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Reflecting on 2023

The end of the year is a great time for reflecting on how things went over the previous twelve months - and for contemplating how to improve one’s conditions in the year ahead. And so, as we round-out the year I wanted to take stock of my Predictions for 2023, which I made around this time last year. I think you’ll find that I (unfortunately) hit the mark on several predictions this year, and in several cases I (fortunately) missed the mark entirely.

And as with last year’s predictions post, a word of warning: I tend to look for negative trends when it comes to history and world events, so I think you’ll find my reflections will largely err in that direction. Likewise, as an American you’ll find my reflections are heavily influenced by philosophically Western views. If you’re looking for cupcakes and unicorns in my reflections on 2023 - you’ll probably be disappointed and should maybe skip this post 😅 For those not easily disheartened, read on at risk of gazing into the abyss.


COVID-19

While the media’s silence on COVID-19 regarding the serious effects it has on people’s lives continued in 2023, we now know that at-least 14% of Americans have Long COVID. Unfortunately, this has also led to a few of my predictions coming to pass:

✅ Spawning even more infections variants of COVID-19

✅ Second-order outbreaks of other infections diseases

✅ Second-order effects in China hindering their economy after adopting a Western-style mass infection strategy

I’ll have more to say on this in my upcoming “Predictions for 2024” post, but sadly it feels as though we’re heading toward an even darker place as it relates to COVID-19 and the way both governments and the general populace are thinking about this debilitating virus.

Hint: COVID-19 is 50% more lethal than influenza (”the flu”), which everyone keeps thinking it can be compared to.

Global Economics

I expected China’s COVID-19 mass infection strategy to have significant impacts in 2023, and surprisingly we didn’t hear much about this. If the things I read online this year are at-least somewhat representative of people’s behaviors on the ground in China, the reason the impacts I predicted didn’t materialize can be traced to the population continuing to take precautions against the virus - even without their Government’s requirement to do so.

That said, here’s how my predictions stacked up this year:

❌ Significant supply chain impacts from China’s COVID-19 mass infection strategy

✅ Interest rate hikes

✅ Long COVID leading to worker replacement economic impacts

Inflation

As a result of hanging my predictions off the expected impacts of COVID-19 running rampant in China - which didn’t materialize to the extent that I thought they would - we thankfully avoided one of my predictions for 2023, while others hit the bullseye:

❌ Inflation continues to run amuck at high single-digit percentages

✅ Financial markets experience downward pressure as federal banks raise interest rates

✅ Corporations continue to report record profits

Technology

Here I once again can see the folly of hanging my predictions off China’s mass infection strategy. The first prediction in this section was also something I expected would cascade into my second prediction - but neither came to be:

❌ Lead times for core networking infrastructure continues to increase

❌ Cloud adoption scales as datacenter hardware becomes expensive / hard to acquire

I’ll have more to say on this in my “Predictions for 2024” post, but if China invades Taiwan I think all bets are off in sectors involving semiconductors and CPU / GPU chips. There’s still time (and increasing likelihood) for these predictions to become true - just not in 2023.

Information Security

It’s a surefire bet every year that data breaches will happen - and this year we witnessed some very large incidents indeed. Even so, the reason I predicted more data breaches would occur was largely because I expected more companies to bring insecure software to the cloud. Turns out companies were already using badly insecure software in the cloud due to commercial, off-the-shelf products. I think I at least deserve some partial credit here under the circumstances:

✅ / ❌ Historic volume of data breaches and security incidents (but not for the reason I proposed)

War

Of the categories that I had the most hope for this year, this one had the greatest positive outlook when the year started - and the most bleak outlook as we come to the end of the year with plenty of thanks to authoritarian (some might even say fascist) influences. Thanks, American Republicans and Viktor Orban!

❌ Ukraine takes back Crimea

❌ Putin falls out of a very high window (but we were so close!)

❌ Putin goes Nuclear in Ukraine (I’m glad to be wrong about this!

❌ China invades Taiwan (but still in the cards for 2024)

Climate Change

The world broke all kinds of (very bad) climate records this year - and while I was wrong about a very specific prediction, the general trend we’re heading in is bad indeed:

✅ Catastrophic climate events [1] [2] [3]

❌ Hoover dam reaches “dead pool” level

There’s plenty more to be said here about what we should expect in 2024, but I’ll save that for my next blog post. In the mean time, I’ll just leave this here: utility firms are paying builders to install gas appliances in homes.

Hope

Of the things I hoped for, only the one prediction I really didn’t want to see happen took place (thanks, capitalism). That said, I really would have liked to see us break the cycle of mass infection regarding COVID-19, which will inevitably lead to a whole host of negative outcomes that we’re just now starting to see play out (in spite of how much governments would like us to ignore the virus behind the curtain). More to come on this in my next blog post.

✅ Corporations continue price gouging in spite of lower interest rate increases

Final Score

For those keeping score, here’s how things turned out with my predictions for 2023:

✅ Ten accurate predictions

❌ Ten inaccurate predictions

Womp womp 🎺 so my predictions for 2023 were no better than a coin toss. Personally, I blame my over-reliance on predicting the impacts of China’s COVID-19 mass infection strategy for a cascade of missed predictions - and will definitely take this into account when I write my “Predictions for 2024” blog post later this week.


In the mean time, thank you again for stopping by to read my pseudo-random musings 😊 While taking some time to rest and reflect here at the end of 2023, you can git checkout other (usually off-topic) content I’m reading over at Instapaper - or read my series on the DevSecOps Essentials which sadly continues to be worthwhile guidance for many companies. Here’s hoping we turn things around in 2024!

Until next time, remember to git commit && stay classy!

Cheers,

Keith // securingdev


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