New Tech That Changed the World
- by Antoniy Yushkevych
- in IT News
The last decade has been rich with technological advancements in both hardware and software. The world looks much more different now thanks to the plethora of new technologies and their profound effect on the way people live nowadays. Not only are the devices we use today better than what we could imagine at the beginning of this decade, but even the sites we now visit daily look and run completely differently.
We have compiled a small recap of the newly developed technologies as well as ones that have gained popularity in the last decade.
List of Contents
4G and 5G
Simply put, 4G is defined as the fourth generation of mobile technology which follows the 2G and 3G networks that came before it. It is currently the most advanced technology that’s adopted by the majority of mobile network service providers. Standard 4G offers download speeds of around 14 Mbps, which is almost five times faster than what its predecessor, the 3G network, was able to offer. In fact, 4G networks can reach speeds as high as 150 Mbps.
As it can be guessed, 5G is the fifth generation of mobile network technology. It promises mobile data speeds that far outstrip the fastest home broadband network currently available to consumers. With speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, 5G is set to be as much as 100 times faster than 4G.
Solid State Drives (SSDs)
Solid State Drives (SSDs) are a type of computer storage that took over from Hard Disk Drives (HDDs). Although they were originally invented in the 1990s, only within the last decade did they become the industry standard for consumer machines. Since they do not utilize moving components, not only are they much faster than traditional spinning drives but they are also considered more reliable. A typical 7200 RPM HDD will have read/write speeds of anywhere between 80 and 160 MB/s while an SSD will deliver speeds ranging from 200 to 550 MB/s.
Despite such large performance improvements, there are still areas where hard drives outclass SSDs. A traditional hard drive will simply be able to store larger amounts of data than an SSD can on a single drive. The largest solid state drives nowadays store up to 2TB of data, which is no-where near the 16TB the largest HDDs can store. That combined with much lower costs of hard drives make the spinning drives optimal for enterprise and server configurations.
The Raspberry Pi is a small, credit-card sized computer that could be used with a standard mouse and keyboard. It can use a computer monitor or a TV as an output. Amazingly while being in such a small package it can still deliver the full functionality of a desktop personal computer. The original model became far more popular than anticipated, selling outside its target market for uses such as robotics. It does not include peripherals or cases. However, some accessories have been included in several official and unofficial bundles.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Just imagine traveling somewhere new by car or foot without Google Maps or other similar navigation apps. Although it has now become way more sophisticated system than just GPS, its core technology relies on the global positioning system.
The Global Positioning System, originally known as NAVSTAR GPS, is a satellite-based radio navigation system owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Air Force. It is a global navigation satellite system that provides geolocation and time information to a GPS receiver anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites.
The GPS does not require the user to transmit any data, and it operates independently of any telephone or internet reception, though these technologies can enhance the usefulness of the GPS positioning information. The United States government created the system, maintains it, and makes it freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver.
If you are reading this post, you are probably doing so from a touchscreen device or own a device that has a touch screen. In 2019, more than 50% of devices connected to the internet were mobile touchscreen devices. Although they were originally created way before the beginning of this decade, most people still had traditional button phones at that time. Only in the early 2010s did this technology become truly viable for the mass market.
A touchscreen, or touch screen, is both an input and output device and normally layered on the top of a display. A user can give input or control the information processing system through simple or multi-touch gestures by touching the screen with a special stylus or one or more fingers.
The user can use the touchscreen to react to what is displayed and, if the software allows, to control how it is displayed; for example, zooming to increase the text size. The touchscreen enables the user to interact directly with what is displayed, rather than using a mouse, touchpad, or other separate input devices. Touchscreens are common in devices such as mobile phones, game consoles, laptops, monitors, ATMs, electronic voting machines, and point-of-sale systems. They can also be attached to computers or, as terminals, to networks.
Online storage is the new standard for backups, but renting out an entire server to store all your data get pricey real fast, especially if you have lots of it. This is the primary reason cloud storage was invented. Storing stuff on the cloud is nothing new, however, cloud computing which is getting extra computer resources is a huge leap that occurred in the past decade.
Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user. The term is generally used to describe data centers available to many users over the Internet. Large clouds, predominant today, often have functions distributed over multiple locations from central servers.
Clouds may be limited to a single organization, or be available to many organizations. Cloud computing relies on sharing of resources to achieve coherence and economies of scale. Advocates of public and hybrid clouds note that cloud computing allows companies to avoid or minimize up-front IT infrastructure costs.
There are a few different types of cloud computing and to learn more about each in detail, check out this blogpost we previously wrote.
The 2010s saw a significant boom in cryptocurrency popularity and use. Just about anyone who is an adept internet user has heard of Bitcoin and even those who have never used it have a general idea of what it is. The technology that allowed Bitcoin and over a thousand other cryptocurrencies to exist and flourish is blockchain.
A blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, that are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data. It is "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way". For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communication and validating new blocks.
Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires consensus of the network majority. Although blockchain records are not unalterable, blockchains are generally considered secure by design. This drops the need for a central server and thus make transactions more secure and anonymous.
If you wish to learn more about cryptocurrencies, check out this post.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
There is a reason why you may hear renowned IT specialists say that artificial intelligence is the future. Making a computer or a machine to perform a task that usually requires human intelligence is a good way to automate many daily tasks and generally make life easier for us. One such technology that can be seen in most modern cars is adaptive cruise control which will maintain a constant moving speed, keep the car in its lane and even break if it sees a possible danger in front of the vehicle. It can’t be argued that this AI really makes those long car trips much more bearable. So, what is AI?
In computer science, artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans. Leading AI textbooks define the field as the study of "intelligent agents": any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals.
The term "artificial intelligence" is often used to describe machines that mimic "cognitive" functions that humans associate with the human mind, such as "learning" and "problem-solving". As machines become increasingly capable, tasks considered to require "intelligence" are often removed from the definition of AI, a phenomenon known as the AI effect. For instance, optical character recognition is frequently excluded from things considered to be AI, since it has become a routine technology.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Once a product of science fiction, virtual reality is now a very real thing thanks to advancements in display, camera and motion sensing technologies. Originally designed to be for entertainment, it is now being used for educational purposes and even 3D design and modeling.
Virtual reality is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality can include entertainment and educational purposes. Other, distinct types of VR style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality. Currently, standard virtual reality systems use either virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user's physical presence in a virtual environment.
A person using virtual reality equipment is able to look around the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items. The effect is commonly created by VR headsets consisting of a head-mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes, but can also be created through specially designed rooms with multiple large screens.
Do you remember the days when seeing a 3D movie in a theater was something special? Nowadays, you can easily watch just about any movie or show which was recorded in 3D from your home computer or TV. All you need is just a pair of 3D glasses, but what is 3D?
In simple words, 3D technology stands for three-dimensional. The use of 3D technology in TVs, laptops and other products is growing because the basic content required to support such products includes sports and movies. Lately, the technology has been successful in earning quite a momentum as a valid, widely adopted entertainment technology.
In order to make objects appear as if they are in the third dimension, 3D cameras use a trick. This is the same one that our actual eyes and brain use to allow people to see depth and distance. There are 2 cameras set at a specific distance apart and record the content which is then overlaid in post-production. Then when it is projected onto the screen, the glasses worn by the viewers combine the double-image into a single one, allowing them to see it as a three-dimensional object.
Space tourism is human space travel for recreational purposes. There are several different types of space tourism, including orbital, suborbital and lunar space tourism. To date, orbital space tourism has been performed only by the Russian Space Agency. Work also continues towards developing suborbital space tourism vehicles.
This is being done by aerospace companies like Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic. In addition, SpaceX announced in 2018 that they are planning on sending space tourists on a free-return trajectory around the Moon on the Starship. During the period from 2001 to 2009, 7 space tourists made 8 space flights aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft brokered by Space Adventures to the International Space Station. The publicized price was in the range of US$200–250 million per trip. Some space tourists have signed contracts with third parties to conduct certain research activities while in orbit.
Self-driving vehicles are cars or trucks in which human drivers are never required to take control to safely operate the vehicle. Also known as autonomous or “driverless” cars, they combine sensors and software to control, navigate, and drive the vehicle.
Currently, there are no legally operating, fully-autonomous vehicles in most of the world. There are, however, partially-autonomous vehicles—cars and trucks with varying amounts of self-automation, from conventional cars with brake and lane assistance to highly-independent, self-driving prototypes.
Though still in its infancy, self-driving technology is becoming increasingly common and could radically transform our transportation system (and by extension, our economy and society). Based on automaker and technology company estimates, level 4 self-driving cars could be for sale in the next several years.
Although originally designed for purely military applications, nowadays, drones perform a myriad of different functions. A drone is a style of aircraft that doesn’t require a pilot to be present inside it. In most cases, they are remotely controlled, however, automated ones do also exist. Here are some more peaceful applications for drone usage.
In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said about 86 percent of the orders the online retailer ships weigh less than 5 pounds. That’s lightweight enough to be delivered by drone. Amazon is now testing autonomous aircraft that can drop a book or a pair of shoes at your home within 30 minutes of receiving an order.
Some 1.3 billion to 2.1 billion people on the planet don’t have access to essential medicines, the World Health Organization says, often because they live in hard-to-reach places. To address that concern, California drone maker Zipline signed a deal with the government of Rwanda last February to shuttle supplies to remote areas on demand. With “Zip” drones, which cover a roughly 50-mile radius, a health center in Rwanda can send a text message to order blood for a patient with severe malaria-related anemia and it shows up via parachute within 40 minutes.
Mars “Curiosity” Rover
Curiosity is a car-sized rover designed to explore the crater Gale on Mars as part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission. Curiosity was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011, at 15:02 UTC and landed on Aeolis Palus inside Gale on Mars on August 6, 2012, 05:17 UTC. The Bradbury Landing site was less than 2.4 km from the center of the rover's touchdown target after a 560 million km journey. The rover's goals include an investigation of the Martian climate and geology; assessment of whether the selected field site inside Gale has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life, including investigation of the role of water; and planetary habitability studies in preparation for human exploration. In December 2012, Curiosity's two-year mission was extended indefinitely, and on August 5, 2017, NASA celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Curiosity rover landing.
Robots with AI
Although both terms: robots and AI are quite hard to define as they can both encompass many different technologies, machines, and computer programs, robots with artificial intelligence capabilities do exist and are being used in modern-day applications. Some modern robots have the ability to learn in a limited capacity. They recognize if a certain action achieved a desired result. The robot stores this information and attempts the successful action the next time it encounters the same situation. Again, modern computers can only do this in very limited situations. They can't absorb any sort of information like a human can.
Some robots can even interact socially. Kismet, a robot at M.I.T's Artificial Intelligence Lab, recognizes human body language and voice inflection and responds appropriately. Kismet's creators are interested in how humans and babies interact, based only on tone of speech and visual cue. This low-level interaction could be the foundation of a human-like learning system.
Although we are still quite far from completely autonomous self-thinking robots, the past decade has definitely been a step in the right direction in improving the learning and decision-making capabilities of robots.