21 Most Important Inventions of the 21st Century

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The human race has always innovated, and in a relatively short time went from building fires and making stone-tipped arrows to creating smartphone apps and autonomous robots. Today, technological progress will undoubtedly continue to change the way we work, live, and survive in the coming decades.

Since the beginning of the new millennium, the world has witnessed the emergence of social media, smartphones, self-driving cars, and autonomous flying vehicles. There have also been huge leaps in energy storage, artificial intelligence, and medical science. Men and women have mapped the human genome and are grappling with the ramifications of biotechnology and gene editing. 

We are facing immense challenges in global warming and food security, among many other issues. While human innovation has contributed to many of the problems we are facing, it is also human innovation and ingenuity that can help humanity deal with these issues. These are 21 strategies that could avert climate disaster

24/7 Wall St. examined media reports and other sources on the latest far-reaching innovations to find some of the most important 21st-century inventions. In some cases, though there were some precursor research and ancillary technologies before 2001, the innovation did not become available to the public until this century. This list focuses on innovations (such as touch screen glass) that support products rather than the specific products themselves (like the iPhone). 

It remains to be seen if all the technology on this list will continue to have an impact throughout the century. Legislation in the United States may limit the longevity of e-cigarettes, for example. But some of the inventions of the last 20 years will likely have staying power for the foreseeable future. Here are some inventions that are hundreds of years old but are still widely used today.

Click here to see the 21 most important inventions of the 21st century