How has technology changed and changed us in the past 20 years?

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Dec 3, 2020

How has technology changed and changed us in the past 20 years?

Over the past 20 years, technology has transformed major sectors, like media, climate action, and healthcare. The World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers, provides us with insight into how new technology leaders have shaped and reacted to these changes. Today, more people are online, they were at the start of the millennium. If we look at broadband coverage, only half of Americans had broadband access at home in the last 20 years.


A smartphone is probably no more than an arm’s reach now, but it was quite different 20 years ago. In 2000, just 47 % in the United Kingdom had a mobile phone, according to a survey by the Office for National Statistics (UK), and unlike those we own today, they were very limited in what they could do, generally confined to texting and calling SMS.

Everyone has a mobile phone in their pocket, but it’s no longer just a cell phone! Mobiles can order a taxi to find a date in minutes via internet access. Besides that, it has high definition cameras, gaming capabilities, music storage, and a whole host of apps.

It’s hard to imagine our phones didn’t have cameras, but camera phones didn’t start appearing until the 2000s. In the 90s and early 2000s, it was Nokia and Motorola that dominated the market. The models released between 1998 and 2000 brought in the customize ringtones, appearances, and games with the first ‘smartphones’ starting to appear between 2004 and 2006 as they supported GPS.


Since the millennium, huge advancements have been made in the gaming industry, helped by rising internet speeds. The PS2 was released in 2000, which marked a turning point for the world of gaming, the first console that looked ‘grown-up.’ In addition, gaming consoles were mostly targeted at kids and teenagers, with games such as Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, played on N64, Xbox, PS1, and Sega consoles being popular games.

During the last 20 years, gaming graphics capabilities also advanced enormously, from color blocks to pixelated images. A huge number of different gaming consoles are available as we head into 2020, with features such as motion sensor technology and headsets for virtual reality that make you feel like you are really in the game instead of only playing it!

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