This past decade has come to an end. Flew by didn’t it? With the 2010s at an end you will be bombarded by numerous decade in retrospectives and well, this is one of them. It of course presents a unique chance to add content that only can be had at the end of a decade. Considering waiting until the end of the century is not practicable at this point it only makes sense to do. So, what were the biggest technological innovations of the 2010s?

In The Home

Ten years ago the thought of the Internet of Things was an idea but was not really practical. Today as the 2010s has come and gone and nearly anything can be connected to the Internet, be it a refrigerator, a security system or your home lighting system. We take it for granted now that we can control just about anything and everything from a smartphone app from down the street or across the world. The first was the Nest Thermostat in 2011 and in 2015 personal assistant devices like Amazon Echo and Alexa. Ever want to have a bit of fun? Click here to see some fun things to ask Alexa.

The increased use of Artificial Intelligence has boomed during the 2010s. AI is now capable of handling many mundane tasks like flipping burgers, taking your food order or doing some farming tasks. But AI has also been able to tackle many more creative tasks like composing music and creating art. While much of this technology is not yet practical for everyday use it presents what could be a major societal change. How the incorporation of AI is handled will be a major issue during this upcoming decade.

Personal Computing

On the personal computing front when Microsoft releases a new operating system it is big news since most computers run Windows. Windows 8 was released in 2010 but proved to be a commercial failure. To reboost their stock Windows 10 was released in 2015 and changed the way Windows works, for better and in some cases for worse. You’ve probably used it at some point. Just remember that there is no Windows 9.

But the days of the personal computer may be numbered in the 2010s. Handheld devices are taking a huge bite out of the market as many people begin to use their smartphone as their primary device. This change began when the iPad was released to the public in 2010. Of course tablet computers existed before then but the iPad made the market take off. It was affordable (especially for an Apple product at $499), easy to use and reliable. 

While a tablet computer like the iPad helped to break the market dominance of the PC and Windows it was not the only product. Google’s Chromebook ran only the Chrome web browser but it took the educational world by storm in 2012. Users found that it was possible to do what they needed to do simply by using a web browser. It was a good decade for Google as Chrome first overtook Internet Explorer and then fended off all other web browsers to be the world’s most popular web browser

Along those same lines the days of the old hard drives are over. Solid state hard drives have made computing faster while reducing the chances of physical issues. A win/win it seems in all facets except for the amount of space that they provide and that will only improve as the technology gets better.

For Fun

There comes a time during the day when work needs to be put aside and some relaxing needs to get done. For many people this means playing video games and the 2010s saw a lot of advancement in this category. In 2013 PlayStation 4 and XBox One hit store shelves and ushered in a new generation of gaming. These consoles also incorporated 4K televisions to help create an almost completely new gaming experience. 

Not to be left behind Nintendo released the Switch in 2017. A mix of console and portable all at an affordable price. It helped to get Nintendo back to the top of the video game console market.

But of course consoles are not the only innovation. New types of games are here for us to enjoy and one of the biggest innovations was in alternate reality gaming. The first of this kind embraced by the public was Pokemon Go in 2016. It took the country and the world by storm and while much of the luster has fallen off it still has a dedicated user base that still play it to this day. 

In The Works

There have also been other innovations during this past decade that have been envisioned or have been started but not completed so we will not be able to reap the rewards just yet. Elon Musk has proposed many new technologies and perhaps the closest to being implemented is the Hyperloop, which could revolutionize transportation as we know it. Musk mentioned the concept to the public in 2012 to incorporate magnetic levitation (which is already in use in places in Asia) in a vacuum tube to decrease friction and increase speed.

Humanity has also set its eyes back on the stars with the challenge being laid down to get back to the Moon and later to Mars. New technology will undoubtedly need to be developed to get to Mars and it is exciting to think about what that will look like. New propulsion systems are being developed, new technology for sending and receiving data at faster speeds and new hardware and software will be needed. Considering all of the innovations that came out of the 1960s it is exciting to think about what this will look like.

But then here on Earth quantum computing will be the next great leap forward. It is still hypothetical now but scientists at MIT created a five atom quantum computer in 2016 that was capable of cracking traditional security. It’s all very complicated so if you want to learn more about it, check out this link but it will change how computers work should it be successful.

And don’t forget about 5G. It’s already in place in some places and it is a matter of time until our access to the World Wide Web changes forever. Considering the Moon has 4G wireless service it is time to upgrade the Earth.

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