The 6 most influential inventions of the last 100 years

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Technology has made great strides in the past few decades. We’ve gone from clunky computers to slim tablets, from paper money to cryptocurrency, and from phone calls and letters to DMs and FaceTime. Things have certainly changed drastically, but what were the big milestones that changed the game in the world of tech?

1. The smartphone

iphone in hand

If you’re part of the GenZ era, you may not remember a time when smartphones weren’t the norm. Before the late noughties, smartphones were still a dream of the future. This was a time when flip phones and “brick” phones ruled the world.

While the first (very, very simple) smartphone was technically developed by IBM in the early 90s, the first classic smartphone was released in the late 2000s. However, everyone has a different idea of ​​the first smartphone. Many believe it was the iconic iPhone that was released in June 2007. This phone changed the world in some ways, with 6.1 million units sold in a year.

People’s expectations of what a phone can do were sure to be met or exceeded with the release of the first iPhone, and millions around the world have now remained loyal to the brand. Many brands then followed suit, with Samsung, LG, HTC and Nokia launching their own smartphones. Today, smartphones are the norm around the world and their capabilities are constantly improving.

2. Electric cars

Tesla charging station

In recent years, the global warming issue has become a major concern for governments, businesses and individuals. And we all know that the release of greenhouse gases from gasoline and diesel vehicles is a huge contributor to global warming. This is where the electric car can make a big difference.

Related: Common Electric Car Questions You Always Wanted To Ask

The electric car is not exactly a modern concept, the first was invented at the end of the 19th century. However, electric cars weren’t a big issue at the time, and it would be about a hundred years before electric cars came into mass transit.

In 1996, General Motors launched its own model of an electric car called the EV1. But people still mostly preferred gasoline and diesel cars at that time. It wasn’t until the early 2010s that electric cars became more commercially successful, particularly with the widespread commercial availability of Tesla electric cars, a company that brought fame and fortune to entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Tesla became successful in the mid-2010s, and now many more car companies are developing and launching their own electric or hybrid models.

3. 3D printer

3D printing in progress

3D printers have now made things a reality that were never thought possible. These fantastic devices can print objects in three dimensions by building up a layer at a time using a method called fused depositional modeling (or FDM).

Where 3D printing becomes important are its applications in a number of industries. Currently, 3D printing can be used to make customizable end-use parts, prototyping products, and making jewelry and accessories.

Above all, however, 3D printers are now being considered for the production of synthetic organs for transplant patients. Such organ development could completely eliminate the risk of organ rejection by the patient’s body and rapidly reduce the number of people on transplant waiting lists around the world. Pretty exciting thing!

4. WLAN

WLAN certified logo

Wi-Fi Alliance / Wikimedia Commons

What would we do without WiFi? This amazing creation has changed the way we work, shop, communicate and more.

Wi-Fi was invented in 1998 by an Australian organization called the Wi-Fi Alliance. This technology uses radio frequencies to transmit information between different devices, enabling wireless fidelity (or Wi-Fi!).

However, it took time for Wi-Fi to become as popular as it is today. This is because in order to use Wi-Fi you will need devices that support it. And it was not until the early to mid-2000s that such devices became generally available to the public. After laptops, phones, and other popular devices were able to support Wi-Fi, it soon became a global success and is now an integral part of the lives of millions.

5. Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence graphics

Creative Commons Zero / Wikimedia Commons

Artificial intelligence, or AI for short, has been a hot topic of discussion for some time. This technology essentially simulates human intelligence to do things that conventional technologies couldn’t dream of.

Related: Should AI Be Treated Like Humans?

The idea of ​​artificial intelligence has been around for hundreds of years, dating back to the 14th century AD when a Catalan poet and theologian conceived a very rudimentary version of AI. However, the term “Artificial Intelligence” was not officially coined until 1955. This shape came with the invention of the first AI computer program, developed by Allen Newell, Herbert Simon and Cliff Shaw.

Although almost 70 years have passed since the first AI program was developed, the technology is still on shaky ground. We still haven’t created a powerful form of artificial intelligence, and the perfection of that technology will be at least a decade or two away. However, AI is already being used in many different fields, including medicine, speech recognition, robotics, and more.

6. GPS

GPS on the phone

Some of us can still remember a time when we had to pull out the AZ paper map if we were going anywhere. Well, thanks to GPS, paper maps are largely a thing of the past.

The first GPS, or Global Positioning System, was invented by the US Department of Defense in 1973. The first satellite was developed and launched by the US Air Force and launched a year later. But it wasn’t until 1993 that a full system of 24 satellites was launched to develop the first fully functional GPS.

GPS satellites work by sending and receiving signals from devices on Earth, such as: B. from your phone or laptop. It measures the time it takes for a signal to arrive from Earth, then uses an atomic clock to pinpoint the location of a device. Pretty fancy stuff!

Since then, GPS has proven useful in a number of different areas, including travel, safety, and even fitness. The next time you use your phone to find your way around or to keep track of your run just now, you have GPS to thank you for it.

In 20 years this list will be twice as long!

With the rapid advancement of technology these days, we are likely to see a lot more amazing inventions that will change the game in the not too distant future. We can only imagine what amazing technology will be part of our lives 20 years from now, but it is certainly exciting to think about!


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