Artificial intelligence (AI) has been crowned “word of the year” by Collins Dictionary due to its widespread impact and the surge in discussions about its potential for both good and bad.
According to the publisher, the use of the term “AI” has quadrupled in 2023.
Alex Beecroft, the Managing Director of Collins, noted that AI has rapidly become as integral to everyday life as technologies like email and streaming, making it a significant focal point in 2023.
He said, “We know that AI has been a big focus this year in the way that it has developed and has quickly become as ubiquitous and embedded in our lives as email, streaming, or any other once futuristic, now everyday technology.”
AI itself had a say on its selection as the word of the year. When BBC News sought a comment from the AI chatbot ChatGPT, it remarked, “AI’s selection as the word of the year by Collins Dictionary reflects the profound impact of artificial intelligence on our rapidly evolving world, where innovation and transformation are driven by the power of algorithms and data.”
This recognition comes as UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hosts a summit with world leaders, tech industry leaders, academics, and AI researchers to explore how to maximize the benefits of AI while mitigating its potential risks.
In a related development, the Beatles have utilized AI to recover John Lennon’s vocals from an old cassette tape to create their “last song,” set to be released later this week.
The choice of word of the year often reflects the preoccupations and trends of the time. In 2022, “permacrisis” was chosen, reflecting the constant political upheavals in the UK. In 2021, the buzz was all about “NFTs” (non-fungible tokens). The word of the year for 2020 was the ubiquitous “lockdown.”
Other contenders for the 2023 word of the year, as per Collins Dictionary, included:
- Bazball: An aggressive and exciting style of cricket, named after England head coach Brendon McCullum.
- Canon event: An event pivotal in shaping an individual’s character or identity.
- Debanking: The act of depriving an individual, such as Nigel Farage, of banking facilities.
- Deinfluencing: Advising social media followers to avoid certain products or lifestyle choices.
- Greedflation: The practice of using high inflation as a pretext to artificially increase prices to boost corporate profits.
- Nepo baby: A person perceived to have benefited from nepotism due to their famous parents.
- Semaglutide: A medication used to suppress appetite and manage high blood sugar.
- Ultraprocessed: Food prepared through complex industrial methods using multiple ingredients, often including ingredients with little nutritional value.
- Ulez: An acronym for ultra-low emission zone, designating an urban area that only permits low-polluting vehicles to enter without a charge.