In what ways has technology altered us and the world over the past two decades?
The dotcom bubble burst just over two decades ago, sending many tech companies’ stock prices plummeting.
Amazon, for example, quickly regained its value, while numerous others were left in ruins. Numerous advances in technology have occurred in the two decades since this crash.
Today, there are a lot more people online than there were at the beginning of the millennium. In terms of home broadband access, only half of Americans had it in 2000. That percentage now stands at more than 90%.
Today, internet access is available to more than half of the world’s population (Image: Our World in Data) This expansion of broadband was undoubtedly not confined to the United States. Globally, similar growth can be observed; In 2000, less than 7% of the world’s population had access to the internet; today, fmovies wtf more than half of the world’s population does.
The use of cellphones exhibits similar patterns. There were 740 million cell phone subscriptions worldwide at the beginning of the 2000s. Twenty years later, that number has surpassed 8 billion, which means that there are now more cellphones than people worldwide. At the same time, technology was becoming more personal and portable. In 2001, Apple released its first iPod, and six years later, it released the iPhone, heralding a new era in personal technology. As a result of these shifts, technology now influences nearly every aspect of our lives.
Over the past two decades, major industries like the media, climate action, and healthcare have all been impacted by technology. The recent 20th anniversary edition of the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers provides insight into how emerging technology leaders have influenced and responded to these changes.
Media and media consumption Over the past two decades, a lot has changed in terms of where and how we consume media. At the start of the new millennium, emp3 juice a lot of tech companies were still focused on improving work-related communication by providing advanced bandwidth for video streaming and other media consumption.
Others went the route of expanding media options beyond the scope of conventional media outlets. PlanetOut and other early tech pioneers did this by providing LGBTQIA communities with an alternative media outlet as more people became online.
The massive expansion of social media followed these initial new media options, communities, and alternative media. There were less than one million Myspace users in 2004; Facebook had barely begun operating. Facebook had more than 2.26 billion users by 2018, and other websites had hundreds of millions more.
Social media’s meteoric rise over the past 15 years (Image: Our World in Data) Despite the fact that these brand-new online communities and channels of communication have provided wonderful settings for alternative voices, their increased use has also resulted in issues of increased polarization and disinformation.
Today, a lot of tech startups are working to protect these online media spaces from misinformation and preserve them. TruePic, which focuses on photo identification, and Two Hat, which is developing AI-powered content moderation for social media, are two recent examples of tech pioneers that have taken on this challenge.
Green technology and climate change Many scientists today believe that technology can lead us to a carbon-neutral world. Even though climate change is receiving renewed attention right now, technological efforts to find a solution are not new. After the financial crisis in 2001, green technology presented tech investors with a fresh opportunity for investment. This led to a boom in investments in renewable energy start-ups, such as Bloom Energy, which was named a Technology Pioneer in 2010.
Tech startups have only increased their focus on climate change over the past two decades. To mitigate the effects of climate change, many today are focusing on initiatives that go far beyond clean energy.
Carbon Engineering and Climeworks, two of this year’s Technology Pioneers, have begun implementing carbon capture technology. Scientists can lessen some of the harm caused by burning fossil fuels by directly removing CO2 from the air using these technologies.
Innovation in food systems is another area in which young tech companies are expanding today. Numerous businesses, including Aleph Farms and Air Protein, are inventing eco-friendly alternatives to meat and dairy products.
Healthcare and biotech The mid-1990s biotech boom also reached its zenith in the early 2000s. Through enhanced technology research, numerous businesses focused on advancing biotechnologies.
Actelion Pharmaceuticals was one of these businesses and was one of the early technology pioneers. The technology at Actelion looked into the single layer of cells that separate each blood vessel from the bloodstream. Their focus at the time, like that of many other biotech companies, was precise disease and treatment research.
While many tech companies today continue to concentrate on disease and treatment research, many others have turned their attention to the delivery of healthcare. In recent years, many emerging technologies have expanded virtual healthcare options, resulting in an increase in telehealth. During Covid-19, new technologies like chatbots and virtual visits are being used to provide individuals with healthcare.
Additionally, many businesses are focusing their healthcare technology on patients rather than physicians. Ada, for instance, is a symptom checker app that was originally made for use by doctors. However, the app’s language and interface have changed to give patients more information about their symptoms. Other businesses, like 7 Cups, focus on providing mental health support to customers directly through their app rather than through existing offices.
Healthcare technology has become much more personal over the past two decades, and it is now being used to provide care rather than just advance medical research.
Numerous businesses were just beginning their recovery from the dotcom bubble’s collapse at the turn of the millennium. The way tech innovators approach issues like new media, climate change, healthcare delivery, and more have grown significantly since then.
At the same time, we have also seen tech companies rise to the occasion and attempt to combat issues that arose from the first group, such as internet content moderation and expanding climate change solutions. Subscribe to receive counterintuitive, surprising, and impactful stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday. Fields marked with an * are required.
This community has been around for 20 years, and the most recent cohort of Technology Pioneers can provide us with a glimpse of where the technology industry might go in the next two decades.
With permission from the World Economic Forum, this was reprinted. Check out the original piece.
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