Technological change has the potential to bring prosperity to us all and provide smart solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. At the same time, its exponential pace threatens to overwhelm our existing systems, exposing us to uncontrolled risks. The danger is exacerbated by political crises, growing social inequality and a looming climate crisis.

    There is an urgent need for political leaders to seize the opportunity to steer the technology in a positive direction. Here are five developments to watch out for in the coming year.


    Environmental technologies are at a turning point

    Thanks to the continuous improvement of technology over the last decade, the cost of solar and wind energy has fallen dramatically, so that renewable energies are cheaper than fossil fuels today.According to some estimates, switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy will help economies save $12 trillion worldwide by 2050.

    In 2023, governments and industry leaders will focus on scaling existing green technologies and developing new ones. The goal of keeping global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels seems increasingly out of reach, but so do the disaster scenarios that were considered likely just a few years ago.

    One of the most promising technologies we can expect to see progress on is green hydrogen, a new, clean-burning energy source that makes it possible to capture energy from renewable sources and transport it over long distances – from regions with abundant wind or solar energy sources to energy-hungry areas thousands of miles away.

    Nuclear fusion is another green technology to keep an eye on in 2023, following recent evidence that it can generate more energy than is needed to start the fusion process. Although it will be years before energy can be generated on a large scale, these recent results should spur research to advance the technology and bring us closer to a future in which nuclear fusion is nearly unlimited,
    safe and clean energy could provide.


    Super Networking and Cybersecurity

    Economic and geopolitical developments are forcing globalization to retreat and driving the fragmentation of the Internet by competing political blocs. However, technological developments are leading to more connectivity, not less. Next year, 15 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), and that number is expected to double by 2030. A key driver of this trend is the rapid rollout of 5G coverage in 2023, which will enable devices to communicate faster and improve their overall performance.

    Our dependence on networked devices and infrastructures is ever increasing, and with it the risk of accidental or attack-induced breakdown. Governments and regulators can be expected to step up their efforts to ensure that networked devices meet the latest cybersecurity standards. This includes that the European Union should implement its proposed
    EU cyber resilience bill is pushing forward and the U.S. government under Biden is launching a program to cybersecurity assessment of IoT devices. is introducing.


    Quantum Computing

    The high technology of quantum computing, which uses subatomic particles to find new ways to process and store data, promises to be the future of computing. With the promise of operating orders of magnitude faster than the best processors available today, quantum technology will help solve complex problems in a fraction of the time. Although quantum computing technology is still in its infancy, the huge investment by governments and industry means that rapid progress in hardware and software can be expected in the coming year, with the first quantum computing products coming to market. At the same time, business and government leaders will increase their efforts to understand and mitigate the risks posed by the technology, which range from threats to prevailing cryptography to the transformation of warfare.


    Gene editing becomes mainstream

    Until recently, CRISPR-Cas9, the gene-editing technology that won two developers the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was used primarily as a research tool to understand the meaning of certain genes and discover new drugs. Since the first person received gene therapy three years ago, the technology has been used to treat congenital blindness, heart disease and sickle cell anemia, among other conditions. Although the focus is primarily on diseases with a single gene mutation, initial research results suggest that diseases such as Alzheimer’s and chronic pain could also be treated with CRISPR.

    In 2023, we are likely to see an expansion of gene editing in medicine and other fields that will drive a multi-billion dollar industry and present us with complex ethical questions.


    Artificial intelligence is everywhere

    Towards the end of 2022, OpenAI’s interactive language model Chat GPT attracted more than a million users in just five days and sparked a new debate about the opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence (AI). With spending on artificial intelligence expected to exceed $500 billion in 2023, there will be rapid advances in adaptive and generative AI.
    Learning-or adaptive-AI can continuously retrain its models to learn and adapt based on new experiences without developers having to rebuild them, leading to faster and better results. Generative AI uses neural network models to create something new. Recent releases of text-to-image and text-to-video generators are very attractive to users, but also raise significant concerns about the spread of disinformation, harmful content, copyright protection, and algorithmic bias. Regulators and online supervisors will be looking at this in the coming year.

    These are the 5 tech trends for this year from Davos. And of course, with every innovation comes a risk. Things that work in a new way also break in a new way. When we invented the ship, we also invented shipwreck. The same is true for new technologies – and the stakes are high. 
    But that shouldn’t make us afraid of technological progress, it should only make us aware of the fact that progress has been hard-earned and can easily be lost. Driving technological change and introducing new technologies on a large scale to address the world’s most pressing challenges is the great imperative of our time. If we meet this challenge, we will be rewarded by more prosperous and resilient economies and societies.