Electric car boom, data protection and artificial intelligence that understands what cats look like. The 2010s have included major technological changes.
1. A decade of data protection: the Snowden leak, Cambridge Analytica and GDPR
What: June 6, 2013 The Guardian publishes the first disclosure from documents that Edward Snowden has leaked. It was the start of a long series of revelations about the mass surveillance of electronic communications that the United States built up after the September 11 death.
Consequence: The mass surveillance showed how state actors can vacuum the internet and cloud services on sensitive data, and it became very clear how vulnerable we are because of the digital imprints we leave behind.
An issue that in 2018 flared up again after the scandal surrounding data analytics company Cambridge Analytica.
In the wake of the disclosures, issues of data protection, privacy and digital vulnerability came to characterize the decade, and we saw backlash as the new European Data Protection Regulation gdpr.
2. The 2015 Paris Agreement marked the start of the environmental change
What: December 12, 2015, the UN Climate Summit in Paris was agreed on a global agreement to meet climate change. The Paris Agreement contains 29 points with the commitment to limit the world’s temperature rise to below 2 degrees – preferably below 1.5 degrees.
With a larger increase in temperature, the consequences for humans and plant and animal life are considered to be serious.
Consequence: The agreement became the starting point for both countries and industries to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions more seriously. One consequence will be stricter rules regarding emissions from transport and industries.
Large investments in transition in industrial companies are initiated.
3. The day when everyone could surf super fast with 4g
What: In April 2013, with 4g, it was as easy to consume large amounts of data as to make a mobile call.
Consequence: The smartphone has come so close to man to get a new body part. And that’s not really because of the phone itself – but because 4g gives us super powers.
4g lets us communicate with everything and everyone, wherever we are. The time before the fourth generation of mobile networks is already hard to imagine. And now, when the 20th century starts, 5g stands for the door.
4. Dieselgate – the cheat that caused the automotive industry to start over
What: September 18, 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency EPA announces with the news that 480,000 cars from Volkswagen and Audi will be recalled due to cheating with software that records the emissions from the cars.
Consequence: This will be the start of the scandal called dieselgate. The consequences for the Volkswagen Group will be enormous, not to mention financial. The scandal leads to stricter demands for emissions from vehicles, for the entire automotive industry to be forced into a change of production and for confidence in an entire industry to decline.
5. Self-driving cars on public roads
What: March 1, 2012, a new law came into force in the US state of Nevada. Then it was allowed to conduct tests of self-driving vehicles on public roads. Google was first out. The project then became its own company under the name Waymo.
Consequence: Although there had been cars with driver assistance in the past, this was the start of a trend towards self-driving cars. During the decade, self-driving technology also began to move into everything from drones to large work machines.
6. Nokia’s case and the rise of smart phones
What: In the spring of 2012, Nokia sells 600,000 phones. During the same period, 26 million Iphones and 105 million Android phones are sold. But a few years earlier, the Finnish company was indisputable market leader. When Apple showed off its iPhone, Nokia’s executives dismissed the technology as a gimmick.
Consequence: In 2013, Microsoft buys Nokia’s mobile business but never manages to disrupt the dominance that Apple and Android have acquired.
A few years later, Nokia dumped HMD Global and Foxconn for $ 350 million. Nokia was once valued at $ 300 billion.
During the decade, a smartphone becomes something that a majority of the earth’s population has in their hand or pocket.
7. Cats on Youtube started shooting at the AI shark
What: Many would surely consider the moment when IBM’s Watson won Jeopardy as a milestone for artificial intelligence (2011). And they wouldn’t be wrong. But it was when Google Brain managed to identify cats in Youtube videos that machine learning in June 2012 got its big breakthrough.
Consequence: Pattern recognition with deep neural networks became possible during the 10s thanks to access to large amounts of data and more powerful processors. Say the company, the industry, the nation that doesn’t invest huge resources on artificial intelligence today.
Used properly, today’s AI methods can speed innovation, increase efficiency and increase profitability. Incorrectly used, it can prejudice prejudices about already vulnerable groups and even cause us to doubt what is true and false. We now live in an AI society, for good and evil.
8. Exponential growth for solar cells
What: The global installed capacity for solar cells has increased from 40 GW in 2010 to 607 GW in 2019. The price of solar cells has fallen over the whole decade.
Consequence: Solar cells so far account for a small part of the total electricity consumption in the world. But the International Energy Council IEA predicts that solar cells will be the largest energy source in 2040, with an installed capacity of 3.1 TW, if the world’s governments keep their promises in the energy field.
9. Atlas – the robot that made us amazed
What: July 11, 2013, the mysterious company Boston Dynamics presented the humanoid robot Atlas, an advanced two-legged robot designed for search and rescue missions in difficult terrain.
Consequence: A new species was born, “Robo sapiens”. During the decade, Boston Dynamics showed off one amazing robot after another.
The models provided a picture of what is possible when robotisation and artificial intelligence are linked. The world saw in front of it applications that can contribute with great benefit – but also that can cause great harm.
10. The big private space race that will take us to Mars
What: On December 21, 2015, Space X succeeded for the first time in vertically landing a rocket used for orbit travel.
Consequence: The Elon Musk company Space X is just one of several private companies that have pushed the boundaries of space exploration in the last decade. Jeff Bezos Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic are other examples.
New Space has become the term in the 21st century space race run by private companies instead of states. Space X’s goal is to have a space base built on Mars by 2028.
11. The Nuclear Disaster crashes on the energy map
What: March 11, 2011, the Fukushima accident occurred in Japan. An earthquake at sea led to a tsunami and the nuclear power plant was damaged. Cure melts occurred in the three reactors that were in operation.
Consequence: The accident led to a global question of nuclear power and thus has paved the way for more renewable energy – but also in its own ways that fossil-based electricity generation has played a role in the energy market.
In Germany, the Fukushima accident became the start of the large energy conversion Energiewende. The accident also underscored the need for increased safety requirements for nuclear power plants, including independent core cooling.
12. The discovery that can cure genetic diseases
What: August 17, 2012 Science publishes a scientific article introducing the Crispr-Cas9 gene editing method for the first time.
Consequence: The discovery of Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, with colleagues, is rapidly gaining a major impact in the research world in a number of areas: plant breeding, disease prevention, genetic disease corrections, new biofuel development.
The commercial breakthroughs and major practical applications are still in the future.
13. The new food that will save the planet
What: 2013 presents the world’s first hamburger made from cultured meat. The burger, manufactured by pharmacology professor Mark Post and his research team at the University of the Netherlands Maastrich, is estimated to have cost just over SEK 2.5 million to produce.
Consequence: Cultivated meat and vegetarian, meat-like alternatives can be a way to meet a food crisis in the world and reduce the climate impact.
Nearly 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal production. Cultured meat can change that. 2021 will be on the market, promising several companies that develop the technology.