The Wrap #27 | 2023: The year ChatGPT gets sued by its dog.
A shot of thinking fuel, brought to you each month by Futurestate Design Co.
2022 was a big year. The world settled back into (a questionable) state of normality, big tech firms got a long overdue reality check and Twitter went la-la. And yes, if you’re wondering why The Wrap is looking different, we finally up-cycled our comfy 20 year-old WF slippers into a shiny new Futurestate Design Co. pair – you can read all about that here.
Of course, at the end of every year all sorts of people tell us what the next year’s big trends will be. Now we’re allergic to trends (they’re usually a scent trail that leads off a cliff) but we thought we’d give you our take on the few genuinely interesting things that popped up.
Let’s do this.
Harnessing a radical shift in the rights of a river
What’s going on?
LinkedIn editors asked their community of ‘top voices’ and ‘creators’ to share what they believe will define the year ahead. That becomes LinkedIn’s “Big Ideas 2023: 20 bold predictions for the year ahead”.
The report largely tells everyone what they already knew. Hybrid working’s a big deal. Menopause is big business. The economy’s screwed. Retail’s going to get physical again. Seaweed is the answer to everything. You get the idea.
Is anything interesting?
Yes, actually. There’s a fabulous insight from Dr Erin O'Donnell from the University of Melbourne about how “more nations will give animals, trees and rivers the rights of people”. We love this. Partly because it’s about time a river could sue humans for messing it up, but mainly because it’s the kind of change that drives bold new thinking. Also, dogs being able to sue fireworks manufacturers would bring one of our team immense satisfaction.
This reallocation of rights from humans to the parts of nature that actually deserve them will force a radical rethink for how many organisations operate, and you know what? The end result will almost certainly be a better business. So why not try applying some radical ‘what if this fundamental change were forced on us?’ scenarios to your current business or product and see where it leads you? Try 'what if [e.g. insurance] was made illegal?' as a starter for ten.
Oh, and you’d better start preparing for the day when your data lake can take you to court for polluting it with so much s***.
Wet hot AI anyone?
What’s going on?
You can’t talk 2023 trends without talking about generative AI. In this great WIRED piece (it’s from his newsletter actually), godly tech journo Steven Levy discusses how much Google have held back their generative model AI tech due to ethical concerns, and how ChatGPT (that’s a Generative Pre-trained Transformer for those who don’t keep up) has just jumped in and become the most amazing thing that most people have ever experienced.
Google’s researchers have been holding back their tech because, while the capabilities of these generative models are phenomenal, there’s no way to be sure (yet) that what they’re putting out isn’t dangerous or damaging. But this is now a horse that’s bolted and 2023 is going to be the start of ‘a wet hot AI summer’ where everyone scrambles to take advantage of this technology.
Why is it important?
You’ll just have to believe us when we say that ChatGPT didn’t write this. But it could have made a decent stab at it (ok, it would have been better). The implications are profound for anything, and we mean anything, that involves content generation.
Steven Levy captures it nicely: “The cost of churning out generic copy will go to zero. By the end of the decade, AI video-generation systems may well dominate TikTok and other apps. They may not be anywhere as good as the innovative creations of talented human beings, but the robots will quantitatively dominate.”
The content industries are about to get another kick up the rear – or perhaps a kick in the teeth might be more accurate. For what it’s worth, we think that this tech will quickly liberate a whole generation of people who are great thinkers but not great writers. Who knows, most business documents might even become readable without nausea. While the metaverse is pretending to be important already, generative AI actually is. It’s that rarest of things; a trend we actually want to follow.
You'll be into ruffles, fringes, origami and quilling by next year
What’s going on?
Now let’s have a little fun. Generated from their own usage data, Pinterest’s trends report is a little different from the ‘war/recession/the great reflection’ kind of trends. As a result, you’ll find it full of unexpected things that lie ahead for you and your 2023 vibe.
It’s full of colours, fashions, hairstyles, lifestyle and life-living ‘trends’ that we can expect to see a lot more of in 2023. They include such gems as ‘the free-spirited fluidity of fringe’ and Gen X ‘pampering their porches’. And in case you’re wondering, they have a pretty high success rate at calling these things.
Why is it important?
Well, let’s be honest, most of it isn’t. But in aggregate it is. Surface trends like the ones in this report are highly short-term-reliable as they’re based on real usage data, reflecting what people are actually pinning into and searching for on Pinterest. Growing numbers of people pinning perfect pics of pixie-cuts (try saying that after a wine or two) means we’ll see more of them strutting our streets, and more of you will be tempted to do the same as a result. You’ve got to get that mop on-trend right?
In many ways though, this type of insight is far more useful than the big sweeping ones – largely because if you aren’t already thinking about what impact those will have you’re in serious trouble. Think of them as something you should stand back from, to look for patterns that might lead to ideas for something new. It’s more like reading tea-leaves: let your brain interpret an unusual set of stimulus and you’ll likely create somewhere unexpected.
Right, must go, we have to go and re-brand all of our furniture as ‘hipstoric’ and get it on eBay.