World Reimagined

Mixed Reality, Digital Dust and Other Buzzwords You’ll Need to Know in 2023

mixed reality
Credit: Photo by XR Expo on Unsplash

Vocabularies can change fast in the worlds of business and technology. A year ago, both of those groups were borderline obsessed with wallstreetbets, the reddit community that was driving meme stocks. Today, it’s rarely whispered, beyond a sad shake of the head.

The evolution of people’s language continues to occur at a staggering pace. And with the dawning of a new year, new buzzwords are beginning to emerge as well. Staying current on all of the new terms can be a challenge, so here’s a rundown of the big ones that are popping up these days. Some you might know. Others you’ll hear slipped into a conversation in the coming months. Here’s a chance to get ahead of the curve.

Mixed Reality: Virtual reality hasn’t lit up the tech world like its advocates had hoped. Augmented reality is still in its infant stages. Now eyes are turning to mixed reality (XR), which lets you use real-world objects to interact with digital ones. Expect to hear a lot more about it when Apple (AAPL) finally unveils its VR/AR/XR headset, which is expected to happen later this year.

Digital Dust: Every action you take in the online world leaves traces. Those could be text, photos, audio files or something else. That’s known as digital dust. And more and more smart devices are leaving a trail of it these days, including your preferences and behaviors.

Proximity biasWork-from-home holdouts could be doing more damage to their careers than they realize. Proximity bias is the tendency for employers to give preferential treatment or show favoritism to the employees physically closest to them. It's a very real threat. A 2021 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) spoke with over 800 supervisors, with two-thirds who oversaw remote workers saying they believed remote workers were more replaceable than onsite workers.

Overemployment: Can’t pay the bills with one job? More and more people are adding a side hustle or even a second full time job to their plates (And remote working has made it easier for some people to do so). It’s called overemployment. And some people have managed to be ‘overemployed’ but still just work a 40-hour week.

Career cushioning: Some workers, concerned that their positions could be eliminated in the coming months, are focusing less on getting things done and more on adding skills to their resumes, which would make them more attractive to companies if they have to look for a new gig. LinkedIn says 365 million people have added skills to their profiles over the last 12 months, up 43% from last year.

Polycrisis: Everything old is new again, even our problems. Polycrisis is the latest term for the convergence of those problems all at once—and we’re in one now. We’ve got wars going on, a pandemic that’s still impacting the world, economic crises and more. The World Economic Forum describes a polycrisis as "a cluster of related global risks with compounding effects, such as the overall impact exceeds the sum of each part."

Doughnut effect: Hybrid work is fast becoming normalized at many companies, meaning workers are less concerned about living somewhere that’s in close proximity to their office. That’s increasing values in suburban areas, meaning home value increases and rent increases will tend to encircle the city center, creating a doughnut-like effect, with a ‘hole’ or smaller/non-existent growth taking place in the middle.

Frolleagues: One of the chief reasons people want to go back to work is to interact with their work friends. “Frolleagues” is essentially the new term for a work husband or work wife. It’s a close, trusted confidant at the office, with whom you can share worries, frustrations and successes. And having one tends to make people a lot more productive at the workplace.

Metaverse: Yep, this buzzword made the 2022 list, but it’s still going to be a big area of conversation this year. At its core, metaverse describes a shared immersive digital world accessed via the Internet, but it’s a term that many people have defined differently over the past year. Ideally, there will start to be some cohesion of what the metaverse is this year. The term was bandied about at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) frequently in January, though there are still a significant number of doubters who argue the metaverse is not the next step in the internet’s evolution, but instead just the latest shiny object meant to distract people’s attentions.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Chris Morris

Chris Morris is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience, more than half of which were spent with some of the Internet’s biggest sites, including CNNMoney.com, where he was Director of Content Development, and Yahoo! Finance, where he was managing editor. Today, he writes for dozens of national outlets including Digital Trends, Fortune, and CNBC.com.

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