The Next Big Theme: March 2023

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been making global news headlines over the past month and multiple sectors are lining up to benefit from the growing industry. In this month’s Next Big Theme, Global has read between the lines of all things AI as well as exploring healthcare accessibility, electric vehicle adoption in the US and cybersecurity.

Artificial Intelligence

The Bet on ChatGPT

Earlier this month, OpenAI launched the ChatGPT and Whisper application programming interfaces (APIs), which are now being integrated into many new company platforms.1 As AI tools become more widely used, companies like Snap and Shopify are following the trend by incorporating advanced tools such as My AI for Snapchat+ and Shopify’s new shopping assistant.2 With ChatGPT APIs, Snapchat users can enjoy a chatbot that is highly customisable and offers personalised recommendations and prompts. Similarly, Shop, the Shopify consumer app, is introducing ChatGPT APIs for their own chatbot to assist with the checkout process. On the EdTech side, Duolingo is now able to offer Duolingo Max, which will be powered by the newly released GPT-4.3 Duolingo Max is a new subscription tier that offers learners two new features and exercises: Explain My Answer and Roleplay. Other noteworthy OpenAI-backed projects, such as Spotify’s individualised AI DJ and Coca-Cola’s revamped marketing efforts, provide only a glimpse of what is yet to come.

Telemedicine & Digital Health

Healthcare At Your Fingertips

The accessibility of healthcare has reached an all-time high with companies like CVS, Walgreens, and Amazon completing mergers and acquisitions with primary care facilities to offer healthcare services at home. Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical provides members with 24/7 virtual care and optional in-person care on a subscription basis. One Medical is offering discounted annual memberships for the first year at $144 instead of the regular $199.4 CVS Health has also expanded its medical services by acquiring Oak Street Health, a technology-based primary care option for elderly patients with over 50% of its patients facing housing, food, or isolation risks.5 As healthcare evolves, wearables and digital health technologies are assisting medical professionals in monitoring patients while allowing patient autonomy. Apple is at the forefront of this industry with their non-invasive blood glucose monitoring technology that uses a silicon photonics chip and optical absorption spectroscopy to detect glucose through the Apple Watch. This technology has now reached the Proof-of-Concept stage.6

Electric Vehicles

EV Adoption Expands Across America

During Tesla’s Investor Day, the company unveiled its plans to decrease manufacturing expenses and expand to an “extreme size.” Most notably, Tesla outlined plans to increase sustainability through Master Plan 3. This involves various initiatives such as incorporating renewable energy into the current power grid, increasing the production of electric vehicles, installing heat pumps in residential and commercial buildings, utilising high-temperature heat delivery and hydrogen for industrial purposes, and developing environmentally friendly planes and boats.7 Additionally, CEO Elon Musk announced the forthcoming construction of a new Gigafactory in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, where the company will produce its next-generation vehicle.8 The Gigafactory is projected to cost $10 billion once fully operational, and will join Tesla’s existing factories in Nevada, Texas, New York, Shanghai, and Berlin.9 Recently, Tesla reduced the prices of its popular Model 3 and Model Y cars by up to 20%, leading to an increase in consumer demand.10 In other electric vehicle news, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has revealed plans to purchase 9,250 Ford E-Transit electric vehicles beginning later this year, along with over 14,000 charging stations for deployment at USPS facilities.11 The USPS had previously announced its intention to increase its purchases of electric delivery vehicles, with plans to procure at least 66,000 such vehicles through 2028.12 In August, Congress allocated $3 billion to the USPS as part of a $430 billion climate bill to support the purchase of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.13  

U.S. Infrastructure

U.S. Urges Use Of Domestic Materials

Approximately 32% of building materials used in the United States are imported, with top sources including countries in the European Union, China, South Korea, Canada, and Japan.14 However, the government’s new “Buy America” provisions for publicly funded projects will require the use of domestically made construction materials, which may decrease the country’s reliance on foreign products. Following President Biden’s State of the Union Address, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued additional guidance to implement the Build America, Buy America Act provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which establishes that a product is considered to be manufactured in the United States if at least 55% of the total cost of all components of the product are mined, produced, or manufactured domestically.15 The Biden Administration is committed to promoting domestic manufacturing in support of the U.S. supply chain.

Internet of Things & AI

AI Is Chip Producers’ Newest Income Generator

OpenAI’s ChatGPT is predicted to require over 30,000 graphics cards in the future.16 This surge of interest is expected to have positive effects on the supply chain for GPUs and AI chips, benefiting all involved parties. For instance, the Generative Pre-Trained Transformer (GPT) that forms the basis of ChatGPT required roughly 120 million training parameters in 2018, which increased to almost 180 billion in 2020.17 In 2020, around 20,000 GPUs were necessary for the GPT model to handle training data, and it’s expected that more than 30,000 GPUs will be needed for the GPT model’s commercialisation in the future, using NVIDIA’s A100 as a starting point for calculations.18 While Nvidia is one leading supplier of AI accelerators, Intel and AMD also offer similar products in the AI market.


Biden Reinforces Cybersecurity Accountability

The new White House National Cybersecurity Strategy, released this month, aims to address ongoing cybersecurity issues by shifting responsibilities to the tech industry and software makers, urging them to take greater accountability in safeguarding their systems against hackers.19 The strategy also calls for U.S. law enforcement and military agencies to proactively combat the increasing threat of ransomware and digital theft. China and Russia are identified as the most significant cybersecurity risks to the United States. Additionally, the strategy requires federal agencies such as the Department of Defense (DOD), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use their regulatory authority to implement mandatory cybersecurity standards for their respective contractors and suppliers.