AI and climate continue to dominate European technology influencer conversations in Q1 2023

The Tyto Relevance Index has hit the ripe old age of six months, and what an eventful six months it has been.

We’re starting to see some fascinating trends emerge, both in terms of the topics that are rising and falling in relevance, and the differences within our three European market focuses of UK, France and Germany. The data is becoming increasingly valuable, as Tyto teams start to use the insights to guide their advice to clients.  

AI and ML dominates. Really dominates.  

You don’t need me to tell you that AI has dominated the agenda this year. This first quarter has seen the concept of generative AI break out of the tech press and on to the front pages of media across Europe. We’re seeing hype cycles play out in a matter of months as excitement and disillusionment trade places almost daily.  

The numbers don’t lie. AI & ML’s dominance of the online conversation is so great that it has a higher share of conversation than the next three topics in the tech ranking. Data economy, Cybersecurity and Virtualisation combine for a total of 32% of all social posts while AI & ML takes up a full 34% of the conversation online and is at the number one spot across all three countries. That is an astonishing statistic. 

Its dominance is still growing. It was the number one most mentioned topic in Q4 2022 with 25% of social posts and has since increased 37% quarter-on-quarter.   

And so if you don’t have an AI story, you will need one. I wonder if artificial intelligence will eventually become redundant as a category in our Tyto Relevance Index™ in the same way that we wouldn’t look at ‘software’ as a standalone category because all businesses use software in some respect. It’s becoming that ubiquitous. 

Will AI’s dominance continue to increase next quarter, or have we seen ‘peak AI’ as a percentage share of the conversation online? It’s worth noting that the highest percentage share of conversation in the past six months is March, and so it will be interesting to see where we are by the end of April.  

Let’s look at what else has been occupying the great minds of our influencer group. As a reminder, the Tyto Relevance Index analyses public social media posts of our Tyto Tech 500 cohort of influencers – almost two thousand individuals who are the most influential people working in technology from across the UK, France and Germany. 

In the UK, Cybersecurity (20%) and Data economy (15%) are in second and third place. Only AI & ML and Next-gen computing have increased their relevance this quarter, with the other themes remaining the same or decreasing in importance.   

In Germany, Data economy (14%) and Future of connectivity (10%) complete the top three far behind the behemoth that is AI. Both themes have slightly increased their relevance. 

In France, Data economy (12%) and Virtualisation (11%) are the second and third most relevant tech topics, but far behind AI & ML (40%). Despite its second place, Data economy suffered the biggest decline in relevance compared to the previous quarter (-4.3 pp). After AI & ML, Automation had the second highest growth in relevance and remains in fourth position (from 8% to 10% of all social posts).  

Winter clouds 

As the days get longer and we head in to spring, we’ve seen (perhaps fittingly) a notable drop in relevance for Cloud across our three focus markets.  

Germany saw a quarter-on-quarter reduction in cloud conversations of 4.4 percentage points, falling from sixth to ninth place in the ranking (4%). We saw the same trend in France with Cloud decreasing by two percentage points over the quarter, mirroring the trend in Germany. Something similar happened in the UK, where the share of conversation about cloud topics decreased by 1.1 percentage points. 

Despite cloud still being a priority for many companies it seems that our influencer group are becoming less interested in cloud topics. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues or if this is just a blip, with cloud becoming a casualty of the all-consuming AI trend.  

GreenTech, blockchain and data economy on the up 

It’s worth pointing out some of the topics rising in relevance since the start of the year and highlighting regional differences.  

In the UK, GreenTech has seen significant growth from 10% to 12% of social posts as the sector grows in importance and more companies look to address climate issues. It remains a key priority for governments across Europe, and clearly for our UK influencers.  

In Germany, DLT & Blockchain has perhaps surprisingly gained prominence over the quarter, rising from 4% and tenth position in the ranking in January to 9% of social posts and fifth position in March. 

In France, although Data economy has dropped considerably compared to last month, it has gained relevance from January (11%) to March (14%).

Climate change continues to dominate socioeconomic issues 

The three most relevant socio-economic issues for European tech influencers in the last quarter were Climate change (17%), Geopolitical conflict and instability (16%) and Health risks (10%). This is unchanged from last quarter. 

There are some interesting movements within those top three. Climate change has lost relevance (-1.9 pp) while Geopolitical conflict and instability (+1.2 pp) and Health risks (+0.1 pp) have both gained share of voice in the social media conversation of our influencers. We may have predicted that health would decrease as the Covid pandemic fades from view, but it remains a key topic for the technology community.   

It’s no surprise that Crypto has lost the most relevance compared to last quarter: down 2.6 percentage points and from fourth to sixth position (7% of social posts). Germany and France saw the largest declines in crypto conversations. 

Topics to watch: Disinformation and Transportation 

One of the emerging socioeconomic topics this quarter among French tech influencers was Disinformation, which climbed from seventh to fourth place, appearing in 8% of social posts. Conversation on Disinformation in France has increased significantly from January to March (from 6% to 10%). Interestingly, Transportation (10% of social posts) has increased its presence more than any other socioeconomic topic. It increased by 1.3 pp and moved up from fifth to fourth in the ranking. Those companies with a good story in the transportation space should be looking to social media strategies as a key part of their communications mix.   

If you want to dig deeper into the data, you can access the Tyto Relevance Index here. By subscribing (it’s free!) you will be able to view the data and receive our monthly newsletter with the previous month’s highlights in your inbox. If, like us, you believe that data should inform your communications campaigns, the Tyto Relevance Index is a great tool to find out what topics are dominating the social media conversation of hundreds of tech personalities in Europe. I encourage you to give it a try and let me know what you think.