Each year wants to usher itself in, pristine and new and filled with high expectations. But unfortunately for 2023, it seems as though the new year will hold much of the same as the old year. No one would say that 2022 has been easy, and many of the problems such as climate woes and the war in Ukraine continue to persist. With that in mind, expectations for 2023 are not very rose-colored.

War Keeps on Ticking

One thing that has been a constant for most of 2022 is the war in Ukraine. Most experts predict that by the end of 2023, the war in Ukraine will still be in full force. Though Ukraine stands a large chance against Russia in the coming year, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has made it clear that he will stop at nothing until the entire country is annexed. Many people believe that Ukraine will hold its own in the next year because the Russian soldiers are quite reluctant to continue fighting and the cost of the war may finally convince the Russians that it is not worth it. Additionally, if Ukraine’s allies finally recognize the large economic toll that the war is taking on their own economies, they will intervene and provide enough weapons to overcome Russia.

Economic Woes Continue

As for the United States economy, the news is not great, as there are just too many factors at play for a positive boon to occur. According to JP Morgan, “We expect the U.S. economy to expand at a muted 0.5-1% pace in 2023, as measured by real GDP, which incorporates our prediction for a mild recession beginning in late 2023.” People will try to hang on to their money, and will be reluctant to get involved in mortgages and other economic commitments as they try to save for a rainy day.

Much of the world will fare even worse, however. The energy crisis in Europe will likely continue, especially as energy prices spike through the winter months. Inflation and the war in Ukraine will continue to affect food and fuel budgets. These problems will likely get worse before they get better as Inflation in Europe continues to rise.

Controlling the Chaos

After a year of climate disasters in all areas of the United States, and indeed the world, scientists and governments are working hard to staunch the bleeding. From raging wildfires to catastrophic weather events like floods and hurricanes, 2023 needs to be a year of change. The United States has passed the Inflation Reduction Act to help people and businesses transition to the use of cleaner energy, and this plan will help in 2023, offering tax credits and incentives to help Americans clean up their act. This should spur Americans to take these things seriously so we can make some positive changes while we still have the time.

Women Fight for Education

With the recent ruling by the Taliban that women in Afghanistan are no longer allowed in universities, after being almost wholly eliminated from secondary schools for years, expect 2023 to be a year of women fighting for their rights. The Taliban is having nothing to do with the protests, however. The recent protests found police dispersing the female protestors with a giant water cannon, and tensions remained high. According to the BBC, “The Taliban said women had not been wearing appropriate Islamic attire at university and had been interacting with their male counterparts.” We should expect to see these women continue to fight for their freedoms well into 2023.

Lockdown Lifted

With the recent lifting of China’s zero-COVID policy, the country has seen an explosive surge in COVID cases and deaths. The majority of the population still hasn’t contracted it, which is why scientists are unclear about whether people will have the same reactions to the virus as those in other parts of the world where exposures are far more common. In the next year, it’s reasonable to predict that China will see a rising death toll from the COVID variants running rampant because they continuously rely on local vaccines that do not contain the valuable antibodies that many western vaccines do. Because there are so many variants spreading across China, 2023 could bring new mutants and strains of COVID worldwide, and we could see cases surge everywhere once again.

Driverless Cars

With all the heavy news about 2023 on the horizon, there is something a bit more lighthearted to look forward to. The market for autonomous cars is said to drastically increase in 2023, marking a big change for normal day-to-day transportation. Cars with level 3 autonomy, in which drivers can be relatively focused on the road but perhaps on their phones, are arriving in many cities in California and Nevada after being tested out in San Francisco. Though the hurdles of cost and liability are hard to overcome, autonomous cars are still likely to be more prolific on the road within this coming year.

For many around the globe, it seems like 2023 will feel an awful lot like 2022. Let’s hope we are in for some positive surprises along the way, however.