7 events that shook up tech in 2022

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Things have always evolved rapidly in the world of new technologies. But we can say that 2022 was the year of great upheavals. Between the fall in the capitalizations of the digital giants, the collapse in sales of smartphones and PCs, or even the problems in cryptocurrencies, the crisis has not spared tech.

But 2022 is also a year that could herald a new era, that of chips made in the USA, artificial intelligence, etc. In this article, we offer you a small retrospective of the events that brought about great upheavals.

1 – Crisis among the digital giants

In 2020 and 2021, the main digital players were considered safe havens. Indeed, last year, companies like Google, Facebook or Apple broke records. And their growth was exceptional. But in 2022, with inflation, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and the fear of a recession, macroeconomic conditions have rapidly deteriorated. And this time, the digital giants were not immune. Advertising revenue is down at some companies, smartphone and PC sales are plunging, and stocks are falling.

Even Apple, which is nevertheless more resilient than other digital players (because it sells high-end products and its customers have more purchasing power), has seen its stock plummet from the record high at the start of the year. As we mentioned in a previous article, between the beginning of January and the end of December 2022, the market capitalization of the Cupertino company lost nearly 1,000 billion dollars. In addition, Apple was penalized by the confinements in China which reduced the production capacities of iPhones of its supplier Foxconn.

On the side of Google and Amazon, we are tightening our belts. And at Facebook, we took drastic measures to cut costs, with the layoff of 11,000 employees. Xioami, a leading smartphone maker, will lay off up to 10% of its employees. And chipmakers are seeing their orders plummet. We went from a shortage of chips, to a surplus of stock among the customers of these manufacturers. One could cite many other examples, but in essence, 2022 was the opposite of 2021 (a year of all records).

Apple loses nearly $1 trillion in market capitalization

2 – FTX went down

The crisis has not spared cryptocurrencies either. In 2021, major cryptos such as Bitcoin or Ethereum had seen record values, before collapsing in 2022. In the sector, this year has been one of layoffs, bankruptcies and questioning. But the bankruptcy that most marked the sector was that of FTX, which was one of the main crypto exchanges in the world. This came as a shock, as some thought FTX was “too big to fail”, or too big to fail.

2022 has shown us that even with a company of this size, we are not immune to unpleasant surprises. In addition, the fall of FTX has also called into question the “centralization” of cryptos on platforms. And more and more people (who are becoming aware of the risks of this centralization) are opting to store their digital assets on decentralized solutions, such as the wallets of the French company Ledger. Otherwise, now, people are vigilant about Binance, the leader in crypto exchanges. And the events of 2022 are likely to bring a wave of cryptocurrency and digital asset regulation around the world. As a reminder, in Europe, we are already preparing a regulation of cryptos with the MiCA bill.

FTX: 10 figures that illustrate the extent of the damage

3- Ethereum 2.0

Fortunately, we did not have all bad news in 2022. Indeed, while cryptos were in crisis, Ethereum released its version 2.0. This update, concocted for years, moved the blockchain from the consensus mechanism of proof of work to that of proof of stake. Thanks to this change, Ethereum no longer needs power-hungry machines to validate transactions.

This paves the way for the adoption of ETH crypto as a true means of payment. Indeed, besides the fact that proof of stake puts an end to ecological concerns, it should also allow the blockchain to manage more transactions at the same time. Finally, Ethereum could serve as an example, and we can hope that other energy-intensive cryptos will take the plunge in the future.

Ethereum no longer consumes as much energy as Ireland or Austria

4 – The European Union dictates its rules

With the Right to be forgotten, the GDPR, etc. the European Union was a pioneer in the regulation of digital players. And in 2022, it continued by developing new rules which, in the coming years, will affect the products of companies like Apple, Google, etc. Among these rules, there is the obligation to use the USB-C port for charging smartphones, tablets, etc. When this new rule comes into effect, Apple will therefore be forced to replace its Lightning port with the USB-C standard on future iPhones.

In October, the European Union also passed the Digital Services Act or DSA, which, according to the Ministry of Economy, “aims to protect online users from illegal, dangerous and harmful content.” The DMA or legislation relating to digital markets, aims to regulate the giants of the sector, and bring healthier competition. The DMA will affect the major platforms, which the legislation describes as “access controllers” and could for example force Apple to end its closed system on the iPhone, by forcing the firm to authorize the installation of applications outside the App Store. .

USB-C, privacy, competition… how Europe is changing the rules of global Tech

5 – Elon Musk buys Twitter

The takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk is one of the big tech events of 2022, as the media talks about it every day. But in addition to the (bad) buzz of Musk due to his management of the platform, and the consequences for Tesla shares, this takeover should have significant long-term impacts. First, on the Twitter side, Musk’s arrival has already brought about big changes on the platform. There were layoffs, feature changes, and moderation policy changes (Musk calls himself a free speech “absolutist”).

And the transformation of Twitter will continue in 2023. The objective of the new boss of Twitter is to make it a super-application comparable to WeChat in China. Via this project, called “X”, Elon Musk wants to create a Twitter 2.0 which would not be limited to the social network and messaging, but which would include other functionalities such as payment. Alternatively, the Twitter takeover also reminded us of the risk associated with centralized platforms, which can be taken over (and/or suddenly change policy). Following this takeover, users rushed to Mastodon, the decentralized alternative to Twitter.

We tried Mastodon for two weeks (we are happy to stop)

6 – Is Google still irreplaceable?

A few months ago, we still thought Google was irreplaceable. It dominates the search engine market and so far no competitor (even those who promise privacy protection) has really worried the firm. But that was before. In 2022, we witnessed the emergence of the OpenAI company and its artificial intelligence ChatGPT. This is an ultra-sophisticated chatbot that seems to have answers for everything!

And if OpenAI has already warned that at the moment it is not a reliable product for “serious” things, students are already using it to do their homework, media have tested it to create an article , and some people ask the chatbot for questions related to their personal lives. 5 days after its launch, ChatGPT has accumulated 1 million users. And now, we think that this artificial intelligence has the potential to dethrone Google. Indeed, instead of entering keywords to obtain lists of links on Google, Internet users could later obtain information by asking questions to ChatGPT.

It is rumored that ChatGPT would really worry Google, which would have even declared a “red code”. The firm would have even mobilized teams to develop a response to this AI, which could be presented in 2023. And if Google has the means to create a similar product, the firm could hesitate to deploy its solution. Indeed, a competitor to ChatGPT developed by Google could reduce search engine traffic, and therefore advertising revenue. Also, Google has a reputation to protect, while OpenAI, which is a small company, can afford to take risks.

Worried by this AI, Google declares a “red code”

7 – James Webb and Artemis 1

On the space side, there have been major breakthroughs. In July, the United States publishes the very first image taken by the James Webb telescope. This is the image of hundreds of galaxies, whose light has passed through space for 13 billion years. As we mentioned in a previous article, this space telescope has three missions:

  • “Observing galaxies and stars in formation
  • Discover the first galaxies in the Universe
  • Observing new planetary systems, finding traces of life”

Why this first photo taken by James Webb is historic

In 2022, NASA also carried out the Artemis 1 mission, as part of an even more ambitious Moon conquest project: an Artemis 2 mission that will be manned.

5 highlights about the Artemis 1 mission around the Moon

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