Special Report

How Technology Has Changed the World Since 2010

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11. Virtual assistants

Siri, Alexa, Echo — since 2010, when Siri was introduced as a standalone iPhone app, virtual personal assistants have been multiplying and getting smarter. They answer all kinds of questions, from what the weather will be like the next day to a complex math problem. They also follow commands to play music or TV shows.

On the horizon are even more advanced AI abilities. For example, an Israeli-basd tech company is working on a virtual assistant that will make lifestyle suggestions to help people be healthier and happier.

12. Pokemon Go

Virtual reality existed before Pokemon Go descended onto this world, but the game made augmented reality gaming into a global phenomenon. The location-based game, created by Niantic Labs, has been downloaded more than a billion times since its launch in 2016 — half of them in the first three months. As of May 2018, the game had 147 million active users.

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13. Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch, a hybrid game console that can easily switch between a TV screen and portable device, was launched in 2017. Sales have gone up from 1.5 million in its debut month to more than 40 million in October 2019. It launched with a fairly few games in its library, but it has significantly expanded it to include several Mario and Zelda titles, which have become two of the most successful games on Switch. And if playing games is not enough, TV shows, movies, and music can be streamed using the device with Hulu and YouTube.

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14. Apple Watch

Apple Watch was launched in 2015, and, for some people, wearing a watch has become cool again. Phones, tools, and apps have been moved to the wrist. The device has almost all the features of a standard-size smartphone — internet, messaging, voice control — but its design is such that more emphasis is put on fitness tracking.

In the second quarter of 2019, Apple had almost half of the smartwatch market, selling about 5.7 million units of the device.

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15. Driverless cars

Driverless cars are not yet available for the masses, but are expected to revolutionize transportation as well as cause major disruptions to shipping industries. Waymo, which is owned by Alphabet, Google’s parent company, started testing driverless taxis in Phoenix suburbs late last year.

The road to total vehicle autonomy has not been a smooth one. In March 2018, a self-driving Uber killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. The accident revealed several safety lapses in the cars’ design.