Science and technology trends in 2023
What’s in store for research and development around the world? From super-apps, through psychedelic medicines, to metaverse and sustainable technology, 2023 has something for everyone!
30 January 2023
By Mariusz Bogacki, Researcher and Science Communicator, Edinburgh
Super-app is a mobile or web application that allows for integration of multiple online services within one digital ecosystem. The term super-app was first used to describe WeChat, the hugely popular Chinese all-encompassing mobile application. Think of it as a Swiss knife with a range of built in smaller tools (mini-apps) that you can use and customise for different tasks.
2023 will see an increased interest in super-app solutions among developers and end users. This is expected in particular in the ‘west’, where there’s still no equivalent to the Chinese pioneering app. Walmart is reportedly developing a super-app for its workforce in order to create a single, streamlined experience for its employees and managers by replacing multiple vendor-supplier applications. For better or worse, Elon Musk has recently announced plans for his own super-app. It is likely that “‘X’, the everything app”, will have something to do with his acquisition of Twitter.
Mental health issues are increasingly prevalent in contemporary societies and conventional medicine appear to have reached its limits in addressing them. The coming year could see a revolution in pharmaceutical industry through engagement with drugs long associated with hippy and party cultures. MDMA, Ketamine and Magic Mushrooms are currently in final stages of testing trials to treat various mental health conditions.
It is hoped that MDMA could be used in treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Ketamine is being tested to treat addiction related illnesses such as alcoholism. Finally, an active component of Magic Mushrooms – psilocybin – could be used for treatment-resistant cases of depression. Many researchers are hoping that 2023 will see first psychedelic-assisted therapies approved by regulatory bodies in the USA and the UK. It is likely that in the near future currently illegal substances might be prescribed to you by a doctor.
While it might have been recently popularised by Mark Zuckerberg, metaverse is much more than Facebook’s attempt to remain relevant. In a nutshell, metaverse allows people to replicate or even enhance their physical activities in a virtual reality world facilitated by headsets and smart glasses. The technology has been simmering under the global tech surface for a while but many industry specialists predict this year will be pivotal for both the users and developers. As the technology is increasingly becoming part of the public consciousness, we will be seeing more people joining in the fun with big brands hoping to start capitalising on their initial investments in various metaverses. 2023 will also see many smaller and mid-size businesses flocking to the virtual world to start new ventures and services.
Driven by climate emergency and the war in Ukraine, the shift towards green and renewable solutions will only accelerate in 2023. Sustainable technology is a framework for digital solutions that can enable environmental, social and governance outcomes for businesses and customers. The framework adheres to circular economy principles by considering the environmental impacts throughout the entire life span of each product. It is expected that sustainable technology will not only incorporate well-established products but also create new avenues for tech development. In doing so the framework will also provide products and services that enable customers to meet their own sustainability goals.