Tech Trends to Watch in 2023

06 January 2023 Foley Ignite Blog
Author(s): Louis Lehot

This article originally appeared in Legal Tech News on 1/6/2023. It is republished here with permission.

Legal tech can learn a lot about what to expect in the coming year by looking to the most common and interesting trends in the global Silicon Valley. 

We have officially come to the time of year when everyone is putting out their 2023 predictions. While our legal and tech-enabled platform is designed to provide practical and commercial strategies and solutions that make sense for emerging growth businesses and emerging fund managers, the clients we serve function as a barometer of activity in the global Silicon Valley. From our point of view as innovative technology lawyers, we have rounded up some of the most common and more interesting trends we are seeing from the global Silicon Valley.

Generative Artificial Intelligence

According to data from PitchBook, investment in generative AI has had a huge increase since 2020. In fact, their data shows a 425% jump from 2020 to now, with $2.1B invested in 2022 alone.

There seems to be a consensus that AI will be everywhere in the year ahead, becoming more integrated into businesses across the board. One industry where experts are predicting to see significant use of AI moving forward is retail, which is already utilizing AI and ML to design product, manage the fulfillment process, manage inventory, time new deliveries, assist online ordering and more. The automotive industry is also utilizing AI to race forward to develop fully autonomous vehicles. Expect to see that increase even more in 2023.

One interesting point Deloitte makes in their Tech Trends 2023 report is the importance that trust will play in the success of AI tools in the business world moving forward. In other words, it will be increasingly critical for workers to trust the machines that will essentially function as their AI “colleagues.” Developing processes that leverage AI in transparent, explainable and compliant ways will be key to spurring adoption.

AR/VR and the Metaverse

We have talked a lot about the metaverse and preparing for doing business in virtual worlds. The AR/VR technology that fuels the metaverse is advancing at a breakneck pace, and tech companies have spent a lot of time and money investing in the future of the metaverse. At the same time, businesses are looking at how to operate and capitalize on the technology.

We have talked a lot about the metaverse and preparing for doing business in virtual worlds. The AR/VR technology that fuels the metaverse is advancing at a breakneck pace, and tech companies have spent a lot of time and money investing in the future of the metaverse. At the same time, businesses are looking at how to operate and capitalize on the technology.

According to a PWC survey, “Eighty-two percent of executives expect metaverse plans to be part of their business activities within three years.” This could mean more virtual work for employees, hosting meetings in the metaverse, as well as conducting training or brainstorming sessions.

It should also mean more investment for the hardware, sensors and software required to power more immersive experiences in the Metaverse. According to Business Insider, venture capitalists have invested over $115 billion for the Metaverse since 2010, and Meta (the parent of Facebook) has spent $36 billion all by itself on Metaverse applications. According to IDC Reports, AR/VR spending was $13.8 billion in 2022. That should bode well in the years ahead.

Avatars and Robots That Look Like You

One of the most interesting predictions out there relates to highly “realistic” avatars and even more humanlike robots. The technology surrounding avatars is advancing so that they will look more and more like the person behind the screen, and performance capture and motion capture technology allows avatars to even have similar body language or gestures as their human counterpart. This technology could aid in adoption of the metaverse as people see a more realistic representation of themselves on their screen.

Robots are also starting to increasingly resemble humans, with experts predicting that robots will begin taking on more roles in our daily lives moving forward. How far the use of robots in the workplace will extend is unknown, but there is enormous potential for their use as this technology develops at a rapid pace. We are at a time when the workplace is fast changing, and robots could be a significant part of the future of our workforce.

According to Crunchbase data, in 2021, robotics saw $17.1 billion of venture investment across 660 deals, and through only the first nine months of 2022, robotics gained $5.4 billion of capital across 190 investments, reflecting the greater market slowdown. There are an increasing number of venture capital firms and investors that are focused on this sector, and it’s no longer the private domain of niche players. Indeed, Amazon has announced a $1 billion fund focused on robotics and has already started putting capital to work.

While the global Silicon Valley is seeing a significant correction in valuations and downward pressure on equity markets in an inflationary environment with pending interest rate increases on the horizon, there are reasons to be optimistic about the year ahead. The number of funds and the amount of dry powder is at historically high levels, which should power optimism, positivity and creativity in every startup founder entrepreneur.

It’s going to be a very exciting time as technology is advancing more quickly than ever.  The future maybe uncertain, but it certainly looks to be powered by some amazing technology.

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