Two breakthroughs made 2023 tech’s most innovative year in over a decade

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    Apple Vision Pro (left) and ChatGPT (right) inject new energy into 2023 technology.

    Jason Heiner/ZDNET

    Government oversight of big tech and a series of iterative upgrades to iconic products like the iPhone have largely dominated the tech industry over the past decade. It's the first time since the rise of 4G ushered in a wave of real-time apps like Uber and his Airbnb that a new innovation has become a major topic in the tech industry.

    But 2023 was a different year, with two big breakthrough stories at the center.

    1.ChatGPT and generation AI

    Although ChatGPT technically launched in November 2022, it sparked a new wave of innovation and intense interest in AI that rippled throughout 2023 and became the biggest news of the year.

    ChatGPT's biggest advancement is in making technology feel more human. Unlike Google, the Internet, and other forms of search that require you to know specific phrases and syntax to interact with a computer and get the best results, ChatGPT uses the same kind of natural language you use to chat. You can ask questions at Man. And it's taking the world by storm because the results you get are surprisingly good and often helpful. ChatGPT reached its first 1 million users in just 5 days, and just 2 months after its launch, he surpassed his 100 million active users in January 2023. Now it's approaching 2 million.

    ChatGPT is very good at sounding like a human, so it can fool people into thinking it's more capable than it really is. It even tempts us that it might be amazingly smart, like sci-fi AIs like Data from Star Trek, or terrifying like movie AIs like The Terminator or iRobot. . However, ChatGPT is very good at understanding questions, quickly searching through large amounts of publicly available data, and mimicking human speech patterns when providing answers.

    The real magic behind this technology comes from the Large Language Model (LLM) that powers it. This is the technology that enables generational AI, or conversational AI. OpenAI's GPT4 is his LLM behind ChatGPT, but he has many other LLMs at the moment that are also a big part of his 2023 story. Google's Gemini LLM, which powers Bard (a ChatGPT competitor), is one of the newest, but Meta's Llama 2 and Amazon's Olympus are also potential LLM competitors for ChatGPT and other purposes. It will be.

    Of course, LLM and generative AI can be used for more than just creating chatbots. Other uses include:

    • Turn your ideas into AI-generated images with Dall-E
    • Summarizing large amounts of documents such as research reports and legal contracts
    • Sentiment analysis for marketing
    • Code help and automation for software developers
    • Writing assistance in creating common types of documents
    • Translating text from one language to another

    We've just scratched the surface here. LLMs are becoming increasingly faster, more efficient, and more powerful, and the number of problems they can be used to tackle in the future is likely to increase exponentially.

    2. Apple Vision Pro and a new era of AR and VR

    The Metaverse may have burned in 2022 due to the crypto market crash and general lack of interest from mainstream consumers, but something even more interesting rose from the ashes in 2023. It was a huge resurgence of interest in the next generation, third generation. His 3D experiences in AR and VR were primarily powered by his engine promoting one company: Apple.

    At its Worldwide Developer Conference in June, Apple unveiled the Vision Pro headset, a project seven years in the making. It wowed the developer community, technology analysts, and the media with a mixed reality experience of quality and fidelity never before seen in a standalone consumer headset not connected to a powerful computer. In fact, Apple called the Vision Pro not a mobile device, but a new kind of computer: a spatial computer.

    After a hands-on demo of Apple Vision Pro at WWDC, I wrote: “Apple has made a breakthrough with Vision Pro that will redefine technology, productivity, and entertainment for the next decade.”

    Apple Vision Pro is still a few months away, but I stand by its word. I've tested a variety of augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality headsets over the years, but the Vision Pro is the first one that I immediately wanted to try again after using it the first time. That's because the experience was so real and so compelling.

    Also: These 5 major technology advances in 2023 were the biggest game-changers

    Of course, Apple Vision Pro costs $3,500, and version 1.0 has a limited audience. However, this opens the door to a new level of mixed reality experiences, and more consumers will be interested in the experience.

    Case in point: After demoing the Vision Pro, I was eager to try out the $500 Meta Quest 3, which was released in October and has a newly upgraded display. I quickly found the Meta Quest 3's Supernatural app to be a much more fun and engaging way to get aerobic exercise than using a treadmill, elliptical bike, or stationary bike. And that won't be possible when Vision Pro launches.

    In short, Apple's entry into the space has ignited consumer interest in VR and AR. When I entered Best Buy on a Saturday in November, 10 to 15 children and their parents were sitting there while two Best Buy employees quickly wiped down the headsets and handed them to the next employee. I saw people standing in two lines to try out the Quest 3. Children lining up. And never was that more evident than on Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, when Meta's Quest 2 and Quest 3 outperformed his Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro on Amazon.

    final thoughts

    Both ChatGPT and Apple Vision Pro may have given us an iPhone moment, a new product release that defined what was to come and created a whole new generation of products and experiences. only time will tell. But it's clear today that ChatGPT and Apple Vision Pro have injected technology with an optimism and energy that has been missing in recent years. And because of that, they both got a lot of praise.


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