The future is here and it's all about AI
Well, here we are in 2023. The last two years of Covid are behind us, some organisations are starting to rebuild and the future will hopefully be brighter.
- The future is AI. By the time you read this, the latest GPT-4 model may have been released. This is the latest product from the OpenAI research facility. You may remember that GPT-3 is already fooling some people into thinking they were talking to a human. Elon Musk called GPT-3 "scary good". GPT-3 was rated on 175 billion parameters and had the world excited back in 2020. The latest version has 100 trillion parameters so the expectation is that it will be as improved as the jump from GPT-2 to GPT-3. The latter can learn to learn, write poetry, draw pictures and act as a philosopher. With the jump in technology, many are wondering just what it will be able to do. It is suspected that it will be able to use audio, text, image and perhaps even video as input. It might make Google search obsolete which, given the current results bias in some areas, would be an excellent upgrade. When I have more information, I'll write again.
- If you read some futurists, they are predicting a big increase in 3D printing, enhancements in the metaverse, virtual reality, better quantum computing, a better Internet of Things and new energy solutions. I'm predicting that none of these will make anything more than minor improvements over 2023.
- Others say there will be advances in cybersecurity, blockchain technologies and e-coins and I do agree with these three. This year, more governments will begin creating their own electronic currencies, most likely using blockchain as a base. Cybersecurity is an ongoing process as organisations try to stay a step ahead of hackers. Added to this will be more of a move over to 5G from the older 3G and 4G technologies. If you remember my earlier articles on the blockchain, the key here is how limited the blockchain universe is for any given implementation. When there are few voting on accepting a new block in the chain, the higher the likelihood that it will be taken advantage of.
- A term to learn for 2023 is non-fungible tokens or NFTs. These are a special type of cryptographic token where each represents something unique and thus the tokens are not interchangeable. Compare these to a regular cryptocurrency that is exchangeable. Imagine an artist that creates something unique. If each piece is associated with an NFT, then any copy would be easy to identify as a fake. Extend this concept to any item like rare cards, numbered backstage passes and internet domains and the applications become almost endless.
- After Elon's last demo, robots may start to become more and more human as a total package. The Japanese have been working on this for some time now but with Elon jumping into the market, the process may accelerate. There is of course no real need for a robot to look like a human other than aesthetics. People feel more comfortable with robots if they look more human. A classic exception to this would be the robot dogs from Boston Dynamics that perform their tasks quite well. Then again, people in general do like dogs. At over US$70,000 (2.4 million baht), you would really want to have the mechanical version, and be able to afford one.
- As for more general predictions, the world will become more connected. Any countries closing down connectivity, especially to external sites, are probably trying to hide something. As usual, there will not be any improvements in regular printers, and improvements in peripherals, in general, will be at best incremental. For the keyboard, most options have been fully explored and it comes down to your favourite colour.
- Screens will continue to improve but not get any bigger except for special cases as there is only so much screen the average person can fit on their desk. It would be great if OLED screens became more affordable for the standard user by more than about 25%. We may see more uptake in 3D printers but only if the consumables come down in price and the machines speed up a little. I wouldn't hold my breath as the regular consumables are more expensive in some cases. Phones will continue to improve and they may even crack the foldable this year. Elon may even bring out the one he threatened Apple with, and that would be interesting.
- I do expect to see more chip fabrication plants come online this year and reduce the demand and reliance on the current ones. If this does happen, expect the prices to once again start to come down and announcements of a new range of devices.
- There will be more focus on energy but the unreliable costly kinds, and not the reliable less expensive variants. We may see a total energy grid collapse in a few nations that haven't learned this lesson and I don't mean in the so-called Third World. A total grid collapse means about a week before things come back up again. Are you prepared for this?
- That aside I wish everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous year ahead. Put a little aside for the slow times and enjoy the good ones.
James Hein is an IT professional with over 30 years' standing. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.