Broad use of new technologies will impact how we all live and work.
By: Maria Alejandra Pulgar
If you are a Boomer, Generation X, Millennial, or even Gen Z and think that by having the latest mobile phone, an electric car, and smart appliances at home, you are ready for the modern world, think again. The use of more complex emerging technologies has broadened to a point that those who do not have at least conversational knowledge about them will be completely out of touch with the mainstream from next year on. It does not mean that we will all be avatars living in the metaverse as many tech experts have dreamed, but closely.
Artificial intelligences (AIs) and Machine Learning Models; Virtual Realities (VRs); Datafication; whereas you have heard of them before or not, those are concepts that already are or furthermore will soon be, embedded into many applications for daily use, or that can be the foundation for the development of solutions for many problems that affect humanity worldwide.
However, not everyone is ready for these tools from the future that have already arrived. There are countries in the world who do not count with basic infrastructure like widespread electricity or reliable high speed internet services. In those countries, what we are already seeing and will see in 2023 is a distant future for them, and it deepens social and economic differences that at the end impact everyone, as we experienced with the global pandemic and its consequences.
Is it a robot or a person?
The recent launching of the AI ChatGPT bot has put these technologies in the front page. The technology behind this application, a Machine Learning Model, is not something new, but what makes ChatGPT special is its high capacity of generating answers and texts that closely mimic what humans can produce, based on the questions or prompts it receives in a conversation. Its answers are so fluid, accurate, and coherent that some have already warned about how it can be used by students to cheat at writing essays.
The broad concept of Artificial Intelligence is “the combination of computers science with robust databases to enable problem solving”. Developers have for years incorporated this technology in different applications. The systems learn from the information users provide by increasing their knowledge base and in consequence, their capacity to anticipate needs. How do you think Alexa knows when you are running out of toilet paper or detergent and offers to reorder?
A related concept, which assists the AIs in their knowledge acquisition, is Datafication. It is the transformation of all aspects of life into valuable data which can be used for decision making. AIs are as accurate and effective as the data they are fed, therefore the Datafication of daily life is expected to continue expanding, making AIs more resourceful to automate mundane tasks, and freeing time for people to perform more complex task.
We need to get used to and be conscious that the information of our preferences, needs, and whereabouts will be collected, tabulated, and analyzed, because that will shape the services we will receive. The more we are aware of it, the more we will be able to control what and where we share or not. Nevertheless, there are instances where it will not be possible. Smartphones are super data collectors. Will you give up using yours?
Virtual or Augmented reality (VRs or ARs) are another major trend that will continue to grow in 2023. It allows users to interact with virtual objects in real-world environments using their smartphones or other devices. The cost of equipment for using VR applications is becoming more accessible, and its uses are broadening beyond entertainment into the corporate world. Meetings and events that required in person interaction will be able to take place in a VR environment, lowering costs, among other benefits, as long as all participants have access to a reliable internet service.
All these evolving technologies are already having a profound impact on how people live and work, as well as how businesses operate. Experts consider that 2023 will be the year when their use and application will expand and become more available to more people around the world.
What would businesses do to stay current?
The incorporation of these technologies in businesses will help them streamline their processes and optimize the use of all their resources, in particular, the human resources, who will need to be trained to interact with these technologies to be more effective in their decision-making processes and perform more creative tasks. The businesses at the forefront will be those who integrate automated and manual processes in an efficient way to become “intelligent enterprises”.
Is my job at risk?
Even though new technologies and their application could potentially impact the way employees perform their work, it is important to remember that there have always been improvements and changes in all corporations, and technology should not be seen as a threat but instead as an opportunity to increase the catalog of skills. Employees who adapt and learn will stay relevant and provide more value to their job.
2023 will be the year of the advance of all these technologies. Staying current on these trends will make the difference between those who will live in the brink of the future and those who take the plunge ahead.