Predictions for 2023


2023 is here, are we ready for what’s to come?

Cyber warfare, Harris replaces Biden, China & Russia return to the Gold Standard, EVs run out of gas, The rise of India & AI, the crash of the US$, the return of the high street, a year of innovation…


2023 – It’s all about the Climate and Energy

Environment

It’s crisis, crisis, crisis. A Climate crisis, an energy crisis and a cost of living crisis. The media love to hype and they are riding the hype wave big time. With Covid pretty much done, the focus has shifted to Climate and Energy.

We are all to blame for this, its nothing to do with trade deals, like the one that allowed me to buy onions in my local supermarket, a small town in mid-Norway, which have travelled from New Zealand, yes, you read that right, I can buy onions, 200km south of the Arctic Circle from New Zealand, and the climate crisis is somehow my fault (no, I didn’t buy them).

During the Covid lockdowns, climate activists were quick to note the reduction in carbon emissions, and billionaires flew around the world to tell everyone about it. Will we see ‘Climate Lockdowns’ in 2023? Banning people from non-essential travel?

Will we see the introduction of a Carbon Allowance or a Carbon tax? Many have been pushing for this to be part of a digital ID, especially the World Economic Forum and the most loved Tony Blair (yes I am being ironic!)

2023 will likely see the first rationing of EV charging during specific hours to better balance a nation’s grid, countries like Switzerland are preparing to limit EVs as an extreme and emergency measure, based on the current rate of EV adoption, these scenarios are looking more likely.


If China falls, India and Mexico could rise

China

China has been very strategic and long-termist, even at the cost of rural farmers and its deep-rooted traditional ways. Its growth over the last few decades has provided it with greater wealth, power and prosperity, but it’s now at a tipping point. The manufacturing and logistics centre of the world is struggling to deliver and its costs are rising. The US can’t ignore Biden’s sponsorship by the CCP any longer and 2023 will probably be the year Biden steps down because of it. Well, that and all the classified documents he shouldn’t have hidden in his garage.

Biden and his son Hunter (don’t mention the laptop!) have become liabilities, so will 2023 will be the year for Kamala Harris to become the first female Presdient of the USA? I’d say so, the bookies have her as odds on favourite for 2024’s election, but I think she’ll be in play this year. I remember reading some pundits expecting that to have happened early in 2022 and when you see some of the interviews with Joe Biden, it’s hard to believe he’s the leader of the free world, he’s more the leader of the free words as he randomly rambles nonsense, or as Robin Williams put it all those years ago “Joe is like your uncle who’s on a new drug, but hasn’t got the dosage right”.

But US politics is a funny thing, Trump had his homestead searched by the FBI and threatened with impeachment (again for having classified documents at home, when he was President). But when Biden does it (as VP) he gets his lawyers to search his house and its all played down. Regardless of left or right, Trump or Biden, everyone should be tied to the same rules – surely.

So, back to China, when I was born (in 1975) China had over 900m people and was closing in on 1bn, with a median age of 20 and a fertility rate of 4.8. In 2020, they had 1.4bn a median age of 38 and less than 1.7 fertility rate (keep in mind, you need a 2.1 fertility rate to maintain your population). So, China’s population is in decline and is ageing, and the average income per household in China has also increased significantly, see the below chart. Also, do a search for China’s Economic Collapse and take read some of the articles. Anyway, that’s China, basically, it use to be really cheap to get stuff made there, but now it cost more, so; 2023 then

The increase of average household income in China over 25 years

Why India?

India recently overtook the UK as the world’s 5th largest economy (its was 9th in 2010).

India has seen a remarkable increase in GDP over the past 25 years with an eye-watering 700% increase

India is expected to be in the top 3 economies within 10 years

Why Mexico?

Well balanced population with good employment rates and a stable(ish) economy

Mexico has a lot of innovation and many businesses doing really well, with very high output, however, the average figures in Mexico drag them down.

Mexico has a fairly skilled workforce that gets the investment injection in needs


Cyber Warfare

Cyber Security - energy network

Now I’m realising the predictions are looking gloomy and I really hope we see a lot of good things happen in 2023 but I can’t help but feel we are moving closer and closer to cyber warfare, I’m surprised we’ve not really seen or felt so much of it in our day to day lives. But my prediction is that, at some point fairly soon, some countries will start to see major outages, they will typically be targeted at national critical infrastructure, and by that I mean the power, water, sewage, banking, transport, aviation and shipping infrastructure.

Imagine the impact of taking down the power network for a week or two. Every simple task will be impossible and guess what, GenZ won’t be able to post about it! All data centres will run out of backup juice and every single service you can think of will be gone, hospitals, police, army, banking, water, sewage, everything would stop. Ok so that’s the worst case, but imagine the cost of Russia or China employing 100 hackers to do it, rather than going to war with the West?

I understand the ideology of connecting everything over the internet, but national critical infrastructure? Well, management like to see optimisation reports and real-time dashboards – Ok a bit cynical maybe, as some of the hacks have been on off-net systems and very well implemented. The energy networks are under constant threat and hacks do happen, in April 2022 the Ukraine power network was attacked using Triton, which is specifically designed to target industrial safety systems.


The rise of Web 3.0

abstract IoT image

What is Web 3.0? Well, imagine, Web1 – it did email, it did fairly static webpages and search, Web2 – think apps, mobile apps, web apps, SaaS, Office 365, Google Maps, all web2 stuff.

Web 3, think crypto and Bitcoin. Web 2 is controlled by a few big corporates, running the infrastructure & content; like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon. It’s essentially a centralised web that’s controlled by the few for the many.

Web 3 is decentralised meaning big corp Inc doesn’t own it, in fact, anyone can be part of Web 3. In Web 2, big corp own the data and the security; (ok, they typically sell your data as part of the model!). However, your data should, in theory, be private. Web 3 is the opposite, it works based on trust, and all data and all (depending on the blockchain technology) transactions are publically available. To clarify, that doesn’t mean your personal details are shared, but essentially if I send you some crypto, the transaction is publically available, and its security is based on its trust (as well as some clever calculations).

But Web 3 is going through the same overhype (such as with NFT’s) we have with every major release of new technology, full of promise; remember the hype around 3G, then 4G… it always ends up being a natural evolution rather than a radical shift. However, AirB&B decentralised the hospitality industry, Uber did the same. Radical in some ways, natural evolution in others.

The reality around hype is fairly simple – what problem does it solve? What is the actual use case? And this is where technology is generally underwhelming because it’s often built by engineers who want to build it in a specific way, or complete a specific project.

But I’m hoping that some companies will start to bring in aspects of Web3 into a Web 2 world and we will see during 2023, some innovative uses where Web 3 technology actively adds value to existing web 2 services, by enhancing them, solving challenges in different ways or adding real value.


2023 – When AI began

AI

So, ChatGPT has launched and gone from a $0 valuation to $29bn seemingly overnight. They have so many requests they can’t support them and the systems are not available for most of the time, that’s how quickly ChatGPT is growing.

I’ve heard many times that ChatGPT will be the Google killer – personally, I don’t think so, it’s ‘another’ tool. Google has been working on AI for years and has a number of tools as part of the Google Cloud offering.

What’s clear to me is that in the short term, ChatGPT will be a nightmare in some sectors, especially in education, a student can get it to write a unique essay or even a thesis in a matter of seconds. Universities will need to adopt an AI programme to vet and score content based on its likelihood of human authenticity. It begs the question, can an AI bot spot an AI bot or not?!

But ChatGPT is designed to be an ‘advanced chatbot’ essentially making it possible for a user to believe they are in fact interacting with a human in a way Turin outlined in the Turin Test. But that’s the start, they will evolve at lightning speed and be doing things we haven’t thought about yet! Thye will be your colleagues in the near future, smarter than most people in the office fair soon too.

2023 will be the opening of the AI can, it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out. But it has many challenges and I hope regulations as quicker than they have been previously to understand ti and adapt; GDPR is a good example, Google launched in 1998, GDPR launched in 2018 – 20 years later, AI has far deep consequences than exchanging personal data.


Crypto Legislation

FTX Crash

With the unexpected and spectacular collapse of the crypto exchange FTX, the SEC and central banks have what they need to push for regulation and legislation on the crypto market. One the one hand, some sensible steps are needed to make sure this type of crash doesn’t happen again, FTX remains me of the Robert Maxwell pension scandal. So some legislation is good, but crypto has been running away from the central banks who want absolute control, they will use the collapse of FTX to push through greater regulation.

I do find the whole – ‘we need better regulation to protect against money laundering rather ironic, seeming as so many of the big banks have been involved in it to the tune of around $2trn which is more than the value of all cryptocurrencies combined. In reality, Governments want Tax and Control, and regulation will give them just that.

I can’t help but think that the banks and the central banks want to tie a noose around the neck of crypto and bringing legislation in may well seal its fate.

But I’m hoping that crypto will start to bounce back after an annus horribilis.


Recession or crash?

US$

A crash is coming, it will either be a mild but unpleasant recession, like 2008, or a serious crash, it’s unlikely to be moderate or any middle ground.

You could argue we’ve already started to see ‘the crash’ many stocks are down 25%, and Amazon have dropped from $185 (Jul 2001) to $81 (Dec 2002), some say now is the best time to buy stocks and who knows, maybe they are right!

Did you know 80% of all US$ have been printed since 2020?

Read that again and think of the consequences, not just for the US. But ask yourself this; what currency does the world trade-in? And what currency is the majority of the world’s debt?

2023 I think will be the year of runaway inflation and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers seems to be of the same opinion, stating that the Biden administration risks unleashing the worst inflation “in a generation.”

This will probably happen end of Q2 or during Q3, we could see China and Russia, who have both been frantically buying physical gold, work together to form a new single currency that could challenge the US$ as the world’s primary trading currency, but with a gold-back reserve.

Global Population growth will significantly slow down and will likely start to decrease, with the west & more educated populations suffering greater declines. The minimum rate needed to maintain the current population size is 2.1 children per woman, however, we are now seeing this drop in many countries below 2.1.

We will see a rise in localisation as we realise the true impact of the centralised globalisation of all major markets. Currently between 3-5 major players have almost total control over every market and also control regulations of those markets.

We will see small-scale movements gain momentum, like regenerative farming, soil health, an increase in locally sourced foods and maybe even regeneration of the high street. Especially as the impact of Ukraine, the sanctions on Russia and the loss of thousands of farms in the Netherlands are felt in 2023, this will likely cause food prices to rise and a reduced selection with the potential for food shortages and increased starvation rates as predicted by the UN, this will increase the reliance and need for small scale farming and farm shops.

Hopefully, it will see a greater focus on local communities and a move back to town centres and away from shopping centres.

2023 will be the year for preparing us for Central Bank Digital Currencies, it will be the marketing year, focusing on safety & convenience, so people will be open to adoption closer to 2024/5 when they are rolled out.

CBDC‘s will be used in a similar way to the Chinese Social Credit Score system, it will become apparent soon after how draconian, restrictive and disastrous they are for users, essentially allowing the Government and central banks to have full control and ownership of every aspect of people’s financial lives. Including auto-issuing fines, auto-declining your 4th beer on a Saturday night and ensuring a % goes to charitable causes or to health & fitness on a use-it-or-lose-it policy.


Truth will out

musk_twitter

The truth will out – at least partially, the Twitter files have highlighted how ‘all the conspiracy theories around twitter were true and probably even worse than people thought’ according to its new owner, it turns out that the reps from the FBI, FDA, Pfizer and others had an incredible amount of power over controlling their version of ‘the truth’ ensuring no alternative version would be aired and no healthy debate possible. This covered critical parts of our lives including Covid, lockdowns, masks, vaccines and political issues. Additionally, it appears that the Pentagon was known to be running a high number of fake accounts on Twitter.

Twitter has also woken some of the leaders in tech and in silicon valley, where Twitter now runs (seemingly just fine) on just 25% of its staff. The ramifications for this are as yet unknown but we could easily see tech companies going through major rightsizing programmes, Facebook, Amazon and other tech companies seem to also be going through a period of right-sizing and you have to ask the question of Twitter – what were the other 75% doing?!