Top 10 Best Innovations of the Century (So Far)



Top 10 Best Innovations of the Century (So Far)

VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio WRITTEN BY: Matt Klem
These are the inventions that have shaped the world since the year 2000. For this list, we'll be looking at the biggest leaps and bounds the world has made in technology since the start of the 21st century. Our countdown includes Smartphones, Blockchain, Gene Editing, and more!

Top 10 Best Innovations of the Century So Far

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Innovations of the Century So Far.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the biggest leaps and bounds the world has made in technology since the start of the 21st century.

What’s been your favorite innovative technology of this century so far? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Smartphones

Once upon a time, the main function of cell phones was to make phone calls! Then in the mid-aughts, the smartphone was born and the world changed forever. The idea of having access to all things internet related in your pocket revolutionized the way the world interacts with technology. The use of these devices helped spawn the gig economy, the proliferation of GPS usage, video calls and countless other mobile applications we enjoy everyday. With less than two decades under its belt, we’re amazed at how far they’ve come in such a short time.

#9: Drones

Thanks to the advancement of propulsion technology, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, aka drones, have become a huge part of the world around us. The advancement of VTOL, or Vertical Takeoff and Landing technology, allowed for drones to become more readily available to the consumer market. This has led to an onslaught of personal sized flying devices that anyone can now buy and fly with little training. It’s also had a huge effect in the world of aerial photography, and even filmmaking. Companies like Amazon are now experimenting with drones to deliver their packages. But the most exciting side-effect of this new technology is that it’s being used to build prototypes of actual flying cars. Could we finally catch up to Doc’s flying Delorean?

#8: Virtual & Augmented Reality

Stories like “Ready Player One” have imagined just how immersive virtual reality could one day become. Although VR isn’t quite there yet, it is getting there. So is augmented reality. Through the use of devices like Microsoft’s Hololens or Facebook’s Oculus headsets, we’re seeing entirely new worlds being created through the use of this technology. It’s changing the way we play and learn, the way physical therapy is conducted, and even how the military engages with the enemy. As the technology continues to evolve, it won’t be long before we have something close to our own holodecks!

#7: Capsule Endoscopy

The use of miniature cameras for endoscopic procedures is in itself a pretty cool use of technology in the medical field. However, one limitation of the “camera on a wire” tech has been how far inside a human it can go. Capsule endoscopy uses what’s known as a “pill cam”, a small device with an image sensor and LEDs that a patient can swallow. The device can then travel through the entire intestinal system and provide doctors with invaluable information about what’s going on inside. This has revolutionized the way physicians analyze and diagnose many digestive irregularities in patients.

#6: 3D Printing

We may not be able to just walk up to a machine and say [“Tea. Earl Gray. Hot”]. But thanks to 3D printing, we are getting closer. Although it was first created in the 1980s, it’s only been more recently that the technology has become widely available. These modern day printers are changing how we produce all kinds of materials. Originally used for mechanical part replacements, 3D printing is now being used to create clothing, food, and even medical devices. As the process evolves, we could one day see a world where Star Trek’s replicators are a reality.

#5: Blockchain

The introduction of bitcoin in 2008 also gave birth to the use of blockchain. The “blocks” are merely pieces of data, or records, much like a ledger. What makes it so revolutionary is how each “block” in the chain further reinforces the validity of the previous blocks. That means that no block in the chain can ever be altered, without breaking the entire set of data. The use of this technology has spawned the entire “cryptocurrency” market. It’s also being leveraged in games, supply chain management, and countless other industries because of its reliability and decentralized nature.

#4: Online Streaming Services

When Netflix started to make their DVD catalog available online for streaming in 2007, no one ever thought it would be as transformative as it has been. It then followed up with its first original content, the show “House of Cards”. These paved the way to a world where online content would rival that of the traditional cable and broadcast networks. This happened just as YouTube was also becoming a major player in online video. Not only did the delivery method change, but the idea of “binge watching” and on-demand video quickly eclipsed the desire to watch scheduled programming. Streaming services fundamentally changed the way the world consumes media, arguably for the better.

#3: Social Media

When someone says the term “social media”, depending on how old you are, you might think of Facebook, Snapchat, or even TikTok. The ability to share aspects of your real life, online, predates any of those apps, but the way we interact with each other was fundamentally changed when Facebook appeared. Now the idea of posting photos, videos, and updates about your life online is just another part of our day. It also led to an entire generation of “influencers” who use these platforms to not only make a living, but share business and product details in a way we never conceived of before.

#2: Gene Editing

If we say the word “CRISPR”, you may be thinking of that drawer in the fridge that holds your vegetables. It’s also the name of a method by which scientists can modify the genetic makeup of an organism. Gene editing has been around a long time, but it’s only been in recent years that it’s become so much easier. Emerging technologies have given scientists hope of being able to cure diseases and combat various types of cancer. The ability to alter the human genome does present exciting possibilities, but also has stirred controversies around the ethics of doing so. Only time will tell how far this technology will go.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Multi-Use Rockets
Space X’s Multi-Use Rocket Brings New Potential for Space Exploration

Online Shopping / E-Commerce
Online Retailers Have Replaced Many Brick & Mortar Shops

Retinal Implants
Bionic Vision Is Closer Than You Might Think

#1: Artificial Intelligence

Today, you can ask Siri or Alexa a plethora of questions and get answers. You can even get in a Tesla and let it drive you to your destination. How are these things possible? They’re all variations of “artificial intelligence” or AI. The last 20 years have seen a surge in AI development in many different ways. From figuring out what videos we might want to watch, to foods we may enjoy, to even people who share our interests, the development of AI has shown us how computers can be taught to think more and more like a human being. As technology evolves, we may find ourselves amongst computers that are far more intelligent than us.