Technology Predictions for 2023 from PARC Researchers
PARC Researchers’ Technology Predictions for 2023
As we often do at the beginning of each year, we asked members of the PARC research team to share their perspectives on where technology will take us in 2023 and beyond. Below are some of their responses.
Climate change mitigation, supply chain security, sensors, and more
I believe in 2023 we will see more focus in developing new solutions related to mitigating climate change; rethinking how we make things to secure more on-shore or localized production and reduce reliance on external supplies and raw materials (e.g. rare-earth; certain pharmaceuticals); increasing use of sensors and clever analytics across multiple industries to improve efficiencies; the birth of ARPA-H; ongoing DARPA attention on preventing bad events; quantum sensing (not computing) gradually emerging as the first practical application of quantum; rethinking “what’s next” in AI (collective intelligence?).
I firmly believe that the development of battery technology will gain further traction, both in grid storage and portable applications, particularly in light of volatile energy prices in recent months providing added motivation. My second, less firmly held position, is investment in CO2 conversion technology development. While CO2 capture and sequestration are a hot research topic being developed by numerous institutions, the holy grail would be in the large-scale conversion of the CO2 to valuable products such as plastics or organic compounds via catalysis or a highly energy efficient process wherein energy consumption would be far outpaced by the energy gains by making high-value products.
Securement of critical minerals and food sufficiency
With increasing lifespans, finite resources, and black-swan events (like the pandemic, conflicts), securing a steady supply of raw materials and nutrients for the sustenance of societies will become crucial to nations. I predict a greater focus on novel technological opportunities towards self-sufficiency in procurement of minerals needed for electronics manufacturing (e.g., through extraction from waste, phytomining) and agricultural resources (e.g., indoor farming, lab-grown nutrients) to feed the population. In the long run, this will aid the planet by reducing wastage and transportation/farming related GHG emissions by making local and weaning us away from animal husbandry.
Language processing AI model
I predict that GPT-3 will be extended to do simple math correctly by adding special code that gets called when numbers are involved, and that this will be the beginning of adding specialized reasoners that extend GPT-3 beyond a simple language model.
Hydrogen, AI for early diagnostics
A rapid increase in research investment in hydrogen technology will lead to a growth in zero-emission transportation modes powered by fuel cells. This will have a positive environmental impact on the transportation of goods and the heavy duty-sector. (I heard ARPA-E is trying to increase the usage of trains as an alternative to trucks, but that seems not an easy transition in US.) Modeling and AI tools will have a growing impact in the early diagnostics and treatment of cancer, opening the opportunity for more targeted care and a more systematic approach to drug discovery and testing.
Carbon Capture Going Mainstream
The Inflation Reduction Act changes the game when it comes to carbon capture – including government subsidies for capturing CO2, up to $85 per ton when capturing from polluting sources and $180 per ton when capturing directly from air. On top of this, the new bill includes massive investments in CO2 pipelines as well as $3.5 billion to construct four new direct air capture hubs. Not only will government intervention boost carbon capture, but also the private industry as they further invest in the voluntary CO2 credit market and firms follow-through on their commitments to net-zero.
Remote presence, deep models, and green energy
I predict we will see:
- Greater emphasis on remote presence technologies even in industries/sectors that aren’t obviously open to it (long-haul trucking, medical supervision)
- Hyper-realistic deep models that can produce high quality multi-modal output (text + video, speech + images)
- Innovative green energy breakthroughs
Our work is centered around a series of Focus Areas that we believe are the future of science and technology.
We’re continually developing new technologies, many of which are available for Commercialization.