AI is the ‘word of the year.’ Here’s how previous tech terms fared

The artificial intelligence hype train has reached another milestone. In an eagerly-anticipated announcement, Collins Dictionary today named AI as its word of the year.

Generously, Collins also provided a definition for the nebulous term: “the modelling of human mental functions by computer programs.”

Additionally, the dictionary offered an explanation for the award. According to the book’s British publisher, usage of “AI” has quadrupled over the previous 12 months.

That shouldn’t come as a big surprise. AI has become a common topic everywhere from pitch decks to pubs. But that doesn’t mean the field is guaranteed to enjoy a good life.

Tech terms that previously won or were shortlisted for the Collins word of the year have experienced mixed fortunes. Here’s how they fared.

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Phablet (Shortlisted, 2013)

Our first entry is truly hideous. A portmanteau of phone and tablet, phablet refers to mobile devices that are caught between sizes. Mercifully, the word is now only found in the most shameful of lexicons.

Bitcoin (Shortlisted, 2013)

Bitcoin has taken investors on rollercoasters since being nominated by Collins. It reached an all-time high price of around €65,000 in November 2021, before dropping down to about  €32,500 today.

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