What is the purpose of technology? A CEO will probably tell you its purpose is to drive growth. A scientist may say it allows them to make new discoveries. A doctor may say that it saves lives. At SoftBank Robotics, we believe technology is here to make our lives easier.
The proof is already all around us. From the GPS trackers in our cars, the video communication apps on our laptops, to the virtual smart assistants in our homes. As technology gets better, cheaper and more efficient, it saves us time, aids our decision making, and improves our quality of life.
Here are four top technology trends to look out for in 2023.
1. Predictive analytics
With new Covid variants emerging, rising inflation, ongoing geopolitical conflicts, and the constant threat of climate change, the world feels more volatile than ever. Meanwhile, these macro trends continue to prolong supply chain and labour crises. Although these myriad challenges suggest that organisations may aim to take fewer risks over the coming months, research by IBM has found that three-quarters of business leaders plan to prioritise or invest in technology in 2023. Why?
Because technology and the data it imparts can help organisations predict the future with much better accuracy, helping them navigate these uncertain times. This also helps explain the rise of predicative analytics, where a combination of data mining, machine learning and statistical modelling can use real-time and historic data to create models of the future. One example is digital twins, 3D virtual replicas of physical objects. In the real estate world, organisations are using digital twins of their buildings to learn how everything from the assets inside to the external fabric ages to develop more accurate predictive maintenance programmes.
2. Generative AI
2023 is also looking like a game-changing year for AI. The free to use ChatGPT, launched by OpenAI in November 2022, is part of a new generation of AI technology that uses machine learning algorithms to create new content, such as text, images and music. Chat CPT users can ask the tool to generate almost anything, from essays on the Second World War to Shakespearean play sets in space. Microsoft is set to invest £8 billion into Chat GPT with a plan to update its Bing search engine with the AI tool in March - a move designed to challenge Google's dominance.
Another technology making the headlines is the metavese. A virtual reality space where users can interact with the computer-generated environment and one another. The primary instigator for this rise is Meta, Facebook's parent company, which has invested nearly £100 billion into the technology. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has described the metaverse as "the next chapter of the internet".
But Facebook isn't the only company entering the metaverse. Nike sold its first pair of shoes in the metaverse last year, whilst giants such as Disney and Alibaba have applied for patents related to the metaverse.
McKinset estimated the value of technology to reach £4.2 trillion by 2030, while Gartner had predicted a quarter of the global population will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse by 2026.
We believe 2023 will be the year that both businesses and individuals realise that robots will aid humans - in fact research has found that 60 percent of workers already could easily imagine robots as their co-workers. At SoftBank Robotics, we use the term collaborative robot - or cobot for short - because that's what our robots do: collaborate with humans to make jobs and tasks easier.
This support will be crucial over the next 12 months. As recently as October, research by the Confederation of British Industry found that three-quarters of businesses have experienced difficulties filling vacancies and have a shortage of workers. Meanwhile a European Labour Authority survey found that things were no better in the EU, with 28 occupations (employing 14 percent of the workforce) experiencing shortages.
Robots can make a huge difference by supporting understaffed teams by ensuring that they do the time-consuming tasks.
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