Global technology trends: what to watch for in 2023

Amid eye-catching headlines, the 12 months 2023 must be marked by three vital tendencies within the international expertise governance enviornment that’s but to be constructed.

Adaptation was the important thing phrase throughout 2022: not a lot adapting to applied sciences, however of adopting them to adapt to the wants of a unstable world.

The invasion of Ukraine triggered the activation of the EU’s Cyber Speedy Response Groups (CRRTs), a beforehand unused mechanism for solidarity between member states. The battle additionally reframed expertise as a geopolitical vector: the Ukrainian authorities determined to ‘export’ knowledge centres to trusted third international locations with a view to defend its private, industrial and delicate knowledge in a ‘digital haven’. Likewise, the excessive expectations positioned on crypto-assets had been partly dashed by the collapse of FTX, which led to a ‘crypto winter’ within the worldwide markets. Moreover, semiconductors hit the headlines because of the worldwide rivalry between China, the US and the EU. The difficulty had been round for years and isn’t new, though it’s present, given its impact on export-control regimes, overseas direct funding and the rising position of sanctions in a larger variety of expertise verticals.

The 12 months 2023 started, just like the earlier 12 months, with outstanding headlines, though a measured and rigorous evaluation of the topic means that there usually tend to be three main tendencies, as indicated under. That is significantly vital within the 12 months that Spain will maintain the Presidency of the EU Council.

An excellent larger position for industrial coverage

Because the President of the European Fee, Ursula von der Leyen, identified in 2020 that the 12 months marked the start of the European Digital Decade, three main mechanisms started to develop: European Industrial Alliances, Necessary Tasks of Frequent European Curiosity (IPCEIs) and Joint Undertakings (JUs). Industrial-technological improvement accounts for a big a part of the initiatives in every of those three motion areas and is anticipated to develop in additional expertise areas.

Nonetheless, there was a change within the transition from 2022 to 2023. If in 2022 every of the applied sciences that had been thought of strategic might trigger a big influence on their very own –as an illustration, synthetic intelligence for knowledge processing–, in 2023 it’s doubtless that the differential worth shall be in how the combination of assorted applied sciences (‘combinational tendencies’) will have the ability to create new prospects. Such is the case of cloud and edge computing powering the networks that join electrical vehicles.

Regardless that a few of these mixed applied sciences haven’t but reached the market, 2023 would be the 12 months when public establishments begin to take into account measures concerning using these applied sciences. That is the case of the announcement by the President of the European Fee throughout her 2022 State of the Union Address on an initiative to discover the challenges of digital actuality: ie, the ultimate frontier of the metaverse, which isn’t a expertise per se however a platform for applied sciences that may convey collectively both few or many purposes, reminiscent of digital, augmented and immersive realities, cloud, computing, synthetic intelligence, the Web of Issues, and others.

One other case was the announcement of the European Fee’s 2023 Work Programme on a primary proposal for a regulatory framework for the hyperloop, which seeks to embrace this high-speed, low-carbon transport answer. It’s to be accompanied by the widespread European mobility knowledge area, already beneath improvement, to digitise the transport sector.

The 12 months 2023 can also be anticipated to see strong agreements within the EU on securing provide chains in vital supplies, minerals and uncommon earths from third international locations on which the EU relies.

Such is the case not solely with China, but in addition with international locations like Brazil, Chile and Mexico, that are mandatory for important uncooked supplies used for applied sciences within the digital and inexperienced transitions. This explains why 2023 shall be a 12 months of latest agreements, particularly by way of the EU-LATAM Digital Alliance, which is anticipated to be the framework for channelling technological cooperation with the area and consolidating relations of belief. An instance of the latter is the December 2022 update of the trade agreement with Chile, which has assured non-discriminatory entry to the export of uncooked supplies reminiscent of lithium.

State assist as a component of world technological rivalry

Inexperienced applied sciences are an extra development for 2023. They’re nothing new, as they’ve been beneath improvement for a very long time, however they’re extremely topical for quite a few European and international governance causes.

The US introduced its Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on 12 August 2022, allocating nearly US$400 billion in public spending and tax credit over 10 years to scale back CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030. The transfer was coupled with subsidies to strategic areas reminiscent of semiconductor factories with the US CHIPS+ Act, whereas sanctions on the export of cutting-edge expertise merchandise to China gave rise to disagreements.

The sum of state assist from the US didn’t come alone. China proposed a ‘Huge Fund’ for semiconductors, whereas –already in February 2022– the EU had introduced a European chips act proposal to discover state assist for the creation of semiconductor manufacturing services on European territory, though proposal is targeted to a lesser extent on the design, analysis and improvement part –an approach that must be improved–.

Thus, 2023 seems to be set to be a 12 months by which state assist shall be equally valued and criticised by all sides. In any case, every of those three areas will proceed to implement subsidies. In actual fact, the talk has already led to variations on the EU-US Commerce and Expertise Council (TTC), the place Commissioner Bréton, disagreeing with the best way the IRA was being addressed on the preparatory talks, didn’t attend the December 2022 assembly itself. State assist was not addressed on the TTC and the assembly focused only on issues on which there was agreement.

Inside the EU, variations between member states on find out how to grant state assist are anticipated to deepen, with some being extra cautious about lending (such because the Netherlands), some demanding extra inflexible state-aid guidelines (Italy) and others in search of to supply extra state assist (Germany and France).

The 12 months of the democratisation of expertise

Over the previous few years the main target has been on the EU’s regulatory and industrial policy pillars from the safety, political and financial views. Nonetheless, a 3rd pillar is that of values.

There have been developments such because the Declaration of Digital Rights and Rules, the primary Eurobarometer on the general public notion of digital rights and campaigns in opposition to Web blocking as a type of repression. The following step is to operationalise these rules in ‘grounded’ coaching proposals for civil society organisations and residents and at different public ranges, such because the regional and native.

In 2023 Spain will maintain the Presidency of the Council of the EU at a time when three main legislative dossiers are to be accepted, if not negotiated of their ultimate part: a European digital identity framework, the proposal for Cybersolidarity between the entities of the Member States and the data act proposal. All have an effect on the safety of rights.

In abstract, 2023 is ready to be a 12 months filled with information. Past the multiplicity of media headlines, the important thing shall be to concentrate on these three tendencies as main drivers of a worldwide technological governance that is yet to be built.

Picture: Background with hexagonal sample. Fashionable expertise and community idea. Photograph: Photocreo.

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