From Elon Musk's Twitter to the cryptocurrency crash: the seven technological moments of 2022
Looking back on 2022 what will it be It was remembered as an especially turbulent year for the tech industry. From the intense give and take between Twitter and Elon Musk, which has ended with the tycoon at the helm of the social network, to the collapse of the < strong>cryptocurrencies, this year has deeply shaken the market, pointing to a change in trend. Even so, the flourishing of new innovations such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) are opening the door to new businesses.
We summarize in seven keys what to do in the future. What has happened this year and what happened? where is the course It is taking over an increasingly crucial sector and with a greater impact on our lives.
The slowdown of big technologies
After two decades of unprecedented sustained growth, the technology industry has suffered a major setback in 2022. The last two years, the sector has not only achieved growth; Avoid the impact of the pandemic, but take advantage of the forced advance of digitalization to continue growing to levels never seen before. However, after the party comes the hangover. The poor economic prospects and the drop in investment in advertising, especially from the second quarter of the year, have hit the big technology companies. The slowdown in its business has translated into drastic drops in its value. Snap's capitalization has plunged 81%; Meta (owner of Facebook , Instagram and WhatsApp ) 64%; Amazon 49%; Alphabet (owner of Google and Youtube); Microsoft 30% and Apple 26%.
This setback in their accounts has led to a wave of layoffs. So far this year, more than 1,000 tech companies around the world have laid off some 152,730 employees. Meta has cut 11,000 jobs and Twitter it has purged more than 60% of its workforce. Having overestimated their prospects, companies have ended up pointing to a change of course in which investments in personnel and new projects have been drastically reduced to focus on efficiency.
Elon Musk turns on Twitter
The purchase of Twitter by Elon MuskIt has been, without a doubt, one of the news of the year. And it has been because of all the drama that it has brought with it. In April, the management of the platform and the technology mogul reached a sale agreement for 44,000 million dollars (about 41,000 million euros), a price well above its real value. Despite this, he did not stop. to publicly criticize the social network, hitting its valuation on the stock market. In July, the controversial businessman announced that he was backing down, a breach of the pact that led to his decision. to Twitter to denounce him. The trial was due to start in October, but the high chances of defeat led him to abide by the agreement.
With Musk at the helm, Twitter has become a chaotic and frenetic space. In the first few weeks, he took a lot of He killed the company's top executives and purged all of them. to almost 60% of the workforce, with complaints of not respecting the rights of the employees involved. Those who have remained have been forced to adhere to an “extreme” labor policy–according to their own words– with long hours that even force workers to give up their personal lives and sleep in the offices.
Generating money has always been a weakness of Twitter. Musk wanted to change that by launching the subscription plan twice.Twitter Blue, which, among other things, offers the blue verification pin to those who pay. The first time he had to cancel it because there was a wave of identity thefts from many companies that took them up. to suffer a brand crisis. On December 12, the network was activated. Again that plan with improvements, although it has also been highly criticized.
The dismantling of entire teams that were dedicated to moderating content has led to an increase in hate speech. It also has to do with the fact that Musk has unblocked the accounts of extreme right-wing radicals (among them, that of former President Donald Trump) or that he has stopped criminalizing the disinformation about covid. Without a clear strategy, Musk has chosen to rule Twitter impulsively and erratically, blocking the accounts of critical journalists, users who tracked the flights of his private jet, or prohibiting the sharing of links to competing social networks. . All this has earned it criticism even from its allies.
Horrible year for cryptocurrencies
If 2021 was the year of the 'boom' of cryptocurrencies, 2022 has been the year of its collapse. In November 2021, Bitcoin exceeded 2021. the $56,000 value. Today it is only 15,000. In the last 12 months it has plummeted almost 63%. And that is the virtual currency with the greatest prestige, trust and reputation. What? has it happened?
This year, the promising crypto market has turned into a winter. In May, the Luna coin passed It went from being one of the ten most valued in the world to sinking. From one day to the next, it happened. worth nothing, leaving thousands of investors stranded and dragging other projects. The plummeting market has devastated big lenders like Celsius Network, hedge funds like Three Arrows Capital and, especially, FTX, one of the biggest trading platforms. trading in the world. Its founder, the young Sam Bankman-Fried, just 30 years old, has gone from being a millionaire to being bankrupt, from being revered on front pages as the ideologue of a new world to being arrested and accused of one of the biggest frauds of recent history.
The 'cryptobros' promised that 2022 would be a year to continue accumulating wealth, but instead they have ruined millions of investors around the world, who denounce the 'malpractices' followed by the giants of a sector that wobbles In one year, the cryptocurrency market has seen more than 2 trillion dollars vanish. Prospects for 2024 are no better.
Emerging Artificial Intelligence
In the tech world, 2022 will be a big day. It is remembered for the emergence of the so-called generative Artificial Intelligence, that is, those systems capable of creating any type of image or text based on the requests of its users. Although not new, in recent months more and more advanced models have been released such as DALL-E, ChatGPT or Stable Diffusion that have fascinated users, popularizing AI as a game beyond its limits. of the technological niche. The creative capacity of these programs is fascinating and opens the door to transform art, although it also presents some risks related to both its veracity and the impact it can have among artists who make a living from their creations.
TikTok leads the way
As Big Tech has been hit by macroeconomic turmoil ;mics, TikTok has gone another way. The video platform of the Chinese company ByteDanceIt continues to be the most downloaded application on the planet and its popularity is increasing, being increasingly used even as an information search engine. Thus, it plans to reach 1,800 million users by the end of 2022, which would mean record growth. It also aims to multiply its benefits to 10,000 million dollars, far from the 3,880 million generated last year.
The influence of TikTok is overwhelming. The big platforms have seen their rise and especially their popularity among the youngest as a threat. And it is that some studies suggest that in 2027, TikTok will already enter the market. More for advertising than Facebook, Instagram and Youtube combined. Thus, these three platforms have chosen to copy their short video model. This commitment to entertainment and the emergence of other 'apps' such as BeReal point to a change in the trend of social networks.
However, not everything is joy for TikTok. And it is that, in parallel to its rise, the concern of certain countries like the US about its influence is also growing. Washington has already moved to ban the use of the 'app' among government officials. Next year that tension could escalate.
The regulatory wave grows
The first decade of the 2000s was the decade of the birth and heyday of big tech companies. After seeing the political, economic and social impact that its growth and uncontrolled practices have had, the second decade is that of regulation. 2022 has once again demonstrated this tendency of the authorities to curb the excesses of the industry giants.
The EU It has approved two pioneering measures in this regard: the Digital Services Act (DSA), which will force them to use digital services. to combat hateful content and misinformation, to limit the use of citizen data and to be more transparent, and the Digital Markets Law (DMA), which will seek to protect the public. stop their anti-competitive practices and abuse of power.
In the US, both parties support stronger regulation to combat monopolistic practices, defend privacy < /strong>and stop cyberattacksHowever, they are divided on how to limit the power of the 'Big Tech'. Although the pressure and accusations against these big companies have not stopped growing, Washington has taken little action to regulate them.
And the metaverse?
At the end of October 2021, Facebook announced a new version of the app. which was renamed Meta. In the midst of a scandal over its impact on the health of minors, the social network began to bet (almost) everything on the construction of the so-called metaverse, an immersive internet in 3D. This turn has triggered the popularization of a term until then reserved for science fiction. Throughout the last year, companies of all kinds and public administrations have exploited it to try to sell products that are still far from what they promise.
Beyond ; Despite high expectations, results are meagre. Meta is estimated to have lost an estimated $10 billion this year on its Metaverse division, an idea that could take five, 10, or 15 years to materialize. Last week, an eminence in that field left a speech.
taking advantage of its huge profits to finance this personal bet by Mark Zuckerberg. And it is not the only one. Microsoft , Google , Samsung and even Apple will compete to try to gain control of the emerging market of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality devices.