The rate at which technology progresses is often staggering. When we look back at how much technology has changed in the last 50 or even 20 years, the technological landscape is almost unrecognizable. Even 20 years ago, many people would have been very reluctant to believe that smartphones would have become such a major part of our daily lives, yet now it is nearly impossible to function in society without them.
Long-term digital trends are very hard to predict — the direction technology moves in our hopes and dreams is generally not the way it goes in reality. Short-term trends are easier to predict because we can already see the seeds that they will grow from. This article will dive into what we predict will be some of the biggest digital trends of 2023.
Cryptocurrency goes mainstream
The biggest hurdle that cryptocurrency still needs to get over to become a regularly used currency is expanding where it can be spent. Until cryptocurrencies can be used like any other form of digital banking or finance, they will only appeal to the most tech literate. We’ve already seen a growing number of independent businesses beginning to accept Bitcoin and Ethereum and in 2023 we’re likely to see this trend accelerate.
One of the most recent developments in this area is the rapid appearance and growth of Bitcoin casinos. Bitcoin casinos are online casinos that only, or at least primarily, use cryptocurrencies for deposits and withdrawals. Bitcoin casinos are likely to become a major digital trend because they offer greater security than traditional online casinos and because many make it possible for players to remain anonymous.
Augmented and virtual reality
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been among the top digital trends for the last five years and will maintain that position into the next year as well. As the potential of the Metaverse edges closer to becoming a reality, companies are working to create products and software that will make the experience more realistic.
One company is even working on a wristband that will track movements in real life to control the user’s digital avatar. What makes their product unique is that it won’t be a one-way system as most are. The wristband will also generate electrical impulses in response to what is happening to the user’s avatar so that the user can feel the sensations their avatar is feeling. The current testing is limited to feeling pain — we hope they expand that a bit before going to market!
Push for privacy
Social media is here to stay at least for the next few years. However, people are becoming more aware of the fact that what they post online is used by corporations and governments. Most of these uses are commercial, as our information and website activity are tracked and sold so that companies can advertise to us more effectively. It’s invasive and creepy, but many of us have accepted it as a necessary evil of living a digital life.
More frightening is when governments exploit our lack of privacy online. With the overthrow of Roe vs Wade, many women are rightfully worried that health tracking apps will be used by repressive conservative regimes to monitor whether they’re pregnant. Reports have also recently shown that the Department of Homeland Security has been secretly — and possibly illegally — collecting and using smartphone location data.
Even when you don’t have anything to hide, no one enjoys having Big Brother peeking over your shoulder and watching every move you make. VPNs are already becoming more commonly used to protect individual’s privacy and we’re likely to see this increase in the next year. We’re hopeful that new and innovative digital services will be developed to help keep us all safer online.
Decrease in influencer power
Social media influencers have been a powerful cultural force for the last decade. Working mainly on Instagram and TikTok, influencers shape everything from fashion and makeup trends to dance crazes and pink sauce fads. Influencers are a powerful force for advertisers. There is a darker side though. Misinformation is easily spread by influencers, especially to credulous young audiences, and this can have dangerous consequences — such as bad skin care “hints” causing permanent scarring or lies about the safety of steroids having the potential to destroy the health of young people.
We’re finally seeing more backlash against influencer culture. While this is likely to be wishful thinking, we would hope that one of the trends of 2023 is a move away from reliance on influencers.