The Wired World


From the creative minds behind WIRED, the recognised authority on the future, THE WIRED WORLD IN 2013 is a new annual trend report that covers a broad range of topics across eight sections; from science to arts, politics to medicine and culture to the environment. With over 100 articles by associates from the far reaches of the WIRED network, this is an invaluable guide to the year ahead for the knowledge-hungry.

United Kingdom
Conde Nast Publications Ltd

in this issue

2 min
meet our experts

DAVID BAKER “Science benefits from a diversity of voices, but the contributions of women and non-white people have often been downplayed,” says Baker, who edits The WIRED World. “So it’s great to see that being rectified, with projects next year acknowledging the work of Rosalind Franklin and Vera Rubin. As Jessica Wade says in her Science prediction, greater diversity will only strengthen the pursuit of knowledge.” DAMBISA MOYO “Economic recovery will not be sustainable without emerging economies recovering too,” explains global economist Dambisa Moyo. “Developed countries cannot maintain their economic standing if they can’t sell goods and services abroad.” TOM COPINGER-SYMES “Like all large organisations, UK Defence is working to maximise the opportunities and manage the risks of the digital age,” says the UK Strategic Command’s director of military digitisation. “Defence must do all this…

3 min
make change for good

Every year, we ask a group of thoughtful people within the WIRED network to look 12 months ahead and make a specific prediction. It’s never an easy task and the testing nature of the challenge has been thrown into relief over the nearly two years since Covid-19 first emerged in Wuhan. The weight of opinion appears to be that while we don’t know the exact form of the next global emergency, there are strong indicators that it will originate in four ways: the climate crisis, antibiotic resistance, another disease jumping species, or a devastating cyber attack on critical infrastructure. But it’s also worth stepping back and celebrating the success of some of the innovators and disciplines that WIRED covers: in July, neurosurgeon Dr Edward Chang developed a “speech neuroprosthesis” – a…

3 min
we’ll build safe social networks

In the 15 years of its existence, social media has devolved from a place to keep in touch with friends and family to a breeding ground for toxicity. The majority of social networks are built on the principles of a masculine and privileged economy where likes, comments, shares and followers drive social currency. When platforms exist under this malignant cache of status, they create and promote unsafe spaces for marginalised groups. Next year, the tech industry will take concrete steps to address and correct that imbalance. For people who are marginalised, social media can feel like being in an abusive relationship. Research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit has found that 85 per cent of women globally have witnessed online violence against other women (including from outside their networks). For BIPOC…

3 min
tech will get a global outlook

Silicon Valley has always been one of the primary destinations for technological product development, leadership and the funding needed to power it, but if Covid-19 has taught us one thing, it’s that the centre of gravity for the tech sector is shifting. The next billion people that come online will be from emerging markets, and the success of the platforms they engage with will rest on how they empower, inspire and create personal and professional value at pace with that online access. In 2022, there will be increased geographic distribution of the leaders behind global technological innovation, leading to global services, brands and products that better serve everyone. The pandemic was a forcing function in this arena. Everyone had to contend with an unprecedented disruption to health, supply chains, business and general…

3 min
automation will be led by workers

“Citizen developer” has been a popular phrase in tech circles for almost a decade, but 2022 will be the year that this role takes on a new importance as non-technical developers come to the fore of digital transformation. Due to operational changes with the onset of the pandemic, the speed and scale of technological development has reached heights unseen since the beginning of the digital revolution. A McKinsey & Company study published at the end of 2020 found that Covid-19 – and the requirement for employees to work remotely – had accelerated digital transformation projects by as much as seven years. Automation is in the driver’s seat for much of this change. In fact, a survey done by my company UiPath this year found that 40 per cent of employers increased investment…

3 min
computers will find new ways to match human intelligence

“Wu Dao” translates from the Chinese as “enlightenment”. It is a fitting name for the very latest in natural language processing (NLP) – the ability for machines to process and understand human language. The Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence unveiled Wu Dao 2.0 in June 2021 and this model holds the current title of the largest neural network in the world – an accolade that not that long ago belonged to GPT-3, released in 2020 by OpenAI, a research laboratory founded by Elon Musk and others in California. Wu Dao 2.0 has 1.75 trillion parameters, ten times that of GPT-3 and can perform a variety of tasks such as image recognition, and text and image generation. The model pens poems in the traditional Chinese style, writes essays and answers all manner of…