As you can imagine, It’s pretty difficult to create a list of the top 10 technologies that have changed the world.
Because there have been so many over the past few thousand years, it’s next to impossible to pick out just 10.
For example, when we think of technology, we think of the internet, computers, cellphones, nanotechnology, quantum physics, the internet of things, 3D printing, just to name a few.
But keep in mind how the world changed with the invention of the wheel, invented over 5,500 years ago.
Or compare the light bulb, invented in the 1800s, to the James J. Webb Space Telescope launched on Christmas day last year. This space telescope is now sitting one million miles from the Earth, positioned perfectly between the Earth and the sun, where objects sent there tend to say put.
It is hard to compare the wheel to the James Webb Telescope from a technology standpoint in this modern digital world. But when you look at how those two technologies changed the world, you have to give the wheel its proper respect.
So even though it is next to impossible to pick the top ten technologies, here is a list of the possible top ten.
10 Technologies That Changed The World
1. The Wheel
It’s pretty hard to argue that the wheel isn’t one of the biggest engineering marvels the world has ever seen. This basic technology made it easier to travel and served as the base for many other innovations and technologies.
The oldest known wheel is from Mesopotamia around 3,500 B.C. And the real, impactful invention wasn’t the wheel, but the fixed axle, allowing the wheel to be connected to a stable platform.
So it’s hard to argue against the wheel being at number one!
2. Electricity (Battery)
Electricity has been with us forever, but the challenge was to turn it into something useful. And this happened when battery electricity was created.
We all are familiar with the term volts. It came from Alexandro Volta, who is credited with discovering the first practical battery in 1799. And then Michael Faraday discovered the principles of electric generation.
And it’s kind of interesting that a prehistoric battery was around 2,000 years ago, when a clay jar was filled with a vinegar solution, and an iron rod covered in copper was inserted into the clay jar.
No, Henry Ford did not event the automobile. However, he did create a mass-production technique that allowed the car to be mass-produced…changing the world.
The actual first automobile was built in 1769 by Nicolas-Joseph Cugno, who developed the first steam-powered automobiles. And that was followed by German inventor Karl Benz who patented the first Motorwagen.
We all know that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, right? Wrong! Or at least, that is not totally accurate.
A gentleman from England named Joseph Swan created a carbonized paper filament and evacuated a glass bulb to make the first official light bulb. But without a proper vacuum tube, his invention didn’t last long enough to have any commercial use.
That credit goes to yours-truly Thomas Edison, who created the first metal filament in 1878, and turned it into the first commercially viable light bulb. And the world was never the same!
The transistor is an important component in almost every electronic device. And in 1926, Julius Lilienfeld patented the first field transistor, but unfortunately, it was not commercially viable.
That changed in 1947, when John Barden, Walter Brattain, and Willian Shockley developed the first commercial transistor in Bell Laboratories. And this earned all three a Nobel Prize in physics.
And transistors have become a fundamental piece of electronic devices that allows us to use cellphones, computers, and televisions. Arguably, the leading technology for this digital-first world.
6. The refrigerator
Even though many of you might think the refrigerator shouldn’t be on the top ten list, think about how life would be without it.
It was invented over 150 years ago by James Harrison, who built the first practical vapor compression system. But the first widespread refrigerator was built by G.E. in 1927, which started the industrial use of refrigeration, changing the world.
And, from a personal standpoint, if it wasn’t for the refrigerator, I couldn’t keep my beer cold. So for me, it puts this technology in the top ten!
There is no question that television has changed all of our lives and probably should be higher on the list.
But you can’t keep beer cold on television.
The television was created by the work of many different people, but one of the first names to be associated with the television was a 23-year-old German student named Paul Nipkow. But the first transmission of images was by Georges Rignoux in Paris in 1909.
8. The Computer
The father of the computer is considered to be Charles Babbage, along with Ada Lovelace, who created the first programs. Babbage invented the first mechanical computer. Although there is no single real inventor of the modern computer, the original idea came from Alan Turing in 1936
And can you imagine if these early inventors could see where computers are now, they couldn’t comprehend how their invention influenced an entire generation? Pretty cool!
9. World Wide Web
It might surprise you that the internet and the world wide web are not exactly the same thing.
The internet started with a prototype in the 1960s, called ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Project Agency Network. Although the first prototype adopted the TCP/IP protocols in 1983, the modern internet has a crown.
The World Wide Web is a way to access information using the internet, and the internet is the networking infrastructure the WWW uses.
It is a small distinction, but an important one for the gear-heads out there!
10. Telephone and mobile phones
In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell spoke the first words over a telephone. He said, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.”
The telephone made it possible for people to communicate quickly and efficiently. It also made it much more convenient for businesses to conduct their affairs.
Cellphones changed the world because three-quarters of the people on Earth now have a mobile phone, and most have access to the internet.
So there you have it, the Top 10 technologies (inventions) that changed the world. And of course, this is a very subjective list, and we could all argue many things are missing.
To help with that, I want to thank author Alekhya Sai Punnamaraju from the publication Interesting Engineering. He created an awesome article I used as a reference.
In this article, he listed 35 inventions that changed the world.
Here are his top 35 … see if you think anything is missing.
|World Wide Web
If you would like to check out the full article, go here: 35 Inventions That Changed The World
And to be fair, our technology gurus at Imagine IT have a different idea of the top technologies than the average Joe. They are a little bit more technologically advanced than the most of us.
Our Techs Top Ten Technologies
- Artificial Intelligence
- Cloud Computing
- Machine Learning
- Data Analytics
- Cyber Security
- Virtual Reality
- IoT (Internet of Things
- AoT (The Array of Things) AoT is a network of sensors that collects data and solves problems.