big ambitions in manufacturing but has so far been unable to narrow the technology gap on TSMC and Samsung. With the company’s financial performance tanking, CEO Pat Gelsinger could come under more pressure if things don’t pick up.
The UK’s chip design champion, Arm, is likely to list on Nasdaq next year, and industry watchers will be keen to see if going public gives it renewed impetus.
Meanwhile, how China reacts to ongoing sanctions on its chip industry imposed by the US could be key to the industry’s future. Beijing has limited capabilities to produce advanced chips at present, but with the government reportedly ready to invest significant sums in manufacturing, this could be about to change.
Quantum computing will finally become practical
As of 2022, more than $35bn of public and private money has been pumped into quantum computing, with the market predicted to be worth up to $3trn by the end of the decade. To achieve that level of success, companies are looking to capitalise on their R&D early. As such, in 2023 we should expect to see more partnerships between quantum computer operators and manufacturing, finance, and pharmaceutical firms. This will include using the current generation of low-qubit machines to solve specific and highly targeted problems more quickly than is possible with classical computers, as well as preparations for future, ‘true’ quantum machines.
There are likely to be more long-range roadmaps revealed as companies move closer to the breakthrough that will see million-plus qubit quantum computers. This, in turn, will lead to deeper discussions about the ethics and legality of a technology that could change the world in ways hitherto unimagined. Indeed, discussions on ‘who should own a quantum computer’ have already started, and are likely to intensify in 2023.
The crypto winter will turn into a crypto ice age
The dramatic collapse of FTX and the arrest of its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, has thrown a spotlight on the structural weaknesses that run throughout the cryptoverse. But it’s only the latest in a series of disasters for the space over the past 12 months, from the implosion of Terra to Bitcoin crashing to its lowest price for two years. Crypto investors have only the global economy to blame; designed to be an alternative financial ecosystem for those seeking to escape the influence of the big banks and a cornucopia of other predatory financial institutions, the sector has instead been reliant on a steady stream of venture capital and other forms of outside investment.
As inflation rose inexorably early this year, the flow of funds into crypto declined, as investors sought safer places to stash their money. After that came the crisis of confidence that continues to afflict most crypto operations to this day. Expect this to continue well into 2023, as DeFi and DAO projects struggle to obtain meaningful venture capital, speculation about the solvency of Binance gathers steam, and regulators poke their noses into what has, up until now, been a veritable wild west for speculators, fraudsters and chancers with nothing to lose.