Some years are more significant than others when it comes to digital developments and advances. Those involving Apple products decades ago provide a perfect example of this. The same could be applied to digital applications used for GPS guidance and for gaming. The major digital innovations this year tend to cluster in a few areas with AI innovations clearly leading the pack. Certainly, shifts in social media, technology markets, and cryptocurrencies represent other significant digital developments in 2023. But the use of AI in a variety of fields, along with concurrent issues related to its use, took the spotlight. With this in mind, the following highlights the most noteworthy digital innovations this year.
Welcome to the Age of AI
Though released for public use in the latter part of 2022, AI became more widespread in 2023. ChatGPT and many other AI platforms became a hot trend, representing the most noteworthy digital innovation this year. Since then, not only has AI been used to generate text for a variety of uses. But it has also been utilized to create music, videos, and digital images. At the same time, AI has affected just about every industry to date. AI has been used to help attorneys, in marketing campaigns, and even in media outlets like Buzzfeed. Its use has been so rapid that experts suggest 90% of all content on the Internet will be AI-generated by 2026. This is what makes it one of the most profound digital developments in 2023.
Of course, with every new digital development, new problems and concerns exist. This is certainly true when it comes to AI, particularly in the area of deep fakes. Bad players have used AI to spread disinformation for a variety of purposes. For example, fake bestseller reviews and fake travel guides have been reported. Likewise, some publications have been accused of using AI content with fake AI-generated author profiles. Other issues related to AI use also involves copyright issues over the use of Internet-based texts and images for AI training. This has led to other digital innovations this year that try to thwart AI. Platforms like Nightshade and Glaze specifically contaminate pixel images to negatively affect AI training. Without question, AI digital developments in 2023 have evolved at light speed.
Major Trends in Social Media
While AI took the spotlight, other digital developments in 2023 did occur. One that received a great deal of attention involved Elon Musk’s influence on Twitter. Major changes occurred to the platform this year after his takeover. For one, verification checkmarks became less valid as anyone signing up for an $8 monthly subscription could have one. Likewise, safeguards against disinformation appears to have fallen dramatically. And of yeah, Musk changed Twitter’s name to “X.” While some perceive this as an evolution of Twitter, others believe Musk is driving the social media platform into the ground. Twitter users have dropped significantly in recent months to support the latter point of view. This is therefore one of the digital innovations this year that may not be so great.
Amidst Twitter’s changes, several other companies have sought to usurp some market share in the process. The most notable of these digital developments in 2023 involves Meta’s launch of Threads. Leveraging Facebook and Instagram, Meta is trying to jumpstart Threads as a Twitter replacement. Some early success has been noted, but it remains unclear if Threads has enough momentum to excel. BlueSky is another social media platform that is actively seeking to lure over prior Twitter users. As a decentralized, transparent, and opensource platform, it is certainly taking a much different approach. And as one of the other digital innovations this year, TikTok is beta-testing Lemon8 in an effort to expand its social media reach. The dust has yet to settle in terms of these digital shifts. But it’s clear change and evolution has been prominent in digital in 2023.
The Demise of Crypto in 2023
In covering the digital developments in 2023, it is essential that an update on digital currency be provided. One of these developments involved increasing scrutiny by the SEC on cryptocurrency in general. Specifically, the Commission filed suits against Binance and Coinbase this year. Their claim states that cryptocurrency as a digital asset represents a security that must be registered with the SEC. The suit also claims that these companies misled investors. While it is unclear who will be victorious in these legal filings, it indicates a desire for increased SEC oversight. These actions were noted to devalue cryptocurrencies in general for both companies.
In addition to these events, the collapse of FTX also rocked the cryptocurrency world this year. As one of the major digital developments in 2023, the $8 billion shortfall involving the company negatively affected thousands of investors. Sam Bankman-Fried’s lack of oversight and excessive leveraging of his other company Almeda on FTX assets contributed to the debacle. But more importantly, it demonstrated the volatility, risk, and tendency for bubbles associated with cryptocurrency. To date, crypto has yet to recover from these events this year. Digital coin’s future therefore remains unknown at present.
A Changing Tech Landscape
While not so much one of the digital innovations this year, 2023 did see some changes within the tech industry. In the early portion of the year in particular, many tech giants cut back significantly on their workforce. Among them were Spotify, Alphabet, Amazon, Meta and even Microsoft. Notable layoffs occurred as the pandemic tech bubble burst and interest rates rose. At the same time, ad dollars declined, forcing tech giants to make some tough decisions. However, not all digital developments in 2023 were negative for tech talent. Demand still rose overall, but the need for skilled tech workers were actually in non-traditional tech areas. Healthcare, banking, and retail industries specifically recruited higher volumes of tech workers in 2023. And tech workers seemed to expand their preferences in this direction as well. Given the digital innovations this year in AI, it’s likely many of these individuals may soon find themselves in AI areas. There’s little doubt the tech landscape is rapidly changing, and 2023 was likely to tip of a very significant iceberg.