The student news site of Seven Lakes High School

The Torch

Student news website
of Seven Lakes High School
The student news site of Seven Lakes High School

The Torch

The student news site of Seven Lakes High School

The Torch

Snap Shots of 2023

Natalie Guske

2023 was a source of normalcy for several people after COVID-19, but it was far from uneventful. With this in mind, it’s worth looking back at some of this year’s most memorable moments.

Ever since early 2023, students and adults alike have been all too familiar with ChatGPT. Launched by OpenAI in November of last year, it was created to be a versatile chatbot with a plethora of functions: debugging code, writing poetry and stories, and even designing games. Although AI has existed for several years in applications like Google Assistant and Siri, ChatGPT has set itself apart from all the other AI platforms out there by spontaneously learning the complexities of conversation from human feedback. With ChatGPT have come several other AI chatbots, which have all proved that there is little to limit AI’s progress.

But is this necessarily a good thing? ChatGPT has its limitations: occasional inaccuracies, unoriginality, and the possibility of ingrained bias. Aside from that, however, it’s vital to realize that it’s not always being used for the better. With ChatGPT has come an increase in plagiarism, several privacy issues, and an easy tool for malware generation; it’s also been a major factor in the recent Writers Guild protests. Overall, it’s taught us that AI is a powerful tool, but should be controlled in its usage.

Whether a “Swiftie” or not, almost everyone (and their mother) can attest to extensively hearing about the Eras tour this year, and although several people deny it, there’s good reason for this. If Taylor Swift wasn’t famous (or infamous) enough already, her tour certainly was: after the Ticketmaster fiasco that ensued before the tour, it surpassed the 2023 summer tours of several other iconic artists like Beyonce and Harry Styles, and is projected to generate billions of dollars in consumer spending. Its impact on pop culture has also been unprecedented: several of her songs have seen drastic increases in listeners, and Billboard stated that in the first ten weeks of the tour, her catalog saw a 79% increase in total streams. 

Story continues below advertisement

Not all of these effects were positive, of course. On a more negative note, Swift’s tour sparked a dramatic social media phenomenon of Swift-dominated pop culture and fanaticism. As a result, her  fanbase has been widely criticized for idolizing celebrity culture. But for better or for worse, it’s evident that the Eras tour has been one of the most significant displays of pop culture this year.

On an environmental note, one thing that affected people all over the globe was the heatwave this summer. According to NASA, July 2023 was hotter than any other month on the global record. Although the heatwave can be partially traced to the unusually warm El Nino currents in the Equatorial Pacific region, it’s largely been attributed to man-made climate change.

This has resulted in more than just warmer temperatures: wildfires have been increasing drastically in recent years, and may have been worsened by a surge in droughts in places like Hawaii and California. 

The wildfire problem isn’t unique to the United States: they have recently been epidemic in regions like the Mediterranean, South America, and even Siberia, especially since the month of July. All in all, whether it’s high temperatures or it’s devastating droughts, the heat wave has affected us all this year. One can only hope that it makes us less desensitized to climate.

About the Contributors
Tejas Murali, Copy Editor
Tejas is a junior in his second year on the Torch staff. He has always liked the sciences, and currently aspires to study biomedical engineering in college. When he isn’t poring over his seemingly endless schoolwork, he likes working on Indian classical music and reading.
Natalie Guske, Editor in Chief
Natalie Guske is a senior and this is her third year on the Torch staff. This is her first year of being an editor and she is very excited to continue to learn and write the stories of her peers in this new role. Outside of newspaper Natalie plays trumpet in the band and is also a part of Miller Career Center’s education program. While enjoying her final year of high school so far, Natalie is looking forward to college and plans on pursuing a degree in elementary education. When she’s not at school or band practice, Natalie enjoys spending time with her friends and family as well as curling up with a good book and a tasty snack.