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Prediction Consensus: What the Experts See Coming in 2023

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Prediction Consensus 2023 Global Forecast Series – Predictions for the year ahead

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Prediction Consensus: What the Experts See Coming in 2023

In this, our fourth year of Prediction Consensus (now part of our more comprehensive 2023 Global Forecast Series), we’ve learned a few things about the universe of predictions, experts, outlooks, and forecasts.

  1. Experts are reasonably good at predicting the future one year out, though they are also in a strong position to help shape the future through their influential thought leadership and actions.
  2. Situations can and will flare up in unexpected ways, which can have knock-on effects on the whole system (e.g. COVID-19, Ukraine invasion).
  3. Experts are just as susceptible to hype as the rest of us, as evidenced by the glut of Web3 predictions in 2022 and AI predictions this year.

Of course, we’re susceptible to hype as well, which is why we asked ChatGPT to write the intro to this article:

prediction consensus ai chatgpt intro

Not bad. But, simple curiosity aside, it’s the practical considerations we’ll focus on today. This article serves as an overview of how experts think the markets will move, how trends will develop, and which risks and opportunities to watch over the coming 12 months.

Let’s gaze into the crystal ball.

The Economic Vibe Check

First, we’ll look at some big picture themes, and how experts see them playing out over 2023.

Inflation: This was the top economic story of last year, so it’s a natural starting place. Many of the expert opinions in this year’s database (now at 500+ predictions) are pointing to inflation easing off as the year progresses*. On the downside, few predict that inflation will drop back down to the 2% range that Fed policymakers favor.

GDP: Forecasters have been revising their economic projections downward in recent weeks. The latest was World Bank, which now sees global growth declining to 1.7% in 2023, down from 3% just six months ago. Most of the predictions in our database see global economic growth in the range of 1.5% to 2%.

Recession: As 2022 came to a close, the broad sentiment among experts in the financial industry is that recession is all but inevitable in developed markets this year. As dawn breaks in 2023, a few analysts now feel that the U.S.—and possibly Europe—could narrowly avoid recession.

Markets: Experts on Wall Street and beyond are cautiously optimistic about equities, and after the worst year on record for bonds in 2022, most analysts are declaring that “Bonds are back”.

*Interestingly, this was also last year’s prediction, but the scale of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a curve ball that caught many experts off guard.

AI is Eating the World

Jobs being displaced by automation is far from a new theme, but given the exponential improvements in AI in recent years, the risk to entire industries feels more existential today.

As an example, let’s consider art and design. One of the ways many illustrators and artists earn a living is through commissions⁠—essentially being hired and paid to create a specific piece of art in their style.

Today though, free, powerful AI tools, such as Midjourney, allow users to generate high-quality art in an infinite number of styles with just a few clicks. Real art will never truly go out of style, and accomplished artists will always attract an audience, but this one example shows how quickly technology can disrupt an industry. (Artists can take solace in the fact that AI is still comically bad at rendering hands.)

predictions about artificial technology for 2023

Of course, there are obvious positive aspects to this technological advancement as well. Generative AI tools are useful for generating ideas and mock-ups, and even functional snippets of code. AI systems like AlphaFold unlock a world of possibilities in scientific domains.

From the hundreds of predictions we evaluated, it’s clear that experts view AI as a major catalyst this year. AI start-ups are forcing Big Tech to innovate faster, and employees are finding new ways to use AI-powered tools to increase productivity.

Experts predict that AI will impact peoples’ lives in a much more visible and tangible way in 2023 than in past years.

The China Factor

As world’s second largest economy and linchpin of global trade, events in China have a major impact on the world economy.

Xi Jinping’s reversal of Zero-COVID restrictions should drastically change the trajectory of the country’s economy. For one, reopening will unleash a flood of household spending and consumption.

china predictions 2023

China’s reopening will also impact other economies as well. For example, the resumption of travel will be a boon to destinations favored by Chinese vacationers. Economically, Hong Kong stands to benefit immensely—its GDP could jump upwards of 8% after reopening is complete. Emerging market commodity exporters could see a lift as well, though inflation could be reinvigorated as a result.

In the U.S., a storm is brewing over the extremely popular video app, TikTok. Many experts predict that regulators will either ban the app altogether in 2023, or force the sale of the company to an American entity. Regardless how that situation plays out, it underscores the souring relationship between the U.S. and China. The rivalry will continue to have ripple effects on the global markets throughout the year.

Energy

Energy was the S&P 500’s top performing sector two years in a row, and many experts feel that more growth is on the horizon.

The global system that supplies us with energy is breathtakingly complex, with a lot of unpredictable factors at play. Of all factors, conflict can create the most volatility, and 2023 has a number of geopolitical risks that could impact energy supplies. First, Europe will continue to diversify its energy imports away from Russia. Recently, liquefied natural gas from the U.S. has helped fill gaps.

energy predictions 2023

Next, Iran could be a flashpoint in the Middle East this year. A brewing conflict in the region could cause instability, which will have knock-on effects on the energy industry—particularly in the event of attacks on oil and gas infrastructure.

Here are a few other factors to consider this coming year:

  • The U.S. Energy Department will aim to replenish its Strategic Petroleum Reserve
  • Easing of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela could lay the ground work for increased oil production
  • In post-Zero-COVID China, economic activity will increase, pushing up demand
  • In the UK, the energy price guarantee will rise in April, meaning higher energy bills for households

The Elon Playbook

After a lull in December (nobody wants to be the company that fires people during the holiday season) tech and tech-adjacent companies have resumed their zealous slashing of headcounts.

There had been a slew of layoffs already in 2023, topped by Salesforce, which is trimming 7,000 jobs, and Amazon, which is cutting 18,000 roles—primarily impacting the corporate side of the business.

Given the influence of Elon Musk in the tech industry, many experts are suggesting that his strategy of ruthlessly slashing headcount at Twitter might serve as inspiration for other technology leaders.

tech layoff predictions 2023

Employees in the tech industry are very well compensated, and many were hired during periods of intense competition between companies to attract talent and capture market share.

During a downturn, it’s tempting—and often necessary—for companies to course-correct. There were also predictions that the whole start-up and investment ecosystem could be switching from a hypergrowth to a value-focused mindset, which is a theme that is worth consideration in 2023.

🔮🔮🔮
The Prediction Consensus was created using our database of 500+ expert predictions for 2023.

Today, we also launched the 2023 Global Forecast Series report, which dives into these themes and predictions in much deeper detail.

Make sure you get this cheat sheet for 2023 by becoming a VC+ member right now.
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Charting the Next Generation of Internet

In this graphic, Visual Capitalist has partnered with MSCI to explore the potential of satellite internet as the next generation of internet innovation.

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Teaser image of a bubble chart showing the large addressable market of satellite internet.

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The following content is sponsored by MSCI

Could Tomorrow’s Internet be Streamed from Space?

In 2023, 2.6 billion people could not access the internet. Today, companies worldwide are looking to innovative technology to ensure more people are online at the speed of today’s technology. 

Could satellite internet provide the solution?  

In collaboration with MSCI, we embarked on a journey to explore whether tomorrow’s internet could be streamed from space. 

Satellite Internet’s Potential Customer Base

Millions of people live in rural communities or mobile homes, and many spend much of their lives at sea or have no fixed abode. So, they cannot access the internet simply because the technology is unavailable. 

Satellite internet gives these communities access to the internet without requiring a fixed location. Consequently, the volume of people who could get online using satellite internet is significant:

AreaPotential Subscribers
Households Without Internet Access600,000,000
RVs 11,000,000
Recreational Boats8,500,000
Ships100,000
Commercial Aircraft25,000

Advances in Satellite Technology

Satellite internet is not a new concept. However, it has only recently been that roadblocks around cost and long turnaround times have been overcome.

NASA’s space shuttle, until it was retired in 2011, was the only reusable means of transporting crew and cargo into orbit. It cost over $1.5 billion and took an average of 252 days to launch and refurbish. 

In stark contrast, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 can now launch objects into orbit and maintain them at a fraction of the time and cost, less than 1% of the space shuttle’s cost.

Average Rocket Turnaround TimeAverage Launch/Refurbishment Cost
Falcon 9*21 days< $1,000,000
Space Shuttle252 days$1,500,000,000 (approximately)

Satellites are now deployed 300 miles in low Earth orbit (LEO) rather than 22,000 miles above Earth in Geostationary Orbit (GEO), previously the typical satellite deployment altitude.

What this means for the consumer is that satellite internet streamed from LEO has a latency of 40 ms, which is an optimal internet connection. Especially when compared to the 700 ms stream latency experienced with satellite internet streamed from GEO. 

What Would it Take to Build a Satellite Internet?

SpaceX, the private company that operates Starlink, currently has 4,500 satellites. However, the company believes it will require 10 times this number to provide comprehensive satellite internet coverage.

Charting the number of active satellites reveals that, despite the increasing number of active satellites, many more must be launched to create a comprehensive satellite internet. 

YearNumber of Active Satellites
20226,905
20214,800
20203,256
20192,272
20182,027
20171,778
20161,462
20151,364
20141,262
20131,187

Next-Generation Internet Innovation

Innovation is at the heart of the internet’s next generation, and the MSCI Next Generation Innovation Index exposes investors to companies that can take advantage of potentially disruptive technologies like satellite internet. 

You can gain exposure to companies advancing access to the internet with four indexes: 

  • MSCI ACWI IMI Next Generation Internet Innovation Index
  • MSCI World IMI Next Generation Internet Innovation 30 Index
  • MSCI China All Shares IMI Next Generation Internet Innovation Index
  • MSCI China A Onshore IMI Next Generation Internet Innovation Index

MSCI thematic indexes are objective, rules-based, and regularly updated to focus on specific emerging trends that could evolve.

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Click here to explore the MSCI thematic indexes

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