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November 22, 2023 | Katelyn Keenehan

Technology we are most thankful for in 2023 breaks down the top eight technologies that make our world a better place!

This Thanksgiving we are stepping away from the kitchen to cook up a list of the technological advances that changed our lives for the better in the 21st century. Of course, all technology has pros and cons, but these eight innovations are arguably fundamental to how our world operates in 2023.

1. Internet

Internet stands as one of the most remarkable innovations in human history, offering instantaneous communication, an inexhaustible wellspring of information, and a diverse array of entertainment options all readily available with a simple click.

Now, when you need facts you don’t have to sift through an encyclopedia for the right answer.

Originating over 60 years ago in the United States, the internet had its roots as a government tool during the Cold War. The innovation of the internet cannot be attributed to any one man or woman. It was initially employed by scientists and researchers as a means of communication and data exchange. Now, for many of us, it’s hard to go a day without using the internet!

2.  Smartphones

Take the innovation of the internet and put it in your pocket. These versatile devices have revolutionized communication, providing not just calling and texting but also access to the internet, navigation, social media, and a plethora of other applications.

The first “smartphone” was called the Simon in 1994. This smartphone had a touchscreen, and email capability, could send or receive faxes, and had limited internet capabilities. It was clunky and weighed two ounces more than a pound. It also had a steep price tag of $1,100 back in the 90s, which deterred a lot of consumers from integrating the technology into their daily lives.

Steve Jobs, the former chief executive of Apple, unveiled the iPhone in 2007. The iPhone revolutionized smartphones.

3. Social Media

While social media has its challenges and drawbacks, there are several reasons why it makes our list of technological advances to be thankful for. The innovation of social media provides previously unparalleled connectivity with friends, family, and colleagues regardless of geographical distance. It became very important amidst a global pandemic and lockdown, as social media was one of the main forms of communication.

In addition to connection, it provides platforms for creative expression, e-commerce, networking, awareness, activism, and entertainment, and fosters a global perspective.

Six Degrees and Friendster were the first social media platforms, but they quickly faded into obscurity despite their significant roles in initiating the social media revolution. Then came LinkedIn, Myspace, and Facebook, which we still know and use today.

4. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is a defining innovation of the 21st century. AI technologies are now integrated into various aspects of daily life. Virtual assistants, recommendation systems, autonomous vehicles, and smart devices showcase the practical applications of AI.

Now, it’s hard to find an industry that wouldn’t benefit from some form of AI integration.

However, with advances in AI also come a slew of controversies over the ethics of creating technology that simulates human behavior.

5.  Global Positioning System (GPS) technology

GPS provides highly accurate positioning information globally. By triangulating signals from multiple satellites, GPS receivers can determine their precise location on Earth. GPS has had a significant impact on various industries, including transportation, agriculture, logistics, and emergency services. It has improved efficiency, reduced costs, and enabled the development of new services and business models.

Thanks to GPS, you won’t need a paper map to get you from point A to point B this Thanksgiving.

6. Human Genome Map

The Human Genome Map has played a pivotal role in the identification of genes associated with various diseases. This information has been instrumental in the development of targeted therapies and personalized medicine, leading to more effective treatments for conditions such as cancer, genetic disorders, and rare diseases.

The Human Genome Map also kickstarted the field of pharmacogenomics, which involves tailoring drug treatments based on an individual’s genetic makeup.

7. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a revolutionary technology model that enables access to computing services over the internet. Instead of relying on physical hardware and infrastructure to handle company computing tasks, users can access a shared pool of resources, including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and more, via. the internet.

Cloud services enable users to access data and applications from anywhere with an internet connection. This promotes remote work, collaboration, and flexibility, as users can work on the same projects and access the same data regardless of their physical location or device.

Aren’t you thankful we had cloud computing technology during the pandemic?

8. Virtual Reality (VR)

VR headsets provide a highly immersive experience by creating a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment. This immersion can enhance training simulations, gaming, and entertainment experiences. In addition to entertainment, VR has the potential to disrupt traditional workplace norms, e-commerce, healthcare, and education.

The technology is still in ideation, as companies rush to build out a “metaverse” to support existing innovations.

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