Technology did not have a fantastic decade in the early 2000s. After the impotent terror of the Y2K bug ushered in the new millennium, the Dotcom Bubble crushed all hopes of a new internet-based age.
Fortunately, the rebound was fast, and new technologies emerged within a few years that would revolutionize culture, politics, and the economy.
They've introduced new means to interact, consume, and get around, as well as new Doomsday fears. As we begin a new decade in the twenty-first century, we've compiled a list of the best and worst technologies that have gotten us here, as well as some predictions for the future.
The iPhone didn't bring anything new to the table: phones, computers, and phones combined into computers have all existed previously. It also had several flaws: it was slow, had a shaky internet connection, and would take two years to even make a video.
However, being the first smartphone, it ushered in a paradigm shift in the way people connect, listen, watch, and create. The iPhone's technologies have altered every area of life — an always-on internet connection, a camera that never leaves your side, and a computer with powerful computing power that can be snatched from your pocket.
2. Social media
Online social networks began at the turn of the century, even though few people realized it. The first was Six Degrees, which was released in 1997 and was inspired by the premise that everyone on the earth is only six degrees apart. It had elements like profiles and buddy lists that would become popular in later versions of the form, but it never really caught on.
Social networks didn't take off until the early 2000s, with sites like Friend's Reunited and MySpace, though even these pale in comparison to Facebook.
Not only did Mark Zuckerberg's company force its way to a monopoly in terms of social networks, but it also ate up any budding competitors in the field that became known as social media.
3. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency
Satoshi Nakamoto's exact identity remains a mystery, but their creation of bitcoin, a new "electronic cash system," in 2009 might have far-reaching ramifications beyond currency. Blockchain technology, which is an irreversible and unhackable online record, has the potential to revolutionize everything from healthcare to real estate.
These words would go on to drastically change the way people consume information in the twenty-first century, despite their poor beginning. Jawed Karim had just posted the first video to YouTube, a video-sharing service that he had helped establish, on April 23, 2005.
Karim, his co-founders, and countless future content creators' fortunes were changed forever when Google purchased the site for $1.65 billion just over a year later.
5. 3G, 4G and 5G
3G was first introduced around the turn of the century, followed by 4G a decade later. New advancements in the speed and dependability of mobile data connections have occurred in every decade of this century. And the world that relies on them has been rewritten thanks to those mobile data connections.
If its cheerleaders are to be believed, 5G, which has ostensibly already rolled out but has yet to fully touch the world, will be similarly transformational over the next decade.
6. Artificial Intelligence
2045. This is the year, according to famed futurist Ray Kurzweil, the technological singularity will occur - the point at which computers will surpass human intelligence and continue to improve at an unmanageable rate, signalling the end of the human era. Kurzweil cautioned in his key book on artificial intelligence, The Singularity is Near, published in 2005, that "the rate of development would be so startlingly swift that humans won't be able to keep up."
It's too early to gauge Kurzweil's prediction's correctness (he claims an 86 per cent accuracy rate for his 147 predictions during the 1990s), but given the progress made in the last two decades, his fears may soon be more than just speculation. Some of the world's best thinkers have now joined him in warning of AI's existential threat.
7. VR and AR
People have been fascinated by the idea of escaping into other worlds that appear before their eyes since the invention of stereoscopes. However, it has never come in its entirety.
However, in the latter part of the 2000s, it began to take on a new significance. Many of the world's largest corporations have pushed virtual reality headgear, and consumer PCs are now strong enough to create plausible environments in which consumers are willing to spend time.
8. Quantum computing
Quantum computing's promise - and peril – is reshaping the global landscape. It appears to be on track to spend all of our preconceptions about computers, allowing them to run at unimaginably high speeds and perform tasks previously unimaginable.
9. Smart home and voice assistants
With the power to communicate with and control your house, no vision of the future is complete. And now it appears that we have arrived.
However, as the smart home and the voice assistants that enable it has grown in popularity, so have concerns. Is it safe to entrust your home's security to internet-connected devices that could malfunction or be hacked? Should internet behemoths like Amazon and Google be allowed to install microphones in our homes?
10. Electric Cars and Driverless Automobiles
The automobile took nearly 50 years to supplant the horse and cart as the primary mode of transportation, but thanks to the arrival of two new vehicular revolutions in the early twenty-first century: electric-powered cars and self-driving technology, the next great transition in road transport could be just a few years away