Two decades have passed since 2000 and never before has technology been revolutionary.
The end of twenty years, a period of balance sheets. An unprecedented technological evolution has taken place in a period of time that is, after all, as short as the one that goes from 2000 to today But what were the innovations that have had the greatest impact (and popularity) on our lives? Here are twenty.
Revealed in 1999, bluetooth technology became operational in the early 2000s. Today it is an integral part of our daily life: an invisible bridge that allows devices to communicate even in the absence of an internet connection. The latest example? The tracking app against COVID-19.
The largest encyclopedia in the world was born at the beginning of the millennium. It offers an unprecedented amount of content, free and free. It is based on bottom-up user participation and community reviews and only holds up thanks to donations.
During the lockdown it was one of the platforms that made it possible to connect with the outside world. To tell the truth, struggling with growing competition, not the most used. However, Skype must be given credit for being the first alternative service to the telephone and able to make users who were in different countries or continents converse for free and face to face. A revolution.
If it were a country it would be the most populous in the world. It was not the first nor the last social media, but it is certainly the most transversal and widespread Facebook has changed the internet, the perception of users, the way they communicate, sell and advertise. And even if the younger ones are oriented towards other social networks, the reign of Mark Zuckerberg still remains the richest and (by far) the most popular.
Youtube is not just a platform. It was the ram that allowed two trends to impose themselves video has become the prevailing format of the twenty-year period that is about to close and user-generated content has become a form of expression capable of revolutionizing the entire media system. It all started with “Me at the zoo”: the first video uploaded shot one of the founders of the platform in front of the elephant enclosure.
Google Maps (2005)
Maps, like many technological innovations on this list, represents a milestone in an evolving path. Certainly the Google service launched in 2005 has changed forever the way to consult a map and, more generally, to choose how to move. Then came competitors and applications dedicated to mobility.
They play such a central role in our existence that we sometimes forget how recent they are. The first smartphone capable of having a global echo was the iPhone, launched by Apple in 2007 The touchscreen (another invention of this twenty years) begins to slide under the fingers of millions (and then billions) of people. And to think that at the beginning some competitors had mocked Steve Jobs: “Who will ever buy a phone without a keypad?”.
Paper books are alive and well, but having a digital version of them is now the norm. Yet it’s only been 14 years since Amazon released Kindle, the world’s first e-reader in 2007.
More than ten years after their debut, i Bitcoins have not become the electronic money to be used as an alternative to traditional ones. Is it a safe haven asset? An investment? It has certainly opened a new front, also pushing private individuals and central banks to explore the world of cryptocurrencies (more or less crypto, more or less decentralized). Not to mention the blockchain, the infrastructure behind Bitcoin that is declining into hundreds of possible applications, well beyond the financial sphere.
Digital assistants (2011)
They are the most popular interface among users and artificial intelligence digital assistants respond more and more naturally to human directions. The first, Apple’s Siri, arrived in 2011. And since then, voice commands have come out of smartphones to (potentially) land anywhere.
Autonomous driving (2012)
Autonomous driving has many nuances and is, in a sense, more of a process than a technology. In the history books, however, there will most likely be a date: August 2012. Google announces that its fully autonomous vehicle has driven 300,000 miles on city streets without any accidents.
Reusable Rockets (2015)
Between November and December 2015, two private companies (Blue Origin and SpaceX) manage to send a rocket into orbit and land it. A milestone in cost reduction. It is the beginning of a new (private) race to space, which has benefited above all from SpaceX, which has become a solid partner of NASA.
3G, 4G and 5G
Three generations of networks in twenty years, each of which represents not only the arrival of faster and more efficient connections but also support for the digitalization of products and services. Without the evolution of the networks there would have been (or would have been different) app economy, social networks, streaming, IoT. And with 5G, the potential for development can only be imagined.
One of the areas closely linked with the quality of connections is streaming. To have a collection of films and TV series at home, you don’t need cassettes or DVDs. And now you don’t even need to download them. You pay a rent or a subscription and the content is always available. Who remembers the Blockbuster stores? Netflix led the way, followed by Apple, Amazon and Disney. But the connections also allow live streaming, on the model of Dazn. Unthinkable if you look at the average quality of a connection a few years ago.
Another example of an innovation that, despite not having a date, fully covers this twenty-year period, with a prodigious acceleration in recent years. The cloud is the pillar of many digitization processes it has overturned business organizations, reduced the entry barriers of many sectors and changed the use of online services. Artificial intelligence and machine learning
An unprecedented availability of data is combined with the ability to process them and to foresee possible scenarios. Marketing, finance, commerce: the automation of processes and their effectiveness often passes through here. A technology so powerful as to be risky, so much so that some international organizations (including the EU) are encouraged to promote an ad hoc code of conduct.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
It has been talked about for much more than twenty years, but it is only in the last few that driven by the adoption of large companies and by increasingly cheaper solutions augmented and virtual reality have begun to have a weight (including commercial). From entertainment to logistics, the applications based on these technologies are endless.
Another category that cannot be said to have been born in these twenty years, but which has certainly proliferated in these twenty years. The turning point comes when systems like fingerprint scanning and facial recognition arrive on smartphones With an acceleration starting from 2017, thanks to the functions proposed by the iPhone X. Solutions based on biometric systems, however, must be treated with caution. If not accompanied by privacy and cybersecurity, they carry risks associated with mass surveillance.
Among the many innovations granted by the use of smartphones there is certainly that of digital payments. The phone also becomes a wallet, allowing you to pay your bill directly at the cashier but also to transfer money from device to device. Financial management becomes more and more immediate and dematerialized.
Quantum Computing (2019)
The roots are planted in the last century and we are still in the embryonic stage, but at the end of the twenty-year period 2000-2020 quantum computing is starting to provide the first important results. In October 2019, Google announced that it had achieved “quantum supremacy” a processor that obeys the laws of quantum mechanics has managed to perform an operation deemed impossible for traditional computers.