Welcome to the January 2023 edition of Top Conversations in Technology, where we break down which topics are leading, rising and falling each month to help technology marketers maximize relevance and adapt to changing market dynamics. In this month’s analysis, we focus on variations in news and blog citation volumes month-over-month (versus December 2022) and year-over-year (versus January 2022).
Big Picture: In the words of Morpheus, welcome to the matrix. Artificial Intelligence *seems* to be all anyone’s talking about, yet out of 224 topics we track, its overall ranking held steady at #8 despite a 38% increase in citations from December to January. However, most AI-related subtopics grew at a faster rate, with #62 Generative AI up 163%, #116 Conversational AI up 19%, #169 AI Ethics up 3% and #201 AI Data Mining up 7%. Only one of the AI subtopics we track lost ground – #218 Emotional AI, which fell 62% after spiking in December tied to research on how emotion-expressing AI chatbots can impact customer service. Spoiler alert – they aren’t empathetic. In the coming months it’s likely we’ll see growth in many things related to AI, but with ebbs and flows depending on the way the wind blows.
Top Topics: The top four topics from last month held position. Cryptocurrencies remained in the #1 spot despite posting a decline in volume (down 5%). #2 Bitcoin (up 5%), #3 Smartphones (up 10%) and #4 Supply Chain (up 6%) all posted increases. Layoffs/Furloughs jumped from #12 to #5 (up 122%), with a newsworthy amount of tech companies announcing job cuts to start the year.
Moving down the list, #6 Blockchain was basically level month-to-month, while #7 Drones posted a decline (down 11%) and fell two spots in the rankings. The remaining top 10 topics posted double-digit gains. E-commerce ranked #9 for the first time since 2019 but slid from #7 despite showing a 15% increase in related discussions. #10 Wi-Fi (up 27%), #11 Cybersecurity (up 17%) and #12 5G (up 19%) showed a similar trend, each down one spot despite posting month-over-month volume gains.
What’s Climbing: Six topics registered triple-digit gains from December to January:
- #219 Adversary Detection – up 293%
- #196 Embedded Payments – up 181%
- #163 Generative AI – up 163%
- #99 Social Commerce – up 133%
- #175 Location Tracking/Privacy – up 125%
- #5 Layoffs/Furloughs – up 121%
Half of the climbing topics were ranked 175+, so related volume changes were less impressive. #99 Social Commerce posted a big gain and broke into the top 100. #163 Generative AI, a new topic for 2023, registered exponential growth in recent months (since September). The huge jump for Layoffs is hardly surprising and not likely this term will lose momentum any time soon. #139 Ransomware-as-a-Service/RaaS (up 92%) and #90 Workplace Safety (up 83%) both showed noteworthy gains and 25-spot climbs in the rankings (from #164 and #115, respectively).
Looking at our top 50 topics, outside Layoffs, we saw gains tied to #25 Robotics (up 42%), #36 Ransomware (up 39%), #8 Artificial Intelligence (up 38%), #40 Augmented Reality (up 37%), #39 Smart Homes (up 28%), #37 Cloud Computing (25%) and #13 Semiconductors (up 25%). Given all the ChatGPT hype, it’s interesting to see where Artificial Intelligence is relative to other growing topics, as well as noting that Ransomware attacks remain a central part of ongoing security discussions.
What’s Falling? Only about one-third of topics lost ground from December to January (73 of 223 topics tested). While there were no triple-digit losses, six topics shed more than 50% of their coverage volume, including:
- #223 Threat Telemetry – down 91%
- #221 Cyber Fusion – down 76%
- #220 Thermal Monitoring – down 70%
- #187 Threat Intelligence Platform – down 64%
- #217 Emotional AI – down 62%
- #223 Asynchronous Video – down 61%
Nearly all losses are in the 200+ rankings, so highly volatile topics. But looking broader, over half of the 73 topics that declined in January lost ground for the second month in a row. This includes #1 Cryptocurrencies (down 5%), #17 Misinformation (down 14%), #21 Open Source (down 3%), #30 SaaS (down 1%), #32 Disinformation (down 3%), #42 Digital Media (down 7%) and #46 Big Data (down 5%). While not huge losses, these represent the start of trends to keep an eye on.
So What, Now What? Thus far in 2023 we’ve seen a lot of hype around AI and machine learning thanks to the proliferation of ChatGPT and related tools. But with underlying concerns due to economic trends, the possible/debated recession, cryptocurrency instability and ongoing ransomware attacks, what surges next is anybody’s guess. (If you really want to know, take the red pill. If not, blue. Either way, join us for next month’s installment…)
Questions? Comments? See a topic we are not tracking? Please share below, and we will address in future installments.