As 2023 ends, it's important to reflect on the predictions that SAS leaders made at the beginning of the year. Let’s look at some of these predictions and see how accurate they were. We'll explore forecasts related to health care, human resources, AI, data, renewable energy and more.
Let's dive in and see how these predictions panned out.
Health care: The year of the "non" patient
At the start of 2023, predictions pointed towards a transformative year in health care, emphasizing the need to shift from a reactive to a proactive approach. Online health consultations and health providers embedded in retail locations were expected to improve patient access and experience while addressing health disparities and inequalities.
At the end of 2023, we’re seeing a mixed picture. While the adoption of telehealth and online consultations improved patient access and convenience, addressing health disparities remained a significant challenge.
While many countries improved health service coverage and reduced catastrophic out-of-pocket health spending, indicating persisting disparities, achieving universal health coverage still proved elusive despite the promise of greater equity in health care delivery.
But, recognizing the need for a more holistic approach to health care is a positive development. The prediction that 2023 would be the year of the "non" patient emphasized the importance of treating health consumers more equitably and focusing on proactive preventive medicine. This shift in mindset may be laying the groundwork for more meaningful change.
Human resources: Diverse, equitable, and inclusive work culture
In human resources, predictions foresaw a growing reliance on HR and analytics teams to understand employee data and create more inclusive work environments. Companies were expected to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion as integral to their business strategy beyond HR functions.
2023 revealed a complex reality. While employees value workplace diversity and believe their companies paid the right amount of attention to it, there were significant differences based on gender and political affiliation. The prediction that data-driven strategies would play a more prominent role in shaping diverse, equitable, and inclusive work cultures appears to be accurate.
The fact that there is growing awareness of the importance of DEI is a positive sign, even though there is still work to be done to ensure that these efforts are universally embraced.
Trustworthy AI: Addressing bias in artificial intelligence
One of the significant concerns in the tech industry is the issue of bias in artificial intelligence. Predictions in 2023 highlighted the need to recognize that biases are inherent to humans and, by extension, AI systems. The focus should be on developing AI that can predict and mitigate harmful biases to secure trust in AI systems.
While the number of incidents related to AI misuse has been on the rise, you can also see a growing awareness of the importance of addressing AI bias. Last year’s prediction appears to be on target because it emphasized the increased acknowledgment of the problem and the need for proactive measures to mitigate bias in AI.
Data: The rise of specialized data scientists
The data science predictions suggested a shift from training generalist data scientists to focusing on industry-specific knowledge. This was seen as necessary to meet business demands effectively.
We’ve seen that trend toward specialized data scientists gain momentum. As businesses apply data science to real-world problems, the need for industry-specific expertise has become clear. This shift underscores the importance of aligning data science with various industries' specific dynamics and goals.
Renewable energy: Accelerated adoption
Predictions for renewable energy in 2023 anticipated an acceleration in its adoption, fueled by innovations and investments in energy-storage technologies.
The adoption of renewable energy sources did accelerate, particularly in response to disruptions in the energy sector. As fossil fuel costs increase and vulnerabilities become more evident, energy producers have a growing incentive to invest in renewable infrastructure. This prediction aligns with the reality of shifting energy landscapes and the need for sustainable solutions.
Digital twins: Enhancing supply chains
Digital twins, as predicted, played a crucial role in improving supply chains and reducing the impact of disruptions. The ability to simulate real-world scenarios allowed organizations to respond rapidly to disruptions caused by climate change and natural disasters.
Organizations are increasingly relying on digital twins to enhance their supply chain resilience. The ability to model and simulate supply chain operations in real time has proven invaluable in adapting to challenges.
Unstructured data for health care: Supporting vulnerable communities
The prediction that unstructured data would become a critical tool for supporting the health of vulnerable populations has been substantiated. State and local governments have recognized the importance of using unstructured data to understand the complex needs of these communities better.
By capturing information such as socioeconomic risk, goals and clinical history from unstructured sources, governments and health care providers can make more informed decisions and better distribute resources to protect vulnerable communities.
Low-code analytics: Empowering everyone with AI
The prediction that low-code analytics would empower all skill levels to take part in the analytics process has been realized. This shift toward "analytics for everyone" aligns with the broader trend of democratizing artificial intelligence. It allows people from diverse backgrounds to contribute to the analytics process, making it more accessible and inclusive.
ESG: Financial services is doubling down on sustainability
The final prediction retrospective focuses on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives in the financial sector. Despite economic turbulence, many financial institutions redoubled their ESG efforts, recognizing the importance of addressing societal issues.
At year’s end, let’s reflect
The 2023 predictions in health care, technology, and various other industries have, to a large extent, aligned with the emerging trends and challenges of the year. While progress has been made, there are persistent issues and challenges that demand continued attention and effort. The growing awareness of biases in AI, the acceleration of renewable energy adoption, and the shift towards analytics for everyone are a few examples of how these predictions have played out in the real world.
Let’s reflect on these valuable insights into the ever-evolving landscape of our interconnected world and be reminded of the importance of adapting and innovating to address emerging challenges. As we look to the future, it’s crucial to remain vigilant, proactive, and responsive to the evolving needs of our society and planet.