AI named word of the year by Collins Dictionary

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The grip artificial intelligence has gained over humanity in 2023 – or at least the increase in conversations about whether it will be a force for revolutionary good or apocalyptic destruction – has led AI to be given the title of “word of the year” by the makers of Collins Dictionary.

Usage of the term has quadrupled this year, the publisher said.

Other contenders ranged from ultraprocessed to Ulez, but Collins managing director Alex Beecroft said AI had been “the talking point of 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.”

When asked for a comment by BBC News, AI chatbot ChatGPT said: “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.”

The Collins announcement comes as UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hosts a summit for 100 world leaders, tech bosses, academics and AI researchers to discuss how best to maximise the benefits of this powerful technology while minimising the risks.

Meanwhile, the Beatles have used it to help retrieve John Lennon’s vocals from an old cassette to create their “last song”, which will be released later this week.

But Sir Cliff Richard prefers not to use AI – which he mistakenly referred to in a BBC interview as “artificial insemination”.

Watch: Sir Cliff Richard sings in BBC interview ‘without artificial insemination’

The word of the year usually reflects the preoccupations of that time. In 2022, it was permacrisis in reference to the seemingly constant upheavals in British politics.

The previous year saw chatter about NFTs (non-fungible tokens) reach its peak. And 2020 was dominated by the word lockdown.

Other words of the year contenders for 2023, according to Collins, were:

Bazball – an exciting and aggressive style of cricket, named after England head coach Brendon McCullum, known as Baz
Canon event – an event that is essential to the formation of an individual’s character or identity
Debanking – the act of depriving a person (such as Nigel Farage) of banking facilities
Deinfluencing – warning social media followers to avoid certain products or lifestyle choices
Greedflation – using high inflation as an excuse to artificially raise prices in order to increase corporate profits
Nepo baby – a person who has been perceived as benefitting from nepotism by having famous parents
Semaglutide – a medication used to suppress the appetite and control high blood sugar
Ultraprocessed – food prepared using complex industrial methods from multiple ingredients, often including ingredients with little or no nutritional value
Ulez – acronym for ultra-low emission zone – an urban area into which only low-polluting vehicles can enter without paying a charge

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