2023, the year that was and the year to come in the world: from artificial intelligence to global warming


By John

Cheering crowds have already waved, are waving and will wave the hottest year on record, capping a turbulent 12 months marked by intelligent chatbots, climate crises and devastating wars.
The world’s population, now over eight billion, will say goodbye to the old and usher in the new, hoping to shake off the burden of the high cost of living and global chaos.
TO Sydney, the self-proclaimed “New Year’s Eve capital of the world”more than a million people crowded the city’s seafront.
Even before nightfall, tens of thousands had gathered at strategic points around the Harbor Bridge, braving unusually wet weather.
At midnight (2pm in Italy), eight tons of fireworks lit the fuse of 2024, the year in which elections will be held which will affect half the world’s population and next summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.
Last year’s notable events include the explosion of artificial intelligence and the world’s first complete eye transplant.
India overtook China as the world’s most populous country and then became the first nation to land a rocket on the dark side of the Moon.
It was also warmest year since records began in 1880, with a series of weather disasters hitting from Australia to the Horn of Africa to the Amazon basin.
We had to say goodbye to the queen of rock ‘n’ roll, Tina Turner; to the ‘Friends’ actor Matthew Perry and to the master of American fiction Cormac McCarthy.
But 2023 will be remembered above all for the war in the Middle East, which began with the Hamas attacks on October 7 in southern Israel which was followed by Israeli retaliation.
The United Nations (UN) estimates that nearly two million Gazans have been displaced since the Israeli siege began, about 85 percent of the peacetime population.
With neighborhoods in Gaza City now reduced to rubble, there are few places left to await the New Year, and even fewer loved ones to celebrate it with.
In Ukraine, where the Russian invasion approaches its second anniversary, there is a breath of hope and challenge after the new attack in Moscow. Putin is the longest-serving Russian president since Stalin and his name will appear on the ballot again when Russians vote in March. Few expect the vote to be free and fair, or for the former KGB agent to return to the shadows.
Not only in Russia does 2024 loom as an election year, as the political fate of more than 4 billion people will be decided by voting in Russia, the United Kingdom, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Venezuela and many others villages.
But there are elections that will have more marked global consequences. In the United States, the 81-year-old Democrat Joe Biden and the 77-year-old Republican Donald Trump they seem intent on replicating the November 2020 challenge.
As a sitting president, Biden has at times shown signs of his advanced age and even among his supporters there is concern about the prospect of another four years of tough rule. But equally strong is the concern about the return of Trump who in the meantime faces various charges and voters could decide whether to bring him back to the Oval Office or let him end up in prison.