We have only made it 17 years into the 21st Century so far, but technologically, we have progressed in leaps and bounds, the likes of which we hadn’t even imagined for the next 100 years, let alone within 20.
We are of no doubt that the coming decades will see bigger, better, weird and wonderful, maybe even revolutionary things come out of the world of technology, but right now, let’s take the time to look at and appreciate the greatest feats of tech to have come out of the century so far.
The one, the only, the iconic iPhone. It is probably the best-known piece of technology which exists on this planet, and with good reason too. It’s slick, powerful, stylish, sophisticated, and can do more at your fingertips than the average desktop can do on your, er, desk. The iPhone allows us to do anything, anywhere, at any time. We can book taxis, order food, find a soulmate, book a hotel room and plan our journeys, all with a swipe of a screen. The history of mobile phones has seen a huge game changer, and there’s absolutely no going back now.
When the Kindle first came on the market, many people shrugged their shoulders and scoffed at the thought of reading on a screen; nothing will take away from the satisfaction of reading from a book. Am I right, or am I right?
These days, eBooks and IRL books are neck and neck in sales, although with a generation of digital nomads and eco-friendly conscious consumers, eBooks are set to outsell paper very soon. CDs have also, for the most part, become obsolete, especially after the iPod came into circulation, and even more so now that streaming apps such as Spotify are available for less than what the average teenager in the early 00s would spend on CDs. We can watch, read or listen to almost anything we want, wherever we want, with just a subscription and a good WiFi connection. Who needs physical DVDs, records, book, tapes or videos when the Internet exists?
Virtual reality headsets
Virtual reality headsets were once saved for TV shows and movies; Red Dwarf used them in many episodes, Star Trek feature them, cartoon such as The Jetsons loved to fantasize about them. But now they are here, and they are real, and we can indulge in the virtual world with ease. VR has become so normal, that phones and televisions are being advertised as “VR Ready”. The technology of tomorrow is now the technology of today, and it can only serve to enhance our lives, shopping experiences, and gaming.
Alright, so it doesn’t have the best graphics in the world, and it went out of fashion pretty quickly, but hear us out. The Wii was an important piece of tech, and although it may seem outdated now, it changed how we view gaming and how we can use technology. We no longer had to play games by sitting on the sofa and button-bashing, we could now jump around and interact with the screen and game characters on a physical level. The technology moved to Playstation, Xbox, and Kinect and of course, virtual reality.
Following hot on the heels of the iPhone comes the iPad. The first and foremost iPad which proved that you don’t need to lug a hefty computer around with you to be productive. As far as tablets go, the iPad has yet to be beaten on style and ease of use and has been the beacon of tablet-goals for all other manufacturers. Tablets were the beginning of a new portable generation; from checking emails to writing your novel, to watching Netflix, this is technology that can slip in your bag and not weigh you down to the floor.
The driverless car
Google has been the giver of wonderful things, not least its search engine which has all but taken over the world, and has allowed us to have all of the information that exists at our fingertips. However, they could truly change this century, again, with the release of the Google Driverless Car. The car is equipped with sensors, video cameras, and laser range finders which allow the car to transport you to your destination safely, without you have to lift a foot to step on a peddle.
Being able to call your family from the other side of the world and be able to see them is revolutionary. Not only does this keep relationships and friendships strong cross-continents, but it has changed the world of business for the better. We no longer have to fly for hours only to spend a day in a stuffy meeting room, now we can just sign into a video chat and talk with our colleagues, without spending money. Not only has this given businesses the chance to communicate more efficiently, but it has allowed people to save money on fuel, travel and to reduce their carbon footprint.
Video calling is available on, if not all, the most messaging platforms. Of course, Apple’s Facetime has got to be the most famous, but families and friends can join group video chats on Facebook, Google has its own version via Hangouts, and you can even see your nearest and dearest if you call them from WhatsApp. We live in a wonderful and connected world, where keeping in touch and conducting business has never been so easy!
First came Apple and iOS, next came Google and Android. The Android software was a revolution in the smartphone market. It brought down the cost of phones, making them more accessible to more people and are much more customizable than ever before. Android also made it possible for people to get involved to make their own apps and has started to bring around a generation who can code and develop. Changing worlds call for changing job roles!
Although The Cloud has been around since the 1960s, it has only really become available to the general public within the last 15 years or so. As our lives have become more nomadic and more internet-based, it has become necessary to store our things in a place where we can always have access to them, no matter where we are in the world. From storing work documents and photos to service-based software, there are almost no limits to what The Cloud can store.
Thanks to The Cloud, computers, tablets, and phones now act more as portal devices than storage devices. The world requires constant access on-the-go, and on a variety of devices, and thanks to this storage software in the sky, this is all now possible.
The Cloud goes in hand in hand with mobility, and it means that we can work anywhere we like, whenever we like. Be it a jungle cabana in Thailand, a mountain hut in Chile or a beach bar in Cornwall – the world is your office!
“There’s an app for that,” was an overused catchphrase for a while, but it has never been truer than in 2017. Because, well, there probably is an app for that. Applications on desktops and computers have been around for donkey’s years, but with the introduction of the smartphone, apps became an economy and culture in their own right. It is projected, that by 2020, the app market will be worth over $100 billion.
Thanks to apps, without even having to talk to anyone, taxis will arrive at your front door, you can book seats on flights to anywhere in the world, you can order pizza to your bed, manage your finances, map hikes on mountains, track fitness and health, and even control the central heating in your home from the office.
There is no denying that apps have changed our lives and have had a huge impact on society, both for the good and for the bad. Of course, without the rise of the smartphone apps would be nothing, but they have become so ingrained in our lives that they deserve their own validation and recognition!
A world without Facebook hardly seems possible in 2017. But before Facebook there was MySpace, and before MySpace there was Bebo, and before Bebo, there was MSN Messenger on dialup broadband that could only be used if your mom didn’t want to use the phone. Facebook was the network which really caused social media to take the world by storm, and it currently has over 600 million active users who log in on a daily basis.
We use Facebook to campaign, to sell ourselves and our businesses, to talk about politics, to chat to our friends and to arrange parties. We use it to come together, we use it to follow celebrities, and although we mostly use it to watch cat videos when we should be doing work, Facebook has to be the greatest and most influential piece of tech to come out of the 21st Century so far.